Written quite awhile ago, but still relevent today:
I've been over at Writers' Digest for awhile now, and two people as of late have been something of a nuisance. One of them is Ann, who I cut ties with a couple of months ago; apparently she can't take a hint. The other is a fellow named Robert, who's proven himself to have a serious chip on his shoulder.
Let's see, where to begin? Yes, with Ann. Or Addled Annie, or the Annoying One. Or Ayn, as she's so transparently trying to pass herself off as. After far too long, I ended the friendship with her, and I really did try to take the high road about it. I had come to realize a few things: that I was the only one putting effort into the relationship; that she was using me to satisfy her need for attention, to flirt with, and to indulge her sexual fantasies; and that in the end, I was far better off just cutting her out of my life. So I went and did it. That was supposed to be it. I did not respond to any further emails. I didn't take the bait when she pulled temper tantrums in message boards. I ignored her.
Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm quite happy without ever speaking to her again. Once I'd cut ties with her, I felt like I had this great weight off my shoulders. I felt free. Liberated. And I really wanted to keep to the high road and not engage her in bickering. I had hoped she'd just get the hint and leave me alone. Guess not, right?
Lo and behold, she turns up at Writers Digest using a thinly veiled alias, and reading her posts and profile, it's perfectly obvious she only came there to get my attention again. Because I get on so well with Norma, that makes her angry. So she tracked me down, created her little persona, and hopes she can get to me again.
She's continued her little masquerade, claiming she's not who we think she is, even though we've essentially called her out on it. I'd like to think she read my post in a thread that was unfortunately deleted, one that I would have copied here. The essence of it: a direct letter to her, telling her I was done with her, and to leave me alone. It felt good writing it. Like cathartic good.
Maybe she'll take the hint. I want nothing at all to do with her. I'm better off without having her around. In the end, after all, she's proven herself to be utterly pathetic. If she can't take the hint, I'll have to take things in a different direction. Like passing on some emails to her boyfriend. Or talking to the police about criminal harassment and stalking, because frankly, that's precisely what this feels like.
Which brings us to the other annoyance. Robert had come across as a likeable sort of fellow. And he went all out to persuade a friend, a woman whose marriage was a bit shaky, that he was the man for her. He presented a facade for her, and showed that facade to others around Writers Digest. My friend paid a visit, and saw him for what he really is: a very angry, bitter man who lives like a slob, and she was, to put it frankly, horrified. She understood that she had been wrong, and is now working with her husband to make things right in their marriage.
If Robert cared about her at all, he'd accept that. He'd accept her choice to rebuild her marriage, wish her well, and end contact with her. Did he do that? No. Instead he chose to begin harassing her, essentially trying to coax and pressure her, claiming on the one hand to love her, while making life difficult for her. As a friend, I and others have seen some of the emails. These are not the actions of a man who cares, but a guy who only really cares about himself. He's mad, and he didn't get his way, and as time has gone on (and he's been in and out of WD) there have been more signs that this is a guy with a serious temper. To the point where I'd consider him a threat.
He's attacked her in discussion groups. He's gone after Norma in a very vicious, personal way that really annoyed me. He's lashed out at strangers. Oh, and there's his response to me, which had more to do with my open letter towards Ann. And it seems, for now, that he's off the site. All the better, if you ask me. I just don't think this'll be the end of it.
I've seen guys with tempers before. Robert clearly has issues. He could have taken the high road, accepted things as they were, and moved on. Instead he didn't. In that, he and Ann have that in common.
There are ways of having a catharsis about people who annoy us. At least as a writer. I've done so with an irritating brother-in-law, and it felt good, incorporating his idiocy into writing. If things persist with these two, they might find themselves showing up in a not very flattering light in the printed page some time down the road. And it would be fun, believe me.