Friday, April 29, 2011

HELP! A more dangerous and malignant narcissist in my life!

My father left last night. I won't see him for the next six months or so. He's sometimes frustrating and exasperating, but I believe I am at a place where I can manage him well.

So, God, or fate, or the Universe, or whoever, decides that I need another narcissist in my life, an actually dangerous character.

A year ago, I was contacted by a pleasant-sounding woman calling from a company line, asking if I'd like to translate a novel by an author who is originally from my country, but is employed at a Paris university now and is planning on publishing his novel in English as well. So I said, sure, why not?

We agreed on the price and I started translating. Slowly, things started sounding a bit off. The girl I met was nice, and she was immediately upfront about not being an official representative of a publishing company, but instead performing a favor for an acquaintance. The author had asked her to privately arrange the translation. OK, so now this means no contract, no official arrangement, as this is just not done among private individuals in my culture, especially if one of them happens to be abroad.

But I translated the first portion of the book and immediately received half the money.

Many different excuses, explanations, blaming others who "stole" the money he sent to me ensued, until I finally received the other half as well, five months later, delivered personally by an acquaintance of the author, who acted like he was performing a military operation when he rang my doorbell. Or a Mafia task directly from the boss.

The book itself was surprising, to say the least. The first portion was shocking only in that it contained a lot of inexplicable gratuitous violence committed by the narrator, who is a bouncer in Paris night clubs. But it had an interesting story and an atmosphere that would interest Tarantino.

It became apparent that the novel is quite closely autobiographical, that my author is quite possibly a violent, dangerous man, and that his "employment at a university" probably meant doorman or guard of some sort. Not that I have anything against doormen as authors, but a professor is less likely to cause physical harm to another human being, if it ever comes to that, right?

Just days after I received all the money owed me, the author called me to ask me to translate the rest of the book (coincidence? now I really don't think so).

I said OK, but only if we did it installment by installment this time, so there's no waiting on my part, otherwise there's no more translation for him. He agreed.

So I went on with the book, which I now received in its entirety (I'd only had the first 50 pages photocopied earlier). It was much longer than I could have imagined. It would be a lot of work, and yes, a lot of money, if I got paid.

This is where the trouble started. I sent the first installment of the translation and waited for a month to get paid, while the author kept coming up with crazy stories on why it is so difficult to just pay me via my bank account, as I'd requested this time (no more strange men at my door). The weirdest was insisting he'd paid at some point, but the money had to pass some clearance, so I had to wait a few days, but when it was much longer than that, then the story was that he inquired about it and the Paris post office made a mistake and now he can't get that money back! And it was my fault for insisting on going through "official channels". So he persuaded me to send another installment. More crazy stuff followed. I asked at my bank, and they told me to get a scanned proof of payment from him. He said he'd send it, then didn't. Then he asked if I'd received it. I said no. He said he'd send it again. He never did. Then he made two smaller payments via Western Union, and much later sent me proof of THAT, although that was never a problem, as these payments had got through immediately and I'd informed him of this. At one point, he had a worker at the Paris post office tell me in French that my money will arrive in due time (if it was indeed paid, which she didn't know, because she wasn't the one taking his payment!). Going to so much trouble to lie seemed excessive to me at the time, because I wasn't aware of all the wonders of NPD.

And he's one of those narcissists that use their voices! My father never was one, so I wasn't prepared for this. He would whine, then complain, then rage, then despair because I apparently thought he was a dishonest man, then rage because I apparently offended him by implying he was a dishonest man! It turned into a roller coaster and I wanted off. 

His book became progressively more disturbing as I got further into it. I had the privilege of seeing the insides of a dark, dangerous narcissist's mind. He's a knight in shining armor cruelly punishing all evil-doers, especially those that dare offend him, and everybody sees him as brave, strong, and noble. IF anyone ever says "no" to him or makes an innocent remark about how he's beating people up excessively or unnecessarily, they are to prepare for at least horrible verbal abuse, perfectly justified, in his opinion. How can all these people be so evil? There are only a few good men out there, those loyal to him and admiring him.

When I realized he was lying, when the energy I needed to invest into believing him became too much, I stopped translating. He already owes me quite a bit, so I don't owe him anything, although I'd agreed to translate the whole book and he's counting on it. After the last small payment he made, I said I'd slowed down with the translation because I wasn't sure he still wanted it, as I hadn't received the money owed me.

He started shouting at me, then complaining about his horrible life in which he was so abused and misunderstood, and then changed our agreement in an impromptu way that I was not prepared to negotiate! He said "OK then, you don't have to send me installments, just translate the whole thing as quickly as you said you would and I'll give you all the money for the whole book, all at once!"

He expects the book to be done by early July. It won't be. I could sure use that money, but I can't motivate myself to finish the book without being certain I'll actually get paid. How can I ensure that? Tell him to have someone meet me in public with an envelope and hand the disc to him at the same time as he's handing me the envelope? I don't want fishy characters near my home again!

And if I just refuse to deal with him any longer? This is a dangerous man with contacts here, and he knows my address where my family lives!

How does one deal with a dangerous, malignant narcissist?

I've been too nice to him because I was conditioned by a narcissist and he must have felt it.

With his mode of communication and his voice and his rage and my conditioning, just saying "You're nothing to me and I don't know you and I'm just performing a service for you where I expect to be paid, and if I'm not, I'm not interested" seems like an impossible task. And will he send one of his goons to hurt my family if I do say it?

According to his book, it wouldn't be the first time he's pulled something like that against someone who's "offended" him.



  1. Fuck. Giving him your address was obviously a mistake, but you probably don't think he will actually do anything physical to you? Do you? Are you afraid? That really sucks! The whole thing sounds utterly crazy and very disturbing.

    One of those things only children of narcissists seem to get into, and just HOW do we stop it? I'm so sorry!

    I'd probably do exactly what you suggested. Meet at the same place you met me at the other week, also accepting money in an envelope for writing work :). It just sucks he knows your address already.

    Worst case scenario? You're already somewhat of an expert of both Narcs and this guy himself thanks to his book. Would he really turn up at your house? Sounds like too much hassle for something entirely unjustified. But... could you defend yourself? Would the police come, etc?

  2. Obviously a mistake, yes, but when I gave it it was when I thought he was a nice old professor who'll send me his book via the post office!

    I'm actually ever so slightly afraid, yes. I hope it would be too much of a hassle, and, apparently, he can't personally come to the country because he ran away because he is a convicted felon here! (Only learned this recently, too.) But, apparently, he has obedient friends here.

    His book recently acquainted me with the fact that he is not above physically hurting a woman who is "plotting against him". It's entirely justified.

    I might just have to translate the whole thing, just to feel safe with my family at my home, using excuses of my own to postpone the deadline (I'm thinking of breaking my "never lie" rule when dealing with lying, dangerous narcissists), and then arrange a safe and certain way to get the money.

    It's just so disturbing that I got sucked into this madness - it sounded so legit at the beginning, and now I'm obligated and it's agreed upon and arranged, and if I betray him I might be in trouble!

    And it got to this point because I'm the child of a narcissist. A child of normal parents would have just said "take a hike" a long time ago, before it started sounding personal, like I'm somehow personally invested in his book project and interpreted by him as something like a friend and admirer of his work. I failed at keeping it distant and professional. He smelled weakness and lack of boundaries and capacity to stand up for myself. And I don't know how to fix it now.

  3. Learning from other ACONs on the art of setting boundaries, I might write to him and announce that I'd like the original agreement reinstated, and that I won't be working on the translation at all until I receive money owed to me.

    Then I might add that I've come to the decision that I will not be receiving phone calls related to business any more and that all further communication would have to be in writing. I'll have to think of a nice but firm way to say this. I might even lie that my number will not be in use any more. (Is it a lie if it's not in use for HIM any more?) So we'll have to do everything in writing, which makes it more difficult to change rules.

    I can be nice, but firm, impersonal, professional and unbending. You pay, I start working on the next installment. Too bad if you have problems. I empathize. However, that has nothing to do with business.

    Hey. I'm not a narcissist. I'm actually too easily manipulated because I'm so "understanding" when others have "problems" and "can't" honor their side of an agreement. Because I'm afraid I'm cold and selfish and not empathetic enough.

  4. Yes to the last comment. I think he'll pay in the end, because he's a narcissist and obviously wants the book published.

  5. I sure hope it could work out. I AM scared. But I want to be paid too. So translating the whole thing might be the only viable option.

  6. VERY interested in ANY advice...

  7. Whatever else you do, I would say no more personal meetings with any representative of this man or, if you must, then in a busy public place such as a city center cafe where you can go assisted by friends. You could establish a post office mailbox and insist that all future correspondence be sent there.

    I suggest you not tell him that your phone number won't be in use, because if he proves otherwise then he has proof of a lie to feed his theories about "plotting against." In the U.S. I would say to get Caller ID on your phone (to see the phone number of each caller) and maybe some number blocking, but can you do that where you are?

    If you can stand it, I would say finish the job quickly, and then tell him it is finished and you will send the final work as soon as you receive full payment. If he demands proof I guess you could ask him to name a page number and immediately fax that page, translated. Once-and-done calls for the least contact and hence the least opportunity for him to create drama.

    I don't know if, in your country, it would be even remotely prudent to involve the authorities who would assist a woman who was being stalked by someone like an ex-lover, but it might be a thought.

    Good luck. Listen to your instincts. If you are afraid to meet someone or go somewhere don't do it.

    I would say get a dog, too, but that's just me.


  8. Sorry, been thinking about this some more, and "do all the work first" is my own narc-compliance talking.

    No. You're right about installments.

    1) He probably doesn't have the money.

    2) It would give him jollies to know you had worked all the way through his sadistic manuscript whether he received all of it or not.

    Just, please, minimum contact whatever you decide.

    - GKA

  9. Thanks, GKA. Excellent points. Get you on the narc-compliance. Only too well.


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