28 January 2010


(Photograph copyright 2010, all rights reserved.)

WOW. That's some set of letters this week. Where does one start? This just goes to show the levels of fucked up pathology that lurks beneath the surface of the blandest countenances.... Ok. That's a load of crap. There's some serious nonsense around here this week, by gum and I'm going to smack it around a little!

I think I'll just dive in. As always, the letters can be found at Dear Prudence

1. Ooh...you're good. Very, very slick. I LOVE the "I'm a monster, what can I do?" thing. It almost smacks of.......sincerity.


I'm loving that confessional style. Pretty sophisticated for a kid. So, how long have you been a sociopath? Really, you can tell Aunt Messy. Did your parents fall for it, too? When the cat went missing or the shih tsu across the street got barbecued when you started the grill without looking inside, or the neighbor's kid went screaming home with all his teeth missing, what did you do? Nothing, I'll bet. And if you ever got caught, I can just see you crying your crocodile tears and promising to "do better Mommy, I will...".

When you went off to college I suspect that everyone in your neighborhood AND your family breathed a sigh of relief. It's not easy to live with a little con artist/narcissist/asshole. I don't imagine the welcome mat is just popping on to any doorways near you, either.

Pay attention, little boy. You're about to get a lesson in who you can and cannot sling the shit to.

(Naturally this is all dependent on the letter being from a real LW. It could go either way.)

You confess to Prudie all about how mean you are to women. It's like you lifted your story right out of a book labelled "abuser" and scribbled it all down for the Internet lady...who bit. Verbal abuse, check. Unreasonable jealousy, check. Isolating your girlfriend, check. Bringing up her sexual past in order to hurt her, check. Getting a new relationship before the other one even picked up her toothbrush, check. "I thought I was a good guy", check. "I know I'll eventually slip...", check. From there you segue right into the good old self-help/"how do I stop myself" schtick.... Really, it's a thing of beauty. Don't get too excited though, slick. You've fallen all the way into cliche territory with it, too.

This is why I think your letter just might be fake because most abusers aren't that self-aware. Then again, this is EXACTLY the sort of behavior I'd expect from a relatively smart person who IS a serial abuser of women.

So, your last girlfriend took your bullshit abuse for a year or so, then kicked your skinny ass out of her life for good. No doubt her friends got tired of listening to her complain and helped her wise up and see you for the scum you are. Good for her. But that left you with just a teensy problem, am I right? See, people like you can't survive for long without someone to kick around. You NEED to have someone around to validate your sick little world view and if you can make them miserable, all the better. The yelling (yours), crying (hers), the manipulation (yours), it's how you get off! It's the only power you have, isn't it, little boy?

But here's your problem. You're in college. I'm guessing it's not an especially big college, either. In small, and even medium-sized schools, people talk to each other, don't they? This has GOT to cramp your style a little bit. After all, your former girlfriend has probably told the entire world about your scum-sucking-rotten-slimeball ways by now. You only have a couple of alternatives. You have to find some chick who doesn't know about you, or.......

You have to find someone with both low self-esteem and the utter conviction that she can "fix" you, if only you'll "let her in". There are a lot of girls your age that really go for the broken losers like you. A dime a dozen. Most of them wise up over time, and you have to keep on hunting for a few years to get the one girl that meets all of your needs.

I have no doubt you'll find one eventually. Sadly, my gender seems to have an overabundance of people who will spend DECADES taking crap from people like you and then get sucked in by the insincere apologies and promises to do better. You just have to find the right balance of agony and repentance, and you could have one on the hook for the rest of your miserable, misbegotten life.

And this is where the letter to Prudie comes in, isn't it? Your present girlfriend, who you've been love-bombing like a Moonie with a quota, has heard all about your rampant manipulative assholism. She's not quite the idiot you thought she was at first, but not as smart as the last one, either. You have to somehow convince her not only that you CAN be helped, but that you WANT to be and that you've been trying real hard to curb your "baser instincts", which in your case amounts to who you really are.

It's a fine line, isn't it? You have to be the "man" she wants, but in need of just a little nudge in the right direction. I'm guessing that you're busy convincing her right now that the other girlfriends just didn't know how to "reach you", and all you need is your "soul-mate", so you can be the perfect person you already think you are. You're convinced that you can show her the letter to Prudie and she'll be all over you because of hard you're "trying" to "get help". After all, if you're willing to brave the criticism you're taking on The Fray, then you MUST be serious, is that how it goes?

You're a little ham-handed about it right now. I'm guessing you probably need a little practice getting the schtick right. Better hurry up and get one on the hook, though. After most women finish college, the pickings will thin. Grown-up women tend to have a lower bullshit tolerance than the ones you're after now.

2. Are you your mother, girl? You've watched your brother manipulate your parents for your entire life. You've worked your backside off making ends meet while he sat on his because he knew that Mom and Dad would come through because they couldn't stand to see his kids go hungry.


How can you even consider giving your ill-tempered layabout of a brother even a NICKEL of your money? In fact, (and I owe this question to a Frayster) how did he even find out that you were getting this money? Did you tell him? Why on Earth would you do that? After all, this is an insurance policy - it could have stayed between you and the company and no one would have been the wiser!

Ok. I'll analyze for you. I'm guessing your brother is bloody terrified right now. He's spent his entire life acting like a child - skating through crap jobs knowing that if he got bored and quit, he could hit your mom up for money. He's never had to face a consequence in his entire life, because he was perpetually being bailed out. Why should he go to school? All he had to do was play the "woe is me" card and the money just flowed in. His wife has been sitting on her tush for years, all because she knew that your mother would always come through. Beginning to see?

Now that the bank of Mom is closed permanently, your brother is soiling his armor and with good reason. But wait, there's more! I'm guessing (and I'm a good guesser of these things) that there was no actual inheritance left, either. After all, your mother spent all kinds of HER money on your brother and probably had no savings left by the time she died. If she owned her house, you probably saw part of that, but that's about all there was, right?

So no. You have no reason to feel guilty about this. Your brother is pitching fits because of plain old naked fear, and for the first time in his life, HE's the one that has to deal with it. Your mother - a smarter woman than you probably thought she was sometimes - found a way to give you money that your brother has no claim to. He will never be able to get a nickel out of you UNLESS YOU ALLOW IT. It wasn't in her will, so he can't contest it.

Prudie says you should throw him a couple thousand bucks to shut him up, but you know the truth, dont you? He will NEVER shut up. He will ALWAYS need cash. He doesn't care about your family, he doesn't care about you, and he would take away your last pennies and let you starve without a pang of conscience.

So what should you do? The next time he calls and whines say this, "It looks like you have a problem. Good luck with that." Then say nothing else. There's nothing to argue about and let's face it - in the long haul $20 000.00 isn't that much money.

3. Ok. I have to restrain myself from banging my head on my desk. Really? You need to ask what you should do?


Pay attention. You are dealing with a grown-up adult woman who spreads rumors like she's in Grade Four, tells the neighbors you have cooties, won't talk to you, and sends nastygrams to your husband when you try and reason with her.

Got a clue yet? No? Why the hell did you go around talking to people about the rumors? What were you thinking? Did you consider, even for a second, that by running around trying to do damage control you were giving her all the power? It must have been absolute CANDY to this woman when she found out about it. You played directly into her hands and gave her the reinforcement she needed to step it up a little.

Got it now? Yeesh.

So. You started with the Big Ignore and finally you found something that ticked her off. That should have been the end of it, right? I mean, most people, even the nastiest would eventually move on to another target once they realize that the fun is gone. Ah, but no. She's upping the ante. Her latest game - following you around in her car is starting to veer into Dangerous Person that Can Hurt Me territory.

See, you aren't dealing with most people. I can't believe you haven't figured this out, but you are dealing with a Crazy Person and there are different rules to dealing with Crazy People. I have to say that I don't often say that Prudie is full of crap, but in this case, she's full of crap. If you wave to this Crazy Person, you will be giving her EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTS.

Is any of this sinking in? Am I wasting my time here? Ok. See, this Crazy Person wants to control your actions. She LIKES it when you get upset. She LIKES getting a rise out of you. If you wave at her, in her mind, you are obeying her and she is controlling you and making you do what SHE wants you to. Hey, I didn't say any of this made sense. This is a Crazy Person, remember?

Now, you can hope that she'll finally take both hands off the wheel and wrap her car around a tree or post. That would probably injure her enough that she'd be out of your hair for awhile. What's MORE likely to happen is that she'll decide one day that waving and yelling isn't enough and she'll aim that car at you....just to see if you'll jump. Do you REALLY want to go that far? What if she decides to go after your husband with the car? Do you have any children? Crazy People will do anything to hurt the object of their current Crazy, you know.

Are you in physical danger? Probably not right now. Maybe never. Crazy People are, after all, Crazy. They aren't especially logical or predictable. You may get away clean until she finds someone else to obsess about. Here's my advice.

WAKE THE HELL UP, LADY. You are being stalked. It doesn't matter that the Crazy Person isn't an ex and hasn't held an actual gun to your head. Go to the police, report it. Write down every instance when she pulls her crazy bullshit. If your husband saved her Crazy e-mail, give it to the police. Duh. You need to get a restraining order, NOT a way to make up for the rumors on Bridge Night.

Geez, you just have to hammer a point in to some people.

4. SHADDAP! SHADDAP! SHADDAP! Again. Repeat as necessary.

Kid, if you don't know what to do about unwanted Facebook contacts, then you are too young to be allowed to use a computer. Now show YOUR Mommy all of the messages, "unfriend" the idiot and shut down your Facebook account.

Gawd, I hope no one ever tries a Bad Touch on you. You'd be doomed.

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Oops. Sorry. I hit post and then forgot to tell everyone that I'm not ignoring any comments you might make, I'm going away for the weekend and the computer is staying home. In fact, I'm hoping to come back on Monday (maybe even Tuesday!) and find a whole bunch of messages explaining to me how I'm full of crap. This is one thing I miss about the Fray. Tonto could ALWAYS be counted on to give me a negative rating.....


  1. Dearest Messy,
    Right on all counts, as usual. I must especially agree with you (and disagree with Prudie) on LW2. If the sister gives her sponge/brother one cent, he will NEVER leave it alone. Giving him any of that money tells him that sis agrees on some level that he deserves it. And if he deserves $1, he surely deserves $10K. Or all of it.

    Hope your weekend away is one of pleasure,

  2. OMG, Messy, high five on LW1! I was thinking the same thing as I read the original letter. This has to be fake - it was taken right from some Lifetime made-for-tv movie featuring the talents of Tori Spelling and Billy Ray Cyrus, or some such nonsense. But you saw deeper into it... it does reek of some sociopath trying a little too hard to say all the right things to manipulate yet another target. I only wish the LW could see your post, if only to take his smug self down a peg.

  3. Three cheers for Messy! Wonderful job. I'm totally going with your sociopath take on LW1 -- I dated a douchebag like that for a while and still get the shudders thinking about what I ended up tolerating from him because he was so subtle and conniving about it. I hope he gets a nice toasty taste of hell, but for now I'll have to settle with the knowledge that he is now an engineering professor in Iowa. It makes me think of the opening to Dogma, when the angels are banished to spend eternity in Wisconsin (and WI kicks IA ass!).

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Good for you Messy, that stinking little twirp who wrote (or didn't!) that ugly letter about trying to make us feel sorry for him for abusing women, got what he deserves!

    And yes, you make a very good point about the sister who got the insurance money. Why did she even tell her brother about it?

  5. I caught something a little....oily about LW #1. Of course, I may have overinterpreted the whole mess, too. It might be a total fake. Still, I know a couple of men who might just think this would work.

    As for #2, I HAVE a sister like the LWs brother. I know for an absolute fact what comes out of those idiots mouths when they need money. I would suggest that the brother has a whopping drug habit, too. Hence the weaseling for money.

  6. Holy shit, Messy! You nailed every single one of these. Hard! And with the accuracy of a laster! Outstanding work! If there was a Pulitzer for kickass bloggery and snark, you'd win hands down for this one (there is no Pulitzer for kickass bloggery, is there? There should be.).

    Anyway, good on ya, Messy. You could take the next three months off and still be ahead of the game after this column! I'm still smiling, thinking about the aloe that's gonna be required for LW#1's ass after your column. ;-)

  7. Hi there Messy! I LOVE your advice for LWs 1, 2 and 4, especially the way you put it for LW2---imagine giving that brother ONE CENT! I mean, the best case scenario is he gets mad and never talks to her again, right?

    But I am still not sure about LW3. I agree she is crazy, and you and Smagster are in agreement that she should not only not wave, but should document this and report it. Huh. As far as damage control goes, how could she NOT correct wrong information about her? My friends would call me and say "What gives?" and I'd answer. I guess you are thinking what she did is call casual friends far and wide to do damage control. I did not read it that way, but of course that would be a stupid waste of time. If she did THAT, the LW has a screw or two loose as well.

    Prudie told the LW what I would have told her. Just wave and ignore it. That would give the LW the ability to have her fantasy that she did nothing wrong, and in my experience, that is all most irrational people are looking for. In this case, it costs the LW as little as the effort to acknowledge a wave. And if that did not end it, I'd take your and Smag's advice then.

  8. Woops, what I meant was: waving would give the CRAZY the ability to fantasize she did nothing wrong, not the LW.

  9. This week's letters were pretty pathetic, but good lord, Messy! You are so full of CRAP!! Great job on filling in the blanks on those obvious phony letters. What's the matter with people that they can't acklowledge that? I know people really are that stupid, but how would our dear, brainless, Prudie and her dear, brainless, staff find so many of them on such a regular basis?

  10. Tonto, I never just assume that all of the letters are fake because there are seemingly gazillions of seriously fucked-up people out there!

    Look at the village idiot child traffickers pretending to be "missionaries" and trying to cross borders with Haitian kids. Did they REALLY think they could get away with that? How stupid do they think the authorities are?

    See what I mean? I suspect that Prudie barely scratches the surface on some of the bizarre letters that people write.

  11. Messy, there's a fine line between the really fucked-up people in the world and some of the preposterous stories in the Prudie letters. The middle two letters are perfectly plausible, like your opportunistic missionaries in Haiti.

    The first letter is not plausible. I leave him to your vivid imagination; a repentant abuser is just not something I can believe in. They don't change. I envision him getting dumped by someone like my daughter and I would really like to see him squirm a while longer before getting dumped again. You saw through his new schtick - way to go!

  12. Tonto, they DON'T change. That's why the cynical take on the whole thing. Some of them are very slick and charming, though, which is why I put the scenario together the way I did.

    It has always been a mystery to me why people are so eager to believe the charm and ignore the fist.

  13. Hi Messy,
    And welcome back! Hope you enjoyed your get-away.
    I love your advice to LW3. In no situation should she give in to the crazy lady's wishes. It only goes to show that she sees her as someone worth responding to. I would hold off on getting the authorities involved to a great extent. Just make a report so it is documented. If crazy lady sees involvement by authorities it may instigate more actions (and more dangerous ones at that).
    I'm more prone to give LW1 advice to seek help. If he is young he may have a chance to turn himself around. I was at a point several years ago where I knew I needed to change things (although I had no idea what I had to change) and have managed (with the help of a therapist) to realize what issues needed to be addressed and learned good ways to deal with them. But pooham is a sucker at heart, always believeing in good in all. (OK, save the speech, pooham does look out for herself and especially her kids).
    LW2 and LW4, couldn't agree with you more!

  14. I just got to this one. Excellent job!

    But what is that thing in the picture?