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The Worst Person I’ve Ever Met (Part 7) “Drop The Rope”

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Missed parts one, two, three, four, five, and six? Good news! Those are all links.

This installment features more talk of self harm and suicide.

Despite the pleas of basically everyone who knew him, Sam went to couple’s therapy with Cathy. Though he offered to let her continue staying with him, she cast around for better options. The issue she ran into time and again was that no one in our circle was willing to let Cathy move in and live rent free, and she was still unwilling to get a full-time job. Tutoring at the college’s learning center kept her in money for cigarettes, but she depended on the support of her friends to get her through. Though none of us really wanted to be burdened with Cathy, revelations about her physical and emotional abuse of Sam made us want to keep her away from him as much as possible in the hopes that he would come to his senses.

One weekend when she was staying with us, Sam called and asked to speak to Cathy. There was no protocol in place as to what would happen if he called, and earlier that day I’d seen them part on pleasant terms, so I didn’t think anything of saying, “Hang on,” and handing the phone over. But Cathy refused to take it out of my hand.

“He already knows you’re here,” I pointed out, still holding the phone. She crossed her arms over her chest, turned her head away, and closed her eyes. I lost my patience. “Stop it. He knows you’re here, you’re being childish. If you don’t want to talk to him, tell him yourself.” She covered her ears, scrunched up her face, and drummed her feet on my couch, shaking her head furiously. I dropped the phone in her lap and she kicked it away, then jumped up and ran into my office. I told Sam she didn’t want to talk and that he should call her on her cell phone from then on. If she didn’t answer, getting to her through me wasn’t an option.

When I hung up, I went to my office to confront Cathy about her behavior. I opened the door and she screamed, “Get the fuck out of my face!”

I stood where I was. “Excuse me? This is my office, in my house, where I am allowing you to stay during your divorce. If you don’t like it, go home.”

Her expression crumpled as though she were going to cry, but tears never came. She dug her hands into her hair and said, “Please, I…I can’t.” It was a perfect impression of Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, from the words to the intonation to the expression. And it was all bullshit.

“Get your shit. I’m taking you back,” I said, and walked out.

As I angrily got my keys and shoes, she emerged from my office dry-eyed and perfectly calm. “I’m sorry,” she began in a reasonable tone. “But when I’m upset like that, I’m not responsible for my actions. You made me lash out. If you don’t want me to do that, respect me when I tell you to give me space.” It wasn’t her fault she’d thrown a tantrum instead of simply telling Sam she didn’t want to talk to him. It was mine, for expecting a thirty-year-old woman to behave like an adult.

I followed through and took her back to Sam’s house; that was the last time I offered to let her stay with us. The next day, I received an angry call from Sam, taking me to task for Cathy’s latest bought of self-harm. In a rage at me, she’d held her breath until she passed out. I laughed; there was really nothing else I could do. If she hadn’t been sitting on the bed, he warned me, she might have really gotten hurt, so I shouldn’t have made her so upset and none of this was funny. Especially considering I’d verbally abused her into a suicide attempt.

As I listened to him parrot lines about how I made Cathy do something by not catering to her demands and moods, warning that anything she might do to herself was ultimately my fault, I realized he’d been brainwashed by years of Cathy’s abuse and manipulation. Had he heard “I’m sorry, but you know I’m not responsible for my actions,” after being hit by her? It seems incredibly likely. And though I felt like a terrible person for abandoning a friend in a time of need, especially now that the pieces were beginning to fall into place with regards to what he’d suffered during their relationship, I had to distance myself as much as possible. “You’re my friend and I love you,” I told him. “But as long as you’re going to try to make this marriage with Cathy work, I can’t be around you.” He admitted that they’d only gone to two counseling sessions before they’d quit. At the final one, the therapist had asked them to participate in an exercise where they both held either end of a piece of rope. The therapist asked Sam to pull on the rope as hard as he wanted to try to salvage the marriage. He pulled hard. When Cathy was asked, she looked Sam in the eye and let go of the rope completely.

That should have been enough, I thought, to make him want to get away from her. Their lease ended, and Sam made arrangements to rent a house from a friend of his who’d gotten into the business of flipping homes and who wanted to help Sam out of his bad situation. It was a single bedroom house, so everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Cathy would have to find other accommodations and living on his own, away from her, Sam might be able to see how bad the situation really had been.

Instead, Sam moved her into his new house and let her have the bedroom while he slept on the couch.

“She has a really bad back,” he explained to me. “She needs the bed. Plus, there’s more privacy.” I tried to point out the number of nights she’d happily spent on couches in the previous months, and that she could easily have her privacy if she got an apartment of her own, but he felt anyone objecting to the situation was being heartless and short-sighted. He was invested in protecting Cathy above all else, exactly as she had programmed him to.

Once installed in the new house, Cathy quit her tutoring jobs. She spent all her time on MySpace, filling out surveys and taking quizzes to tell her which amazing historical woman she resembled or who her Harry Potter soulmate was. She posted endless photos comparing herself to Waterhouse models and wrote poem after poem about nebulous abuse she had suffered at the hands of an unnamed (but clearly Sam) ex-lover. Her poetry attracted the attention of a man in Colorado, and they began chatting. When he told her about a six-month low-residency writing program in Vermont, she enrolled–and applied for financial aid to attend, neatly closing the loophole and allowing her to put off paying back the loans she’d been living on for nearly a decade.

Things with the man in Colorado escalated quickly. So quickly, I can’t remember his name. I hope it’s not Wallace because that’s the name I’m giving him, due to his strong resemblance to the beloved claymation character. After a couple of weeks of chatting, Cathy revealed that she would move to Denver to be with him. Sam, still holding out hope that their marriage would be repaired, was despondent. Almost overnight, Cathy’s personality and interests completely altered. She was still a “fully time writer,” a MySpace typo that my friends and I still use to this day to mock her, but she no longer cared for musical theater, which was all she usually listened to and was seriously re-examining her paganism, as Wallace was an atheist. Wallace liked The Clash, so now Cathy was a Clash superfan. She’d never been skiing in her life, hated the outdoors, and had those pesky, blood gushing knees, but Wallace liked skiing, so she couldn’t wait to get to Colorado and hit the slopes. When asked what she planned to do for work in Denver, she informed us that Wallace had plenty of money, so he would take care of her. She talked non-stop about the famous writers she would be interviewing as a journalist for Wallace’s zine and rhapsodized about how much more sophisticated and romantic he was than Sam. She would be moving in a month, and would finally be free. All we had to do was wait it out, as it was becoming clear that she had lost interest in most of us.

Meanwhile, she still had an obligation to her son, Martin. Sam had grown frustrated with Martin’s visits and didn’t know how to broach the subject with Martin’s father. When I asked what, exactly, was going on, Sam told me that when Martin was dropped off at three p.m. on school days, Cathy would make a plate of pizza rolls, put on a movie, then go into the bedroom and leave Sam in charge, only emerging ten minutes before Martin’s father arrived to pick him up. “She only has him eight hours a week now,” Sam said, “and she can’t even handle that.” He mentioned that Martin would be with his mother the next Sunday, and wondered if I could stop in and see what was going on, as he would be out of town.

As it turned out, Cathy ended up asking me if I would want to go get coffee on Sunday night. “I haven’t seen you in so long! We need to catch up before I leave for Denver!” She told me that Martin’s father would pick him up at seven, and we could go after that. I made a plan to arrive early and told Sam not to be there.

At twenty minutes to seven, I knocked on the door. Even outside, I could hear Cathy’s music cranked up to maximum volume and her voice singing loudly over it. I knocked again and the door opened. It was Martin. I’d seen this child maybe three times in his entire life. He didn’t know who I was. But he opened the door and let me in without asking who I was or alerting his mother first. When he went to the bedroom door and shouted, “Mommy, there’s a lady here!” he received no response, but confirmed my suspicion: he had no idea who I was and had just let a stranger into the house.

Cathy didn’t answer. Her loud singing didn’t pause. From outside the door, the acrid smell of stale cigarette smoke was almost overpowering. I called through the door, “Cathy, I’m here!” but there was no answer. I slapped the door as hard as I could to be heard over the music. “Cathy! I’m here!” When she didn’t answer, I pushed the door open a crack. A cloud of cigarette smoke immediately escaped and filled the entire house.

“Martin! I said mommy needs some me time!” she snarled, never looking up from her laptop. Cathy had fully dug herself into the bedroom of the house that Sam was renting and solely responsible for. Within just a few weeks, the fresh paint job was yellow from smoke. The blinds were coated in a gray residue. Everything reeked of cigarettes and rotten food left in bowls and on plates on the floor, which was covered in trash and dirty clothes. Cigarette butts surrounded the bed; she hadn’t bothered to use an ashtray and had taken to flicking them directly onto the carpet, which now sported burn holes. She’d been picking her nose and wiping it on the side of the mattress.

“It’s me,” I said, and she looked up as though absolutely nothing was wrong. “Oh! You’re early. I’ll be out in a second. I have to finish this song.” And then she started singing again, as loudly as she could.

I closed the door. Martin stood beside me and proudly pointed to the television. “You know what? I watched this movie twice today! I watched it once and then it was over and my mom didn’t come out so I watched it again!”

The movie was The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King. The extended cut. It was already half finished.

Then he climbed onto a chair and hit me in the face with a plastic sword. I grabbed it and took it from him and he swung at me with his fists. I put on my most stern mom voice and said, “Martin, no! You will not hit me. Hitting is not okay.”

Cathy emerged from her room in an instant. “Did I ask you to parent my child?”

I did not say, “Someone has to.” Instead, I said, “I’m not parenting. That’s your job. I’m telling another human that he doesn’t have the right to hit me.”

“He’s just violent because he’s been watching The Lord Of The Rings all day,” she snapped, as though the situation had been completely out of her hands.

Meanwhile, Martin’s violent outburst had passed, and he jumped up and down, tugging on my shirt. “You know what? You know what? Hey! Hey! This isn’t a real sword, but I’m going to bring, next week I’m going to bring my dad’s sword which is a real sword and I’m going to cut off my mom’s head and kill her!”

I stood there, my mouth agape. There was a knock. It was Martin’s father, right on time to pick him up. Cathy immediately became a doting and attentive mother, helping Martin gather up his things and talking about how well he behaved. When they left, Cathy apologized for snapping at me, citing how exhausting “mommy mode” made her. She also thanked me for arriving early, since Martin’s father had also been a bit early and she was glad he hadn’t arrived when she was in her bedroom. “If I wasn’t right on top of Martin twenty-four-seven, he’d be claiming I abused him or something.”

Cathy hadn’t spent a full twenty-four hours with her son since his infancy when she’d left his father for Sam.

On the drive to the coffee shop, Cathy casually mentioned that she’d arranged to meet a guy there and that I wouldn’t have to worry about driving her home. She still was really into Wallace, but they weren’t exclusive; she didn’t even live with him yet, and she planned on sleeping with this coffee guy. When the new guy arrived, he laughed nervously and said, “Uh, I thought you said there was going to be this big group of people.” She played it off as though everyone else had canceled, but she’d never mentioned a big group to me. When she went to the bathroom, he and I compared notes. He was a student she’d tutored, and she’d invited him out to a study group. Then, she’d invited me to go out with her. It was clear that she’d asked him there in the hopes of getting him alone, and asked me there simply to get a ride. She’d intended on ditching me all along.

“Look, I don’t mean to stick you with her, but I’m going,” he said and left. When she came back from the bathroom I told her why he’d gone.

“He thinks you lied to him to get him out here for a date,” I said, too exhausted to sugar coat it. She demanded I take her home immediately so that she could call Wallace, and I did so, gladly.

The next day, I spoke to Sam. “I wanted you to know that I’m calling protective services about Martin,” I warned him. “I know she’s going to blame you for it and I’m sorry, but she’s endangering a child.”

At that point, Sam had hit a wall and was, like the rest of us, just waiting out Cathy’s moving day. “I don’t care. If she wants to blame someone, let her blame me.” But he suggested I call Martin’s father first. “He’s a good dad and he doesn’t know this is going on. Talk to him and if you think he’s not going to do anything, then get ahold of CPS.”

Making the call to Martin’s dad was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. As much as I knew Cathy was a monster, and as much as I knew I had a duty to report child neglect, I was terrified of her. But somehow, I did manage to contact him and prayed he wouldn’t simply blow me off. To my relief, he didn’t. He was outraged when he learned what Martin’s visits entailed, angry with himself to the point of tears that he hadn’t realized what was going on, and told me that he had only allowed the visits to continue because he worried about Martin’s mental health. Martin had been seeing a counselor over the fact that he’d concocted many plans to kill Cathy, some of which were sophisticated, alarming, and fully possible. Martin’s dad and stepmom had hoped that spending more time with Cathy might help; instead, her neglect had exacerbated the issue. They called Sam to corroborate what I’d told them, and Sam admitted it had been going on for a long time but that he hadn’t known how to approach the subject. Martin’s father and stepmother contacted their caseworker with these accounts. Within a week, they had an emergency hearing in family court where they were awarded sole custody and Cathy lost her visitation rights.

I received a call in the middle of the night shortly after. It was Cathy.

“Did you call CPS on me?” I had never heard her sound the way she sounded on that call. I know now it was because I was talking to the true Cathy, not the front she constructed to manipulate people.

“I didn’t.” That wasn’t a lie. I’d called Martin’s father.

“Someone did.” She waited for me to admit to it.

“Well, nobody’s said anything about it to me.”

“I’m going to tell you this just once,” she went on. I can’t even begin to describe how chilling her voice was. Flat, emotionless but somehow threatening at the same time. “My son is my life. If I ever found out someone tried to keep me from him, if I ever find out who did this, I will kill them. You better pray that it wasn’t you.”

I laughed. I laughed so she would know that I wasn’t scared of her. That she wasn’t going to intimidate me. I made sure our gun and ammo was in our bedroom closet, just in case. I made a plan to send my son to stay with my mother for a week. And then I called Sam to warn him.

I don’t know what went down after that. I do know that within days, Sam had kicked Cathy out. At some point he bought a gun. He may have gotten a restraining order, but I can’t remember if it was something he went through with or something he just talked about because it was such a weird time. I scoured internet sites about abusive relationships and applied some of what I learned from them to the situation. I wasn’t going to cut off my friendship with Cathy, knowing she would be leaving in a matter of weeks. I didn’t want her behavior to escalate. But I didn’t contact her.

She did, however, contact me, relentlessly. As if she hadn’t threatened to kill me, as though everything was just fine, she called me to tell me she might be living with us until she moved to Denver. “Don’t worry. I know you said it wouldn’t work out if I stayed with you, so you’re at the bottom of the list.”

“Well, take me off the list,” I said. “Because with my kid is starting school, our schedules are going to be sacrosanct and it’s not going to work out if we have a roommate.”

“I know, that’s why I was thinking I would live with you for half the week, and then I would live at Cristin’s house for the other half,” she said, as though it were all decided and possible, with or without my consent.

“No.” I was absolutely firm and clear in my reason not to allow her to move in. “For one thing, you don’t have a car. I have a job and a family, so I don’t have time to drive you around. Even if I had the time, inclination, and gas money to do that, I would still say no. You can’t live with us.”

“Oh, believe me, I know. I was thinking you could drive me to work when you drop him off at school,” (and this point she’d gone back to tutoring), “and then you guys can hang around in town until I get done at four–”

“I am saying no, Cathy,” I said again. “You cannot come and live with me. I will not drive you anywhere. I will not pick my son up from school at noon and try to entertain him in the car all day while you work. You are not my responsibility and you very recently threatened to kill me.”

She laughed. “Oh my gosh, I wasn’t threatening to kill you. Where is everyone getting this from? Like I was saying, you could–”

“No.”

“I know. That’s why you’re on the bottom of the list. Even if I’m just staying with you on weekends.”

“No. You won’t be here on weekends. You will not be here. You cannot stay with us under any circumstance.”

“Right, right. That’s why you’re at the bottom of the list.”

I hung up.

Later that day, I was at Cristin’s house when Cathy called her. Cristin took her phone into the other room, but I heard her say over and over, “No…no way…no. No.” Finally, she said, “Because I don’t want you in my life, and I certainly don’t want you in my house.” She came out of the bedroom and said, “Um…Cathy just called me to ask if she could stay with me during the week because she’s going to be staying with you on the weekends.” I informed her that no, that absolutely would not be happening. But when I got home, there was a message on my voicemail.

It was Cathy, asking when she, Cristin, and I could sit down and work out the schedule for which days she would be staying with us and who would be driving her to work. And she left the message after we’d both turned her down.

 

Next time: “The Parting Gifts”

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99 Comments

  1. Megan M.
    Megan M.

    Oh my goodness, poor Martin. I hope he’s okay and that his dad and stepmom were able to get him the help he needed. It sounds like they were doing everything they could already.

    January 29, 2018
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    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      Yeah. Let’s hope for his sake Cathy’s traits weren’t genetic . . . .

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
  2. Rebecca
    Rebecca

    Damn, that woman has lost whatever touch she had with reality….

    January 29, 2018
    |Reply
  3. Rin
    Rin

    Oh my god.

    January 29, 2018
    |Reply
  4. Mike
    Mike

    That is an amazing amount of denial right there. I’m glad Sam finally got rid of her though. I was worried that wouldn’t happen without some kind of positive influence in his life. A friend of mine didn’t realize his own ‘Cathy’ was a Cathy until after he’d been separated from her for a long while and all the stories he thought of as normal were met with horrified stares, and even then…

    January 29, 2018
    |Reply
  5. Leigh
    Leigh

    This woman… Oh, my God….
    I’m so glad you’re okay.

    January 29, 2018
    |Reply
  6. Jane Eyre
    Jane Eyre

    Jesus fucking Christ…this woman should be locked up. No, seriously she should be locked up in isolation preferably. She didn’t want that kid, like really she didn’t. She never spent time with him, left him and his father for another guy, neglected him when he was with her. and god knows what else, since HER OWN KID as…A CHILD wanted to kill her. and she then claims he was her life and SHE will kill people? Really, this is a scary person she shouldn’t be allowed in any distance from any living being, even a plant. Again, she should be locked up because she’s straight up dengerous

    January 29, 2018
    |Reply
    • Acorn
      Acorn

      This women reminds me so much of my mom with her behaviour towards her child. I can say if he’s anything like me, therapy, time and distance do a lot. He’s also lucky that there were clearly other adults in his life who cared about him.

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
    • Vix
      Vix

      No kidding! My mother is a textbook narcissist and has done plenty of unpleasant things to my siblings and me, but Cathy makes her look like a domestic goddess. Poor Martin. Poor Sam. Poor Jenny (though I am enjoying reading about you saying “no” to her, and I really hope that writing about this is not only entertaining for us but cathartic for you!).

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
  7. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    Holy Guacamole.

    I have NEVER met anyone this dysfunctional, not even in my family, which had its share of midnight calls to police from pay phones in the days before cells.

    This woman never has a functional moment. Not one. She just has spells of being able to cover the dysfunction with charm.

    I’m wondering what happened to poor Wallace, if she ever made it to Colorado to bollix up HIS life.

    January 29, 2018
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  8. Kari W.
    Kari W.

    Jesus H Christ, Jenny. The next time my depression flares up and I start to think that I may be the worst person who ever lived, all I’ll need to do is think back to Cathy. Thank you for sharing this story; I hope everyone involved, including you, has been able to move on from this godawful woman in a healthy fashion.

    January 29, 2018
    |Reply
    • Leigh
      Leigh

      Right! When my depression starts whispering poison in my ear and my anxiety makes me pace like a mad person, I can just read this and settle my a$$ down.

      January 29, 2018
      |Reply
  9. Dove
    Dove

    It was Cathy, asking when she, Cristin, and I could sit down and work out the schedule for which days she would be staying with us and who would be driving her to work. And she left the message after we’d both turned her down.

    I’ve rarely been so enraged in my life! This part brought me to the end of the slow burn this series has built up and that last little bit just tipped me over the edge into pure, undiluted hatred. I really hope her knees exploded from trying to walk to either house but I’m assuming Cathy tricked some poor schmuck into giving her a ride instead. (I’m sure she’ll get stopped cold, but I foresee her attempting to make it happen unless someone else has the misfortune of caving in.)

    I really hope the next installment shows further comeuppance for this vindictive, shitty asshole, but frankly, I’ll just be happy when you finally mention seeing the back of her for good. Kudos to everyone who stood up to Cathy and I’m glad you were able to help out Martin and Sam to some extent. This woman is undeniably horrible and she gives humanity a bad name. (I mean, a lot of people do, but that changes nothing.)

    January 29, 2018
    |Reply
  10. Sunniegreen
    Sunniegreen

    I sincerely hope someone tips off poor Wallace. I’m worried for him!

    January 29, 2018
    |Reply
  11. Iona Lovell
    Iona Lovell

    Holy cow. I take back what I said in the first instalment – my Cathy was not a Cathy. Not like this. Jeebus. I hope the next instalment ends with you never seeing or hearing from this nightmare of a person again.

    January 29, 2018
    |Reply
  12. Teresa
    Teresa

    Wow, this episode made me rage. What a horrible terrible person!

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
  13. Alisha
    Alisha

    *headsplosion*

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
  14. Becky
    Becky

    Hey Jenny,

    I’ve been reading and re-reading your Worst Person I Ever Met posts so much that last night I had a dream about Cathy. She was just as awful in my subconscious as she is on paper. Looking forward to the conclusion so I can get better sleep!

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      No one likes an internet arm-chair psychologist but may I join in? I thought about sociopaths in terms of Cathy but I’m erring on the side of borderline personality disorder (if only because BPD is slightly less frightening than anti-social personality or whatever we call sociopathy now). The way she handled both the non-affair with her professor and her failed seduction of Lucas are why my thoughts go to NPD. Her manipulative nature, ability to charm, and ability to turn her attention, focus, and interests on the interests of others (musical theater, Clash, et al) did make me think sociopath though. I think everyone here would agree with the diagnosis of shitty, unstable, megalomaniac though.

      This installment was truly bizarre just because of Cathy’s seeming ability in the past to absolutely bulldoze others into what she wanted. Is it any wonder that she was in denial of both friends turning her down for a place to stay when she probably hadn’t heard a firm no – that was backed up by action – possibly ever? I was so happy to read where Jenny kept saying no and then, where Cristin said no, because it read like an absolute final decision. Saying no can be difficult for a lot of people and the way Jenny wrote of her own experience saying it read like all the advice I’ve ever seen on the subject. Well done younger you!

      I’m feeling worse and worse for Sam. He was put in a terrible situation with regards to Marten and Cathy really did a number on him. The description of the bedroom where Cathy was smoking and singing was disgusting. I find it such a curious disconnect for a woman who thinks she is so gorgeous and alluring to create and live in such epic filth. I want to leave my office job this minute and run home and clean out my guinea pig cage I am so grossed out.

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
      • To continue the theme of being armchair psychologists, there’s reason to suspect that Cathy may have both Sociopathy and NPD. NPD involves an inflated sense of self-worth and of one’s achievements. Sociopathy is where you have no empathy for others. Put together and you get one heckuva dangerous person.

        January 30, 2018
        |Reply
        • Cat
          Cat

          Oh come now, Cathy with an over inflated sense of self-worth and accomplishment? She’s got a beyond genius level IQ, an irresistible animal magnetism pull towards men, and is a literary giant.

          If only I could insert laughing and rolling emojis.

          I am in no way trying to say the parents are responsible here but now I want to know all about her family. And to jump on with the others, these installments, whilst horrific because they are evidently based on true life, are incredibly enthralling and engaging. I cannot get over Cathy’s insistence that Jenny wouldn’t understand literary nuance since she didn’t have an associates degree that took 10 years to obtain.

          January 30, 2018
          |Reply
      • Atrista
        Atrista

        Just to add to this general discussion (not trying to diagnose Cathy after the fact), I think the appropriate thing is to say that someone like Cathy would fit a Cluster B personality disorder. Although Cluster B is divided into four personality disorders (borderline, narcissistic, anti-social, and histrionic personality disorders), these are not always discrete and distinct. The lines between these disorders are actually quite blurry and a specific diagnosis often varies depending on who makes the diagnosis or it can even change throughout the person’s life. For example, at times Cathy displays heavy histrionic tendencies like her disturbing poetry and pseudo-seduction of her professor. At others she has narcissistic traits like believing herself a great writer, powerful priestess, mother of year, genius of the century, etc, etc. And sometimes she is just plain anti-social, particularly with her abuse of Sam, her own child, and her friends. Her tendency to unleash rage in a matter of seconds, like she did during her bachelorette party, is not unlike the behavior for someone with borderline PD.

        So basically, these are all pretty related to each other and is more important to realize someone is a cluster B than to try to figure out which one specifically. My professor used to say that cluster b, any kind of cluster b, is the kind of people you never want to marry. I would add that you wouldn’t want to be their friend either.

        January 30, 2018
        |Reply
        • Cat
          Cat

          First I’d like to just be clear that when I said “no one likes an internet armchair psychologist” or whatever I said, I meant it in the most jovial way possible because I do this a LOT myself and just want to make sure strangers are aware of it. I understand the dangers in armchair diagnoses and they can and do bother me in a lot of cases but with the description we have here, how can one NOT?

          I would also like to comment that describing Cathy as a “cluster” of any sort is spot on.

          January 30, 2018
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Especially “clusterfuck.”

            January 30, 2018
          • Atrista
            Atrista

            Yes, Cat, I totally understood where you were coming from. When you train as a clinician you learn to be extremely careful with how you phrase things so it doesn’t sound like you are trying to diagnose everyone. I do think these kind of general discussions are very important and help raise awareness about mental health. It is all in good fun, here in this blog, particularly because we are leaving Cathy’s real identity out of it.

            Cathy is a cluster of her own sometimes. “Like watching a train wreck…” doesn’t even get close!

            January 30, 2018
          • Cat
            Cat

            Woof. I was reading through earlier entries and in the second one, Jenny clearly asked us not to engage in the diagnosing because, as she rightly points out, being mentally ill is not a reason for someone to be a bad person. You can be good or bad with or without an actual diagnosis.

            I have some mental illnesses myself so I usually know better to even joke about it so I’ll apologize for my part. I will also point out that I, too, can adopt the interests of others and take on new hobbies at the drop of a hat. I do it innocently enough (as far as I know) so it’s something a lot of people do (I blame my weird attention span [I’m neither ADD nor ADHD… I think I just lack patience and stamina])

            I don’t think anyone here, however, had any intention of suggesting that Cathy is a terrible person because of potential mental illness or that mental illness is to blame. That’s why I jokingly said that “cluster” fit for her. I meant it, as ViolettaD stated, as clusterfuck. Homegirl is a walking, talking omnishambles (Cathy, not ViolettaD)

            January 30, 2018
          • Mel
            Mel

            Giant clusterfuck, IMHO. Some of her behaviour flat-out just reminds me of a spoiled child, holding her breath until she passes out, not hearing the word ‘no’, steamrolling people into doing what she wants … and the list goes on. Did she ever grow up? Good on Jenny and her friend for finally being able to tell her they don’t want her in their lives, although it remains to be seen whether she heard that at all….

            February 1, 2018
        • Lydia Nelson
          Lydia Nelson

          Your last paragraph is pretty disturbing. My partner has BPD and whenever he sees statments like “(cluster b’s are) the kind of people you never want to marry” and other generalizations about BPD or cluster B it worsens his self loathing. If you search for self help resources for BPD online they are almost always written for people living with someone with BPD and talking about what monsters they are instead of letting them know how they can do and feel better. That really doesn’t help with the already super high rate of suicide for BPD folks. My partner also has CPSTD from an abusive mother and it’s been suggested that BPD be labeled as a form of CPTSD because the one is almost always caused by the other.

          In any case, saying a diagnosis is a reason to shun someone rather than their individual behavior is harmful. My partner can change interests and personality ticks to fit in with new people and get approval, but that doesn’t make him a terror like Cathy. From your posts it seems like you are trained as a mental health clinician and want to raise awareness. Please think about how hurtful it would be for someone with a cluster B personality disorder to read on a blog that is usually super supportive of the mentally ill that their diagnosis means no one should love them. Thank you.

          January 30, 2018
          |Reply
          • Arlene
            Arlene

            I was going to say the same thing. Declaring an entire diagnostic criteria section of the DSM as basically “unlovable” does nothing to help fight stigma against mental illness.

            January 30, 2018
          • Atrista
            Atrista

            You are right. It did come off as rather insensitive on my part to share that comment out of context. My bad. Specially when I’m very much aware that we don’t get to chose who our family is and that everyone is deserving of support and understanding.

            Like I mentioned, working in the field means you have to be careful with how you words things. Even when you say something in a less than literal manner it can come off as making a clinical statement. Sharing a inside joke of the trade, even in a light manner, can be offensive. I apologize if I gave everyone that impression.

            January 30, 2018
        • Y’all. We were doing so well. We went, what, 5 or 6 posts without anyone making sweeping generalizations about people with cluster B diagnoses?

          Atrista, am I understanding correctly that you are a mental health professional? And you’re posting “cluster b, any kind of cluster b, is the kind of people you never want to marry. I would add that you wouldn’t want to be their friend either.” I don’t care if you’re quoting your professor, that’s appalling. In a perfect world, mental health professionals would not believe (or parrot) this kind of ableist trash.

          Since apparently a lot of people missed it, I’m gonna bring back my comment from the first Cathy post:

          “Hi friends! As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder who’s a request reader of this blog, I’d really love it if we could maybe not make huge, sweeping generalizations about every single person who has a particular diagnosis. BPD is NO FUN AT ALL, and a lot of folks with the diagnosis can have a really difficult time with relationships and reigning in our emotions. I myself can be a deeply shitty human being when I’m not doing well. However, LOTS of people with BPD work really hard to get better and it’d be awesome if maybe people didn’t say things like ‘…all cluster Bs are absolute nightmares.’
          xoxo Thanks!”

          Also, anyone on this thread who is even vaguely considering getting into the mental health field, please take ONE goddamn MINUTE to think about what it’s like to hear something like that from someone who’s supposed to be helping you. Like “treatment is important and you need help, but also your diagnosis makes you actually a Terrible Person who Normal People shouldn’t have to interact with.”

          And people fucking wonder why people with serious mental health diagnoses often don’t seek help. Jesus Christ.

          January 30, 2018
          |Reply
          • Also that should still say “frequent” instead of “request.” I was so pissed I forgot to fix my typo from the first time I had to politely ask my fellow commenters not to imply I’m a monster.

            January 30, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            No expert, but I’d say that what distinguishes Sociopaths from many other conditions is deliberately doing horrible things in cold blood and feeling no remorse, not struggling with a condition and feeling terrible about it.

            I remember when teachers who’d been informed of my hyper diagnosis used to shriek, “You could pay attention if you WANTED to” or “You must WANT people to think you’re [insert negative adjective here],” so I can somewhat relate.

            January 30, 2018
          • Sigyn Wisch
            Sigyn Wisch

            Still agreed. This is painful, even with the apologies and rationalizations given, especially since Jenny had previously said to stop.

            March 7, 2018
  15. Thalassa
    Thalassa

    I am flabbergasted.
    I read each installment and think: You couldn’t make this up, even if you tried real hard.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
  16. Ria
    Ria

    Poor Martin. That poor, poor boy. And his Father must have felt so guilty, even though he was trying to do the right thing. How awful.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      Martin’s father was one of the tiny rays of light in this installment. His horror, along with the celerity of his actions to confirm Jenny’s reports and go to court to protect his son, was a breath of fresh air.

      It’s disturbing, to say the least, that the young boy was drawing pictures and fantasizing about killing a mother that was barely in his life. I hope he’s doing well with his family and living a healthy, happy life not comprised of movies on a loop.

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
  17. the times I see relationships and desperately just want to drag them apart, somehow anyhow… of course that doesn’t work but it’s such a helpless feeling

    “I hope it’s not Wallace because that’s the name I’m giving him, due to his strong resemblance to the beloved claymation character.”

    That may be the nicest burn I’ve ever read

    Shouldn’t you have sent a warning to Colorado?

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
  18. Xebi
    Xebi

    The bit that got a disbelieving laugh from me was, “My son is my life. If I ever found out someone tried to keep me from him, if I ever find out who did this, I will kill them. You better pray that it wasn’t you.”

    If someone means that much to you then you don’t spend the little time you have together hiding from them. I can’t decide if she’s manufacturing more of the drama she seems to crave, trying to maintain the facade of a doting mother in the face of all evidence to the contrary, or both.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • Sunniegreen
      Sunniegreen

      I think it’s more like, this is mine and it is useful to me for both symbol and status. How dare you deny me my tool and threaten my standing.

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
      • HeidiAphrodite
        HeidiAphrodite

        Yup. My neighbor’s narcissist ex-husband and his new wife (J and E) got in a fight on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago because it was just too expensive to have Christmas gifts and Christmas for his 4 kids, and it escalated into J’s oldest daughter running away from the fear and stress of the fight, J & K calling the police to find her, J screaming that everyone needed to go back to their mom (M), their mom picking the kids up and driving them to her house, then J & K having a change of heart (probably because he thought about his reputation and what he wanted people to think of him), and J driving to M’s house in the middle of the night, pounding on the door and screaming at M to “give me my f*cking kids!”, and my brother calling the cops. On Christmas Eve. In front of other neighbors wondering what all the noise was. And then K posted on Facebook the next day about how much they loved their big family, and how terrible it was that the evil neighbors would call the police on J, who was just calmly picking up “their” kids for the perfect Christmas. Always, always putting up a front to maintain their standing, even when J actually once threatened to give up his parental rights because the judge thought J should, you know, actually pay his child support for once. J & K just LOVE to be martyrs so they can look awesome to those around them. I’ll tell you, though, I’ve seen them stop caring as soon as they get what they want. It’s terrible. They are terrible people. People who use other people are the most terrible people in the world.

        January 30, 2018
        |Reply
        • HeidiAphrodite
          HeidiAphrodite

          E, K, I get mixed up with her name. She’s a terrible person, regardless.

          January 30, 2018
          |Reply
        • Lily
          Lily

          Henry James called it, “thingifying;” using people as objects in order to get your way.

          January 30, 2018
          |Reply
          • Sunniegreen
            Sunniegreen

            Poor Posey.

            January 30, 2018
          • Sunniegreen
            Sunniegreen

            Gah! I mean Pansy! Poor girl. Though I guess poor Isabel also.

            January 30, 2018
      • Mike
        Mike

        What Sunniegreen said. She doesn’t love her son. She loves what having her son allows her to do/say/get away with. However I’m sure she’ll turn this around to be in her favour too. My friend’s ‘Cathy’ uses the fact that she never sees her son anymore as a way to drum up sympathy claiming that his father is abusive and stalks her and stole him from her to hurt her. When in reality while she never stopped filing court papers that fuck him over, she hasn’t even tried to so much as call in a while now, because she is much happier not having to ever watch him and still being able to use his existence to hurt her ex and gain sympathy from people who don’t yet know how terrible a person she is.

        January 30, 2018
        |Reply
    • Saint_Sithney
      Saint_Sithney

      Cathy types have a lot invested in the image they have crafted for themselves, and can get violently angry if anything punctures a hole in their careful illusion. Cathy’s image of herself seems to be a compilation of Hathor, Hestia, Minerva, Aphrodite, and a bit of post-Persephone Demeter – domestic, sensual, loving, nurturing, intelligent, and irresistible, with a heaping helping of painful fragility that doesn’t want to cause harm but can’t help it sometimes because of the depth of her suffering.

      My own Cathy, who is not this bad, has a similar image of herself. She is rude, impatient, and has a sadistic streak. She hates being contradicted in anything and has a massive persecution complex. Everyone around her must be a mind-reader and cater to her whims, or she becomes violent – mostly verbally now that she’s older, but physical abuse is still not out of the running. Her image of herself is of a loving domestic goddess with the gentle soul of a healer, who unfortunately has anxiety (and made-up autism) – one part Anne Shirley, one part Melanie Wilkes, one part Fluttershy.

      I don’t know if it’s a commentary on Western standards of feminine nature that women who are sadistic abusers like to fashion themselves as gentle healers, or if it’s a current universal. Of the abusive men I’ve known, they tend to fashion themselves as fonts of wisdom and strength instead of nurturers, so I tend to think there is a sociological component for the delusion. It’s like delusional drag.

      February 1, 2018
      |Reply
  19. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy her a bus ticket to Denver and pack her off? Then we can all sit around the campfire and sing:

    “I’ve made a small fortune and you squandered it all
    You shamed me till I feel about one inch tall
    But I thought I loved you and I hoped you would change
    So I gritted my teeth and didn’t complain

    “Now you come to me with a simple goodbye
    You tell me you’re leaving but you won’t tell me why
    Now we’re here at the station and you’re getting on
    And all I can think of is thank God and Greyhound you’re gone

    “Thank God and Greyhound you’re gone
    I didn’t know how much longer I could go on
    Watching you take the respect out of me
    Watching you make a total wreck out of me
    That big diesel motor is a-playing my song
    Thank God and Greyhound you’re gone

    “Thank God and Greyhound you’re gone
    That load on my mind got lighter when you got on
    That shiny old bus is a beautiful sight
    With the black smoke a-rolling up around the taillight
    It may sound kind-a cruel but I’ve been silent too long
    Thank God and Greyhound you’re gone
    Thank God and Greyhound you’re gone”

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • Mel
      Mel

      GOLD.

      February 1, 2018
      |Reply
  20. Adam
    Adam

    Not gonna lie, I might have yelled “YAS QUEEN” when Jenny kicked Cathy out after the Sam phone call. In general, it was just good to see after all the shit Cathy put them through, people finally standing up to her and calling out her bullshit. I’m glad Sam finally came to his senses as well and got out. For all his enabling her, nobody deserves to be treated by their partner the way Cathy treated him.

    I’m also happy her ex managed to get sole custody of their son – it sounds like he was really trying to help Martin with his issues, while Cathy quite plainly couldn’t have cared less. The complete lack of concern she showed for ANYONE other than herself is probably one of the most disturbing things about her. I hope Martin, his dad and stepmom are doing okay now.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
  21. Stormy
    Stormy

    That bit at the end with her refusing to take no for an answer was appalling. It sounded like she simultaneously tried to give lip service to you refusing – “Yeah, okay, that’s why you’re down on the list.” – while also trying to neg you in a spectacularly clumsy fashion: “Yeah, you’re DOWN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST, the list of ALL MY AMAZING, WONDERFUL FRIENDS who are CLAMORING TO TAKE ME IN, which you CLEARLY ARE NOT.”

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • Zweisatz
      Zweisatz

      Which is extra hilarious, given that the list apparently consisted of two people at this point? “Yeah, you’re at the very END of my two-person list!”

      March 6, 2018
      |Reply
  22. HerImperialMaj
    HerImperialMaj

    Once again, for the people in the back who are Sam: Holding your breath until you pass out is not a suicide attempt! It’s how toddlers throw guilt trips! It is literally impossible to die that way!

    And no, Sam, she could not have “really gotten hurt” if she hadn’t been sitting on the bed. She would not have done this in any scenario where she wasn’t in a comfortable, zero-risk situation. Because she could not possibly hate herself, irresistible genius that she is, to want to die. She is a narcissistic, sex-predatory toddler, and she’s throwing a guilt trip.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      And that’s the best diagnosis yet.

      “She covered her ears, scrunched up her face, and drummed her feet on my couch.”
      “she’d held her breath until she passed out” (the classic is holding one’s breath until one turn blue).
      She left stray body functions all over other people’s furniture (menstrual blood, nose goblins) and never cleaned up after herself.

      Yep, she’s a toddler–and one who isn’t toilet-trained yet.

      Except toddlers are a) cute, and b) expected to outgrow this phase.

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
      • Cat
        Cat

        I was pretty shocked that she held her breath until she passed out only because I thought that was a hyperbolic description of toddler tantrums and not something that ever actually happened.

        January 30, 2018
        |Reply
        • small jar of fireflies
          small jar of fireflies

          It doesn’t even have to start as the kid’s conscious idea — they work themselves up to a point where their bodies can’t handle the stress and they have trouble breathing. So the faint is kind of a reboot.

          http://www.parenting.com/article/breath-holding-spells-in-tantrums

          Cathy’s out-toddling toddlers.

          January 30, 2018
          |Reply
          • Zweisatz
            Zweisatz

            Honestly though, given how manipulative she is, I wouldn’t be 100% sure that she actually fainted instead of, you know, play-acting.
            OTOH true: If she DID faint, that’s on her.

            March 6, 2018
  23. Mel
    Mel

    I have no words. This woman sounds absolutely terrifying.

    I hope Sam was able to move on with his life and find a better partner. I didn’t think much of him before because some of his behaviour was just as bad but this installment made it really clear how much he was manipulated, abused, and brainwashed by Cathy. It’s frightening how much someone can mess with someone else’s brain and watching it happen to someone you care about is both frustrating and heartbreaking.

    I have a family member who was in an emotionally abusive relationship and it was just horrible to watch them slowly decline as their own person and become basically a puppet of obedience to their partner and you couldn’t do anything about it. I wish there was something more we could have done but it’s far too late now. I just hope they are finally at peace.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
  24. Chris M
    Chris M

    What type of person picks their nose and doesn’t use a Kleenex? I think of all of the very disturbing images from this blog, that has to be the grossest! Did she notice others didn’t do this sort of thing?

    Did anyone ever ask her about things like that which were so gross?

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      That is such a small detail but it stuck with me as well. I say “small” because we already know about the used tampon episode so why would we be in disbelief about someone picking their nose and wiping it on the mattress? But honestly, that small thing just creeps me out.

      I get snot and blood and all of that are parts of being human and that in many ways, a lot of bodily functions are treated, imo, ridiculously (we all poop, people), but just from a stance and viewpoint of basic hygiene, one would think the beautiful and irresistible goddess would understand that a lot of her behavior was gross and repellent.

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
      • Lily
        Lily

        Heavens, no! Whatever the Goddess leaves behind is gold!

        January 30, 2018
        |Reply
        • Lily
          Lily

          Besides, she has servants to clean up after her.

          January 30, 2018
          |Reply
        • Cat
          Cat

          I’ve seen your response several times and whenever I tried to think of a come back, I fell flat. I want no part of THAT goddess gold.

          God, I just realized that someone had to touch that mattress when it was their turn to clean up after her royal hygieneless. Shudder.

          February 1, 2018
          |Reply
  25. Kim
    Kim

    Is it wrong to mostly feel so very grateful I’ve never had a Cathy latch on to me?

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • Kate
      Kate

      Nah, I think in addition to catharsis this is also kind of a cautionary tale.

      January 31, 2018
      |Reply
  26. Anon
    Anon

    I’m having a lot of trouble drumming up even a little sympathy for Sam. He didn’t deserve her abuse, but he doesn’t come across as an innocent victim in the big picture. He was pretty awful to HIS “friends,” as much as she was to you all.

    I mean, you can’t really blame her for the way he behaved toward you when you were cleaning THEIR apartment … And that’s one of many things I just can’t accept “she hits and manipulates him” as an excuse for. Did he ever even apologize?

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • HerImperialMaj
      HerImperialMaj

      It’s important to recognise the fact that “perfect victims” are few and far between. He was often a shit, and sometimes it was because he was being abused and sometimes it was just because he was a shit. (See: the birthday cake thing)

      We can have empathy for the awful things he endured while still holding him accountable for the times he was unpleasant of his own volition.

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      Sam did not behave in awesome ways and clearly has issues of his own (if you reread how he and Cathy first met, you’ll remember his problematic behavior). But to say you have “… a lot of trouble drumming up even a little sympathy for” and abuse victim is harsh, especially when you consider the fact that Jenny has not once said she was scared of Sam but she won’t even dox Cathy because she still holds fear in her heart about this woman.

      Or do you have no sympathy for Jenny either? After all, to an extent, she enabled Cathy by brushing off behavior and doing certain things because she had become conditioned to think she was obligated to. Truly manipulative people are deeply insidious and will quickly point out how they never a held a gun to anyone’s head to get them to do anything (and lord love a duck, I hope none of the future installments include Cathy with a gun).

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
  27. I’ve noticed that the women who tend to perform the whole “mama bear” routines the loudest and proclaim that their kids are “their LIFE” and all that usually tend to be the ones whose actions show them not actually giving a fuck about the kids in question.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • HerImperialMaj
      HerImperialMaj

      People love having stuff to feel smug about. But people who genuinely devote themselves to something that requires constant effort don’t tend to have time to post smug memes on Facebook.

      January 30, 2018
      |Reply
  28. Lily
    Lily

    I’m ‘ma voting Cathy was evil. Plain born without a soul. No empathy, incapable of love or kindness or decency, pure-Dee evil. I have met her kind before.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
  29. Caitlin Nolan
    Caitlin Nolan

    “The next day, I received an angry call from Sam, taking me to task for Cathy’s latest bought of self-harm. In a rage at me, she’d held her breath until she passed out.”

    Boy, for somebody who supposedly wanted to kill herself Cathy is *really* bad at suicide.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • Sigyn Wisch
      Sigyn Wisch

      … I understand how this comment was intended (and yes, Cathy’s behavior is ridiculous), but uh. I’ve been trying to kill myself for over half my life, am also bad at it, and feel a bit eh about this particular commentary. Sorry.

      March 7, 2018
      |Reply
  30. Alyssa
    Alyssa

    I rescind my previous comment about having a Cathy. This is next level.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
  31. Zev
    Zev

    (narrows eyes at Cathy and speaks in an even, icy voice) Hello, Creepy Ex-Girlfriend I Called the Cops On As A Teen.
    How I had hoped I’d never need to type that sentence. I’m going to do self-care now. I’m going to wash my face, breathe deep, turn on the heat, call my twelve-step sponsor, and accept that I’m going to need to stare at things because my brain is about to hibernate for awhile. I am going to accept all that. It is okay. I am okay, but I need to take steps to be more okay.

    January 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • Rebecca
      Rebecca

      Thank you for doing the hard things and taking those steps.

      January 31, 2018
      |Reply
  32. Kate
    Kate

    “Cathy immediately became a doting and attentive mother, helping Martin gather up his things and talking about how well he behaved.”

    I shuddered. It isn’t surprising behavior, but it creeps me out that at least on some level she knows she is shit (or that everyone else—all those fools—knows she’s shit) and has to put on an act. Poor kid, I hope he’s more well-adjusted now.

    January 31, 2018
    |Reply
    • Kate
      Kate

      Something I remember my former therapist telling me is that narcissism is like gilded shit. The narcissist spends all their time polishing and shining and brandishing their gilded piece of shit, painstakingly trying to never reveal the shit underneath.

      January 31, 2018
      |Reply
  33. Alex Silvers
    Alex Silvers

    It is genuinely disturbing, seeing how deluded Cathy is. Whatever her diagnosis truly is, people with all sorts of mental issues can learn to work with them to live full and rich lives as functioning adult humans in our society. It’s just sad and awful she clearly doesn’t want any part of that.

    Not to mention what she did to her son. I think she probably chose that movie because it’s one of the longest movies out there, without giving a single thought to what such a violent movie might do to a child that age. I’m glad his father is taking steps to fix the damage Cathy has done to him, and I think he’ll be okay now that she’s been removed from his life. But I’m so so glad Jenny reported what was really happening to him when she did.

    I have been following this since I found your blog (initially for the ongoing coverage of H4M) and I’m just stunned at how this woman… is. It’s just astonishing, it really is.

    January 31, 2018
    |Reply
  34. This is not for you
    This is not for you

    I don’t want to arm chair psych this but having recently cut my own “Cathy” out of my life I strongly suspect she has Borderline. The shifting sense of self, inability to accept blame, harmful sexual behavior, self harm/suicide (for attention), the out bursts, and splitting on people are all there. Reading these posts has both been cathartic, empowering, but also mentally taxing. Like you my Cathy was so charismatic and charming that I put up with so many put downs, manipulations, and abuse for 13 years because I was blinded by the good times we had and by the thought of “that’s just how she is.”
    The last two years of our friendship is when it started falling apart, when my priorities shifted and I grew beyond her BS. When I started laying boundaries and pulling away my friend, like most BPDs, amped up her abuse, rewrote reality, and made my life miserable. I too was afraid but I eventually cut her out and it was the best decision.
    I’m still angry and still afraid as my Cathy is trying to get back in my life but reading these posts is a strong reminder to never let that happen

    January 31, 2018
    |Reply
    • Sigyn Wisch
      Sigyn Wisch

      Hi yes, several people, including Jenny, have asked folks to stop armchair diagnosing and also stop making sweeping generalizations about people with these kinds of disorders. I’m borderline and I don’t appreciate being told that someone like Cathy is typical of people with my disorder.

      March 7, 2018
      |Reply
  35. Katja
    Katja

    oh my word. Wherever Martin and Sam are now, I hope they’re okay. heck, I hope everyone who’s ever met Cathy is okay.

    January 31, 2018
    |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      It’s sad because I assume she’s found new prey by now.

      January 31, 2018
      |Reply
  36. I had a Cathy of my own, and the description is close enough that I had trouble believing they weren’t the same person — it’s just that ‘my’ Cathy was primarily into girls, and not a mother, thank the gods. She was sooo good with kids. Sooo magically gifted. Such a great artist. Such an amazing singer. (She did have a wonderful singing voice, but she spent most of her time listing people she was a better singer than, so I’m still counting that as Cathy-esque.)

    She would shoot down any ideas or interests I had that she didn’t have already, and then coincidentally come up with the same ideas or discover the same interests herself a month later. She would gather the whole household and berate me for hours, then slap me when I wasn’t reacting in the way she wanted (that is to say, I shut down under the torrent of abuse). She was an actualfax cult leader, who played games with sleep deprivation, requiring people to stay up all night to keep the house safe from ‘psychic attack’, and drained people’s bank accounts (followed by encouraging them to lie to their families to get her more money) for whatever Important Magical Item she needed today — and I didn’t question it at the time because I had seen her done some legitimately impressive stuff, and all the resources about cult leaders emphasized that they didn’t have any REAL power, and so if she was the genuine article, she couldn’t really be a cult leader, right? If the people who called her a cult leader on the internet were largely pointing out how “crazy” her beliefs sounded and not her actual abusive behavior, that made her not a cult leader, right? The fact that people focused on her beliefs let her shift the narrative to be about religious intolerance, and not the fact that she was systematically destroying the people she coerced into staying with her.

    She had an unspecified disease. Which would kill her. A doctor told her. She was too exhausted to get a paying job because she already had three jobs, one of which was moderating an online forum she ran, and another which was, apparently, being a sorceress. I don’t even remember her third job, but it was equally bullshit.

    I usually give people the benefit of the doubt for invisible illnesses, but she was conveniently ill whenever she didn’t want to do something, and ‘fainted’ for attention. (After we obtained smelling salts and used them on her once, just mentioning them would lead to her miraculously regaining consciousness. Funny how that worked out.)

    Oh, and I was apparently in love with her. Because everyone was, you know. And she had my head so turned around that I actually thought maybe she was telling the truth, maybe she’d seen something I hadn’t admitted to myself, though the fact is I actually had significant crushes on a couple of other people in her circle, and not so much on her. Sure, she was pretty (when not mid-tantrum, which was often), but I emphatically didn’t want to do the amount of emotional labor required to be one of her partners — and, being her, she expected that labor from me anyway, just without any kind of intimacy, emotional or physical, from herself in return. This is not a bullshit friendzone argument, this is actual manipulation and emotional abuse, where everyone in her circle was supposed to be utterly devoted to her and dump their significant others who all didn’t love them, she could tell. Because magic.

    I’m still friends with a few people who also got away from her. We largely don’t talk about her, because there’s too much trauma there, but to this day, I have nightmares in which I forgive her and let myself be drawn in again, and I wake up terrified.

    People like that are incredibly dangerous, and part of what makes them so dangerous is that it’s so easy to look at the surface which seems weird and outlandish and who would ever be sucked in by such obvious crazy? Which, when you’re dealing with weird spiritual stuff on your own, makes you more likely to run towards the abuser, not away, because they seem like they understand you, like you have things in common, and if they’re crazy, you’re crazy too. Using that tactic to condemn them literally does their job for them.

    January 31, 2018
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    • …And that got way longer than I intended. Sorry. I just have a lot of feelings about that particular kind of manipulative abuser.

      January 31, 2018
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      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        No need to apologize. Sounds like you suffered from very real abuse. Talking it out is the first step, but, if you can, please find some professional help to get you through the nightmares. It sounds like that can really help. (Well, at least I hope so, as I’ve never been abused that much. But therapy definitely helped me, so I hope it can help you pull through, too.)

        Best of luck.

        February 1, 2018
        |Reply
  37. BitterAlmonds
    BitterAlmonds

    After the things I’ve lived through, reading about how horrifying everyone finds this is such a relief beyond words. It’s a balm on my soul to see this condemned as unacceptable. I imagine this is painful to write but I’m so glad you’ve done it. Thank you.

    February 1, 2018
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  38. Cait H
    Cait H

    I love your writing, and I love your telling us about this woman for our entertainment. Please, for the love of all that is holy, please give that poor child, Martin, a happy ending, even if you have to make it up. I want to weep when I think of the awful psychological damage that evil fuck off a mother did to him. Please. Please.

    February 2, 2018
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  39. duckandcover
    duckandcover

    Long-time lurker, first-time commenter. I just have to say I devoured this entire saga in one night and it’s both insane and sad to admit that I’ve let people in my life who were Cathy Lite. Users, abusers, and completely oblivious to their b.s. Reading you saying no to her was strangely cathartic and I can’t wait for the next part!

    February 2, 2018
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  40. A winter night traveller
    A winter night traveller

    Hi Jenny,

    I’m really enjoying this series so far – thank you for sharing these stories with us! I wondered if you could do a series on the best person you’ve ever met once you’ve finished this one? I think it would be cathartic for us all and restore our collective faith in humanity!

    Keep up all the good work 🙂

    February 2, 2018
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  41. StarlightArcher
    StarlightArcher

    One thing has me curious, what is the probability that Cathy will discover/has discovered this blog series? Sure names have been changed, but it’s clear that the woman isn’t internet-illiterate. Plus, being as vindictive as described, it’s not beyond the vale of reason to assume she’d check this blog, to keep tabs on Jenny. I guess in general my question is, will there be blow-back for airing this dirty laundry? I honestly hope not. That she’s so far removed, and so thoroughly cut from your life that she can’t do anything to ever hurt you again. It’s brave of you Jenny to shine light on abusive behavior and toxic people. I hope she’s not able to harm you because of it, and that it’s precisely the purging you need to completely and forever leave her behind you!

    February 13, 2018
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  42. Kim
    Kim

    Maybe it’s just because we’re this far into this series that I don’t remember everything, but….what the hell was so fun about this woman to begin with?!

    February 20, 2018
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  43. Perdita Fulana
    Perdita Fulana

    I thought Cathy’s child was named Marvin.

    February 25, 2018
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  44. Drakendottir
    Drakendottir

    I stumbled over this only today (and over you tonight, on account of your brilliant 50 Shades-Read Through).

    Your account of your “friendship” with Cathy reads like a thriller. Or even a horror story. You have me anxious on my seat here. I am so glad that you seem to be okay and I hope the same is true for everyone else involved in this. I really hope Cathy did not harm anyone further than she already has at “this point” in the timeline, but I have a sickening feeling we’re not at the end yet.

    I also hope that Mr. Jen has given you loooots of love and hugs and emotional support so that you can get over this horrible, horrible person. There’s stories that reinforce my believe in humanity. And then there’s this. Irghs.

    On top of that, from an aspiring writer (that’s me) to a successful writer (that’s you): Kudos, and thanks for putting up all this content. You are an inspiration. I am currently thinking about buying one of your books (the only thing to be decided is which one I want to read first). Please excuse any mistakes in my English, I’m not a native speaker.

    Looking forward to reading more of you.

    March 1, 2018
    |Reply
  45. Sigyn Wisch
    Sigyn Wisch

    She covered her ears, scrunched up her face, and drummed her feet on my couch, shaking her head furiously.
    ^ well that’s real womanly behavior. Thanks for proving Jenny right, you fucking child.

    But when I’m upset like that, I’m not responsible for my actions. You made me lash out.
    ^ I’m sorry, I don’t remember Jenny ordering a steaming bucket of chicken-fried bullshit.

    Oh wowwww. Martin wants to kill his mom. That… That’s not within parameters.

    As for Dan (IIRC that was the dad’s “name”), it sucks that he felt he was to blame, you know, but at least Martin had one decent parent.

    Hey there Cathy, did you know death threats are a felony?

    ….this woman cannot take a hint.

    March 6, 2018
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  46. Zzzzen
    Zzzzen

    Are Marvin and Martin the same kid?

    May 15, 2018
    |Reply

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