Surviving the ravings of a mad woman

Melissa Donaghy, now known as Melyssa Hubbard (but also known as “Miss Ann” in the dominatrix world) is very angry at me. I understand why: She is an angry person. She’s angry at anyone who doesn’t do what she wants. The sad thing is that she thinks everyone is supposed to do what she wants. She is very disconnected from reality.

I haven’t exactly been a Saint myself, but Lord knows I am trying. You see, I have very little patience for people who are disconnected from reality. I like to exist in a world of logic, reason, and grounded truth. Some people, like Melissa, live in a world where reality is whatever she “feels” it is. There are no inconvenient truths for these kind of people. Because of this, she throws toddler style temper tantrums on a regular basis because things often don’t go her way. Yes. Temper tantrums. Like a toddler. This is a fifty-year-old woman, mind you. I lived with her for exactly six weeks and I saw her throw more than half a dozen temper tantrums. And there was nothing I could do to predict or stop them.

So, I’ve spoken my mind to her a few times and didn’t mince my words. No, I didn’t called her any names or curse at her. But when pushed, I have broken down and told her what I thought of her, which wasn’t very flattering. It is something I am working on: Handling confrontation from emotionally unstable people and standing up to bullies without “fighting back” or engaging them on their level. Allow me to share a few anecdotes from the past six weeks…

I met Melissa about two months ago at a Ron Paul event that I was helping organize. Melissa took a very strong liking to me and told me that I should come to work at the company she was working. She said she was making over $100,000 per year and I could easily do the same. I did some research and found that this company was actually very impressive, the job was promising, and they did have job openings. So, I applied for the same job that Melissa does and she recommended me to her boss to interview me. A week later, another manager in the company interviewed me, and I was hired and scheduled to start on February 6th.

There was only one problem. This job was in another town several hours away and I had no car, no savings, and knew no one there except, well, Melissa. To make matters worse, in order to have a smoothe transition, I had to quit my current job a few weeks before starting the new one so finances were very strained for me.

Of course, Melissa didn’t hesitate to offer to help me out. She told me I could live with her while I was getting my feet settled. It would be perfect, because she and I worked at the same place and I could carpool with her to work. Then, she told me she was going to charge me rent. Okay, that seemed fair enough – how much? $500 per month. $500 per month to rent a room. And believe me, I was just renting a room from her – I had to leave most of my things in storage back in Chicago because there would have been no place to put them. In this town I was moving to, you could rent a 3-bedroom house for $500 per month. Sure, it wasn’t in the nicest neighborhood or in the best condition, but still – $500 per month was very steep for renting one room out. In fact, from what she has told me, it was more than 1/3 of her mortgage payment on a large four bedroom house in a fairly decent neighborhood. I found a large, two bedroom house in a nice neighborhood for $750 per month with all utilities included. So, yeah, $500 per month for one room – and just one room – was pretty steep.

She didn’t even provide me with enough space in the refrigerator to put my groceries. So, I had to shop and eat light – and store food at my work. All this time, Melissa acted like she was doing me the biggest favor in the world by renting this tiny room out to me for $500 per month. It is true that I wasn’t paying a share of utilities (which she never ran, it was always an ice box in the house), and she would occasionally share a meal with me. This was nice. But it wasn’t as if that was breaking the bank or anything, and it wasn’t as if I wasn’t doing the same for her as well. Well, then the shenanigans started.

In my first two weeks living with her, she proved to be very overbearing and controlling. I wanted to go shopping for groceries; she insisted on driving me. I tried to say no, but she wouldn’t hear it. Of course, I prefer to spend 30 minutes running to and from the Grocery store. Melissa liked to turn these trips into 4 and 6 hour affairs – dragging me to antique malls and taking me on tours of suburban neighborhoods I had absolutely no interest in seeing. When I was in the grocery store, Melissa had an opinion about every single item I wanted to purchase – and everything I didn’t. She literally wanted to tell me exactly what I should and shouldn’t buy. Melissa didn’t see this as overbearing. She saw this as being kind and helpful. Well, Melissa is a little bit nuts, isn’t she?

I can’t complain too much. Melissa did do kindnesses for me that she didn’t ask me to pay her for. While I was apartment shopping, she picked me up a few times and gave me a ride back to her place. She even drove me around for a few hours one Saturday so I could look at a few places. Of course, even that had to turn into drama. Rather than ask me what places I was going to and in what order, Melissa just started making up her own driving route. When I tried to correct her and asked her to drive me to the next appropriate appointment, she pulled the car over and started yelling at me for “changing the plans” on her. What plans? She made up her own plans and I tried to tell her what appointments I had scheduled days in advance and I was changing the plans? Interesting… That was not a very fun day. I decided that day to never run errands or ask Melissa to drive me around for anything ever again. She couldn’t be trusted.

From day one of starting my new job, my boss and other co-workers offered to give me rides to and from work. These were all good guys and they never made me feel guilty or like I owed them anything – they just honestly wanted to help me out and went out of their way to do so. It was great. So, I took rides from them rather than deal with riding with Melissa – something she constantly reminded me was a huge favor for her to do for me (never mind the fact that she was going to and from the exact same places as me).

A few days after the apartment shopping episode, Melissa fell down and broke her wrist. This meant two things. Melissa was going to take temporary disability and not work for a month, and she could not drive her car during this time as well. Melissa told me that since she couldn’t drive I should take her car to and from work. So, I accepted her offer because I didn’t want to prey on the kindness of my co-workers. And I made sure to pay for the gas I was using.

Two days later, Melissa asked me to drive her to work in the morning to fill out HR paperwork. Then, she asked me to drive her and drop her off at home. No big deal. I was happy to do it. Then, a couple of days later, she called me up and asked me to deliver some papers for her. So, I drove back to her place during my lunch hour and retrieved the papers and dropped them off for her. The next day, she called me before lunch and asked me to drive her to the post office on my lunch break. So, again I took off from work, picked up Melissa and drove her to the post office. On the way, she insisted that we take her car to be washed. I asked her if it could just wait until after I got off work, but she threw another fit and insisted that it had to be done right now, and how dare I be ungrateful that she was letting me drive her car. So, I ran all Melissa’s errands for her and two and a half hours later I made it back to work. It wasn’t my most productive day.

My weekends were spent, of course, driving Melissa wherever she wanted to go. I barely had any time to myself. Melissa would, of course, justify my presence on these trips by insisting that I buy things for myself at all the places she was taking me and insisting that she had taken me to Big Lots, Aldi, and Kroger’s all in one day was to help me. Never mind the fact that she was buying things left and right at all the places herself. And never mind the fact that what little extra money I had was going into paying for gas her car now, and it didn’t matter anyway because she didn’t have any room in her fridge for anything I wanted to buy. I almost bought a quart of ice cream, but Melissa insisted that I not buy it because she wouldn’t have room in her freezer after stocking up on several pounds of snow crab legs. Oh, and her refrigerator/freezer is huge. Yet, there wasn’t room for me to put a quart of ice cream in it. I guess renting refrigerator space cost and extra $50 per month or something. My bad.

Before I moved in with Melissa she told me that she was trying to help the Ron Paul Indiana Grassroots volunteers organize. She asked me if I would help out, and I told her I wanted to prioritize my new job, but if I could find time I would help. After I moved in with her, Melissa seemed to think I had made an agreement with her that in exchange for her getting me a job at her company I agreed to help her organize Ron Paul grassroots. First, let me point out – Melissa reminded me numerous times of how she got me a job at her company. How insulting is that – both to me and the manager who hired me? I did two interviews with three people, and I don’t recall her being present in any of them. Oh, sure she advocated on my behalf, but how much of a reference could she have been having only met me once. And don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful that she INFORMED me of this job. But how long is she going to hold this over my head now? Melissa  must seem to think that I didn’t have any merits of my own that got me the job and my boss obviously hired based on some kind of Nepotism, not because they thought I was a fit and qualified candidate.

Anyway, getting back to how Melissa thinks I am obligated to help her organize Ron Paul grassroots. One evening, Melissa announced to me that I have to leave work early the next day to make sure I am present for a conference call she is going to be in. This call has something to do with organizing delegates to get on the ballot in the state of Indiana and according to Melissa, “These girls in charge don’t know what they’re doing and really need your help.” Melissa told me that I had to attend this call. I didn’t have any problem with that, so I agreed to help her out as a favor.

So, the next day I left work early and showed up fifteen minutes before the conference call was supposed to begin. When the conference call was supposed to begin, Melissa had no idea how to dial into the call. Well, I couldn’t help her there. I didn’t know anything about this. I waited around for a few minutes and then told her, “Melissa, when you figure it out, come get me. I am going to make a phone call.”

So, I went downstairs and called a friend. We accidentally proceeded to get into part 2 of an argument we were having earlier that week (oops). Thirty minutes later, Melissa, comes charging downstairs and into the room where I am on the phone and is clearly flustered – opening and slamming drawers, stomping around. I didn’t think much of it: Melissa acted this way at least once or twice a week and for what seemed like no reason. Then, a few minutes later, Melissa came back into the room and interrupted me on the phone by shouting at me for abandoning her while she was on the conference call I promised her I would be there for. Oh, I didn’t know I had “promised” this to her. And I also didn’t know that leaving work early to show up for a call she didn’t know how to connect to was me abandoning her.

That was all news to me. I didn’t even know she had successfully dialed into the call – thirty minutes late. I asked her to wait a minute so I could finish up my conversation with my friend, but she just continued shouting at me so I finally had to basically hang up on my friend and give her my attention. Then, she went into a tirade about how terrible of a person I was for not keeping my promises. I tried to explain to her that I showed up when she asked me to but she told me she had no idea how to dial into the conference call, so rather than wait around for her, I asked her to get me. She wouldn’t listen to anything. So, we listened to the call together instead.

It was a complete waste of my time. Nothing they were talking about seemed to apply to me. There was nothing of interest I could contribute to the conversation, and the girls organizing the conference call were doing a perfectly fine job of running it. It is a little funny, in retrospect, how important Melissa thought it was that I be present for this conference call and that I keep my “promise” to attend it. What a waste of time and energy on both of our parts. I can’t begin to fathom what she was thinking.

Well, at this point I wised up and stopped driving her car too and from work. It was a relief to not be on her beck and call every minute, and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to and getting to know the gentlemen I was getting rides with. I stayed as late as possible at work every day, working 10-12 hours a day, and avoided being around Melissa as much as I could.

When I was around her, it was always one drama or another – one conspiracy theory or another. One day, Melissa is raving about how Andrew Breitbart was apparently assassinated by the CIA with a top-secret heart-attack gun because of a video he was going to release that exposed Obama as a socialist radical. A week later, after the video came out and turned out to be nothing, Melissa is raving about how ridiculous it is that all these people were going around saying Andrew Breitbart was assassinated by the CIA. Ooooookay.

Actually, Melissa found ways to make drama when I wasn’t around her. One late afternoon at work she emailed me that she was going to work late and asked if I wanted a ride back with her. I told her that I didn’t know how late I would be working, but to check back with me when she got off work. At around 6:30 she called my cell phone, but I was in the middle of an important call with a client so I couldn’t answer it. She then proceeded to call my cell phone over and over and over again. She sent me numerous texts, each one getting more frantic.

Finally, I texted her back and told her I was with a client. I thought that would be the end of it, but 30 minutes later she texted me asking how long I would be. I don’t know why she didn’t just leave – or walk in my building and up to my desk. That would have been easy. Instead, she sat in her car – for an hour – waiting on me. Even after I told her to not wait on me, she still waited. Finally, when I did get off my call and was leaving work she was still there. Still waiting for me outside my building. I took the ride home with her and proceeded to get a twenty minute lecture about how terrible of a person I was for making her wait on me. I tried to explain I never asked her for a ride, I told her I wasn’t able to leave when she got off, and I never asked her to wait. But, for some reason she was convinced that because she wanted to wait for me, I had made her do it, and nothing was going to convince her otherwise.

Finally, after weeks of frantic searching, I found a new place to live. Melissa, of course, wanted to weigh in with her opinion, but she actually seemed very excited about this place and the roommates based on their Craigslist ad. She told me it sounded like a perfect and rare situation and I should go for it. As if I needed her approval, but whatever. So, I agreed to move in with these gentlemen in March and that was that. There was only one problem. I didn’t have a vehicle to move my things. I wasn’t going to dare ask Melissa to help me move, and she didn’t offer so that wasn’t an issue. I asked people at my work, but they couldn’t help me. So, I talked to my father back in Chicago and he offered to drive down with more of my things and help me move on the 17th of March.

Meanwhile, I had already agreed to move in with these guys on March 1st, and when I asked them about not paying for the first half of the month, they balked. They told me the needed someone to move in right away because they couldn’t pay the rent on their own and that part of the reason they accepted me to move in and not someone else was because I said I was able to move in right away. Not wanting to get off to a bad start with my future roommates, I chose not to press the issue. I have been in their situation myself before: I had two people not move in after they agreed to which caused me to pass over other roommates and pay the full rent on a three bedroom apartment for an extra six weeks as I scrambled to find replacement roommates. I wasn’t about to do that to someone else.

I also had some unexpected expenses come up the next week to the tune of $200. Now, mind you this new job of mine was a 100% commission job with a minimum draw (money loaned to you against your commission) and commissions weren’t paid until the end of the following month they were earned. So, money for me right now was extremely tight. I was going to be $60 short before my paycheck came in later that week, so I approached Melissa and asked her if I could borrow $60 for one week. Melissa told me that was fine, but I really shouldn’t be moving in with these guys and taking on extra expenses at this time when I couldn’t afford them (never mind that the rent was only $65 per month more than what Melissa was charging me and I was getting an extremely nice apartment where I would actually be able to share the common areas and have room for my things – and it was within walking distance of my work, so I didn’t need rides anymore). This was quite the reversal from Melissa’s exuberant encouragement of me to move in. Then, she proceeded to say she had told me all along that I shouldn’t move in with these guys and that I better make sure I was able to pay her back the $60 I owed her plus $250 for rent for half of the month.

I was stunned to hear this. I asked Melissa if she was going to pro-rate my rent and she said yes. So, I told her that a pro-rated amount couldn’t possibly come to $250. Then Melissa laid into me with her most vicious and out of control temper tantrum yet. She shouted at me, called me ungrateful, and a cheat. I tried multiple times to excuse myself so that she could cool down which only lead to more shouting and demands that I come back in the room or she was going to kick me out of her house that very night. These attempts to disengage from the mad woman and the threats of being kicked out went back and forth multiple times.

She was basing the threats of kicking me out on her belief that I had acted “abusively” and “disrespectfully” to dare disagree with her on the validity of her pro-rated rent amount and that I was trying to cheat her out of $250. Finally, I was able to explain to her that I had every intention of paying her for any rent I owed her, I just wanted to clarify that we were pro-rating the rent – I wasn’t trying to tell her I wasn’t paying for March (it turned out this seemed to be what she thought I was threatening her for).

During this entire tirade, she brought up every tiny “favor” she had done for me (she still considered renting her room to me at $500 per month as a favor) and how I was so ungrateful and a snake for taking advantage of her. There was no reasoning with this woman. She talks about how she let me borrow her car, and I explained to her that driving her car was more of a burden to me than a favor because it didn’t provide a needed ride to work and it came with the obligation to drop whatever I was doing and chauffeur her around on her every whim. It didn’t matter. Everything I tried to say to defend myself against her attacks against me were twisted through the warped reality of her mind’s eye and turned into another attack against me for, get this, attacking her.

She said to me at one point, “Yes, of course I asked you to run some errands for me when you were driving my car. That’s what friends do for each other. They help each other out. And they don’t try to make them feel guilty for it. How dare you try to make me feel guilty!”

I had to laugh. She was describing herself, not me! I must admit that at one point I did raise my voice to her. She was pacing back and forth shouting at me and I was trying to excuse myself from the room once again. She demanded that I stay and talk to her, so I said that if I was she was going to need to lower voice and speak to me in a calm tone. She proceeded to, excitedly shout to me that she was not shouting and how it was the most insulting thing in the world to tell someone to be calm. So, I raised my voice to the same basic volume level and shouted back to her, “This is what you sound like. This is how loud your are shouting. Can’t you hear yourself???” This was the only time I ever raised my voice to her. I also believe that was the only thing I ever said to her that sunk in. She lowered her voice after that.

Well, after that nightmare, Melissa agreed to loan me the $60 I had originally asked for. I told her it was no problem, I was just going to ask my dad for it, but again, classic Melissa, she insisted that I take it from her. So, I accepted the loan.

The next day, I went to her desk and picked up the money and again, Melissa insisted that I take her car to run to the bank to deposit it. I really didn’t want to do this, the bank was a 20 minute walk away, but not wanting to argue with her about anything and risk causing a scene at work, I agreed to take her car. When I returned, the parking spot where her car originally was had a car in it, so I drove around for a while looking for parking in one of the many parking lots at my work but couldn’t find one. So, I parked the car on the street directly across from the lot where she originally parked her car.

I returned Melissa’s keys and told her where I parked the car. At six-thirty that evening, my coworker who gives me a ride home was in a hurry that day, so he asked me to leave early with him. About fifteen minutes after we left – five minutes before arriving at Melissa’s house – Melissa called me in a panic. Mind you, Melissa never stayed at work past 5:30 in my experience already, so I was a little surprised that she was still at work anyway. She told me her car wasn’t where I said I had parked it and the accused me of “getting her towed” or leaving it unlocked and “getting her car stolen.”

I assured her this was highly unlikely and asked her if she looked where I said the car was. I again, explained exactly where the car was – parked on the street directly across from the parking lot where I picked it up. I even told her, it is near the intersection of Street X and Street A. If you don’t see it, keep walking until you get to that intersection and I promise you will pass it on your way. She told me she was having a panic attack and that it was gone and I had to come back to help her right away. So, I asked my friend to drive me back and told her I was on my way.

“How long is it going to take you to get here?” she asked me in an extremely angry and expectant voice.

“Fifteen minutes, I was almost home,” I told her.

“FIFTEEN MINUTES? OH MY GOD, DON’T MAKE ME WAIT! HURRY UP!” she screamed back to me. She actually went into a long rant about how rude I was to make her wait (as if I could transport myself through space and time when I wanted to). It was… entertaining. Finally I got off the phone with her and was on my way. My friend was visibly frustrated that he had to drive back to work, but I told him I would get a ride home with her when we found her car (I had no doubt I would find it).

Then, as we were three blocks away from work, Melissa called me back and announced she had found her car. She had found it exactly where I said it was the whole time. You see, the street I parked it on was shaped somewhat like a hill in the middle. Melissa was on one end and her car was on the other – and there was a bump of road in the middle. Melissa couldn’t see over the hill – all she saw was no cars on the street – and she didn’t bother to walk a few feet up the road where she would have had a perfect vantage point to see her car.

At this point, I congratulated her for finding her car, and asked her if I could get a ride back with her since I was almost back at work.

“How long is that going to take you? You’re not going to make me wait another fifteen minutes, are you?” she said with a very frustrated tone.

“No Melissa, I’m almost at work, I’ll be there in less than one minute.”

“WELL HURRY UP!” she shouted back at me.

At this point, I had half a mind to just walk the six miles back to her house. I decided against that – I had done that a few nights prior and had to walk through the ghetto between her house and work. I arrived at the scene of a murder just a few minutes after it had happened (the police had just arrived) and just a few minutes before a mini-riot broke out in the streets where the murder had taken place (more than thirty police cruisers showed up to break up the fighting).

On the drive back, Melissa told me how awful it was for me to park her car where I did knowing that she wouldn’t be able to see it because she had never in her life parked her car where I had (Melissa has worked at this company for six years, mind you). She then told me about how she had walked up and down every street (except the one I told her I had parked her car) and through every parking lot at our work place and how she had even walked to a nearby towing company to find her car and how exhausted she was and about to despair. I just chuckled to myself about how completely emotionally unstable and insane this woman was and how glad I was going to be moving out of her house in a few days.

Well, the weekend came and went and I successfully removed myself from the drama house. All I had to do now was pay Melissa her final rent check. Having managed apartments before, I applied the standard prorating formula. I had moved in on February 5th, so my first $500 rent check applied through March 4th. I moved out on March 17th, 13 days later. I divided 13 into 31 days for March. I multiplied that by $500 and came up with $209.67 . So, I wrote Melissa a check for $260 and put the only $10 cash I had on me with it (she loaned me the $60 in cash, and I wanted to at least help replenish her cash funds).

I left the money for her at work and didn’t think a thing of it. Then she sent me the following email:

HI Zachariah,

The rent was $50 short.  It was $250 for the month + $60 for the loan, which is what I told you advance.

I’m not sure where you came up with $210.  This is EXACTLY why I wanted to clarify everything all again when we got into that argument and why I constantly clarify matters of money with people because this sort of thing tends to happen a lot.

I’m actually a little hurt that you would overpay these guys for the whole month of march, yet underpay me when i’ve done so much to help you.

To this I responded.

I am sorry that this came unexpectedly or as a slight to you. It certainly was not meant to be either. I have not cheated or shorted you, and if you will read on, I will explain how you have been paid the fair, agreed upon amount.

We agreed on $500 per month, and you said I would be paying a pro-rated rent for the portion of March that I stayed with you, right?

I moved in on February 5th, so my rent cycle began on the 5th. I paid you $500 for Feb 5th through March 4rd. Then, I stayed with you for 13 days in March (March 5th -17th) and prorated that against the 31 days of March which came out to $209.67. Add the $60 I borrowed from you, and that totals $269.67. I wrote you a check for $260 and gave you $10 cash – I rounded it up to $270.

If I was trying to cheat you, I could have prorated the rent against 365 days and $6000 per year (12 months x $500 per month): For the 42 days I stayed with you that would equal $690.47. Take out the $500 I paid you last month and that would mean I only owed you $190.41 instead of $209.67.

So you haven’t been underpaid – if anything you’ve been overpaid. You made $710 for 42 days of tenancy – that’s almost $20 more than $690.47 and a higher rate of return than if I had stayed with you for a full year. You came out ahead!

I assume that you are coming up with this $250 number because you are rounding 13 days up to 14 and charging me $125 per week, correct? $125×52 weeks would be $6500 per year. Divide that by 12 and you get $541.66 per month which is certainly not what we agreed on. But, if you want to charge me $250 rent for 13 days of tenancy, that would be the same as charging me $7019.23 per year or $584.93 per month which is certainly more than the $500/month we agreed upon. That would be 17% more than what we agreed upon. That’s a significant rate hike. In a year, that would add up to more than 2 months of bonus rent for you. That wouldn’t be fair, would it?

Please don’t be hurt, Melissa. I haven’t attempted to screw you out of something you deserve or profit off of staying with you. What I paid you was exactly correct and fair based on our agreement of $500/month rent. I was an apartment manager before and handled all our rental contracts. When tenants moved in or out in the middle of the month, they always had pro-rated clauses that worked the exact same way I paid you. Isn’t it fair that we use the same standards?

Here was her next response:

I told you rent could be prorated for March, not February.

I told you I would only charge $250 for March (which is actually a little less than 1/2 the $500 amount).

However, you were not listening.  I told you this once before the night we got into the argument and again on the night I agreed to lend you $60.

I wish I had put everything in writing.  I should have.   I did, however, specifically say how much I would charge in February (which you paid) and how much in March.

You chose to make the payments what you wanted.

Again I replied:

I lived in your house for 42 days. $750 for 42 days comes out to $6517.85 per year or $543.15 per month. We agreed on $500 per month. I paid you what we agreed.

Actually, I paid you $710 for 42 days or $16.90 per day. Multiply that by 365 days and that is $6170.23 per year or $514.18 per month. So, I actually paid you more than we agreed. So, you don’t really have anything to complain about, do you?

If you had written down that I had to pay rent for days I was not residing in your place, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t not have agreed to it. I don’t think you would agree to terms like that either if someone presented them to you.

The interesting thing is that you don’t regularly rent out your rooms. So, it isn’t as if I displaced a paying customer. It did not cost you $710 for me to live with you – no matter what additional amenities you throw in, that couldn’t possibly add up to $710. So you have already made a profit off of me. At this point, asking for more money – for days I didn’t even live with you – just seems greedy. That doesn’t seem like you at all, Melissa.

And her final response:

Whatever, I told you I wanted $250 for March (approx 1/2 the month) and $500 for February.

You obviously are going to do whatever you please.

Do not ever ask me for a loan or help with anything again.

I guess you are going to do whatever you want.  It’s not worth the stress for me to argue with you over what I told you I wanted for the month of February and for the month of March.



Finally,  I had enough and I made a mistake. I let my temper get the better of me and I told her exactly how I felt. I pointed out that even her own math was incorrect (by her own calculations I had shorted her $40, but she was still demanding $50), and that she was being petty and greedy. I told her I was under no obligation to do whatever she demanded of me whenever she felt like changing her mind, and that she was basically trying to extort money from me. I ended by asking her to leave me alone and stop contacting me because her behavior and demands were making me feel extremely unsafe.

I guess the question is now, what do I do next? This woman has demonstrated that she is emotionally unstable and incapable of logic and reason. She is prone to freak-outs, so called “panic attacks” and throwing toddler-style temper tantrums with all the violent stomping and slamming of doors and drawers.

Should I cave and give this woman the extra $40 or $50 she is demanding of me just for my own safety, or should I stand on principle and tell her to take a hike and leave me alone? I mean, I have already put up with all sorts of shenanigans from her up to this point, what it to say that $50 is going to make her shut-up and leave me alone? She has a talent for inventing problems out of thin air, and she apparently doesn’t treat anyone else I know like this. So, rather than buy safety, I might just be feeding a monster and encouraging her to continue acting out like this against me. I don’t know.

And by the way, believe it or not she just celebrated her 50th birthday and makes over $100,000 per year.

So what would you do if you were in my shoes?

UPDATE (3/23): In the past 24 hours, Melissa has emailed me four more times, but there is an interesting twist.

First, she sends me an email which says:

We are beyond done. Good luck with your future, for with your ethic, you shall surely need it.

Then, she followed that up with:

I explained clearly in February that February rent was $500
I also explained 1/2 of March was $250 and that I wouldn’t charge you for all of March. This was said in my living room directly to you in person. 

“No good deed goes unpunished.” You are why that phrase exists.

Here is the twist. Now she is emailing me to explain that she has donated all the rent money I have paid her to charity and that has been her plan all along (interesting she never mentioned this to me). I again repeated my request to her to stop contacting me (this is the third time now). So, now, instead of her contacting me, she has her friend in Africa whom she has apparently donated this money to contacting me.

Doesn’t that beat all? I believe that this goes to show that really isn’t about money or charity at all. It is about Melissa being in control. She is a control freak, and she can’t live in a world where people don’t act according to her wishes.

So, I have made up my mind. I am not going to submit to her. Period. She says she is trying to extort money from me on principle, well I’m not going to pay it to her on principle: The principle of not feeding an addict with they drug they need: Control and manipulation of others.

Here was my final response to her. I say final, because I am done engaging her. Any further contact from her and I will ignore, or if appropriate, refer the matter to professionals:

You have now violated my requests to not be contacted by you four times by sending me four more emails. How many times are you going to choose to not respect my wishes? The law protects me from unwanted harassment – regardless of how much money you think I owe you. Did you know that what you are doing is illegal?

And basically you are trying to tell me that you are harassing me for $40 so you can give it to a charity? Do your realize how foolish that sounds?

I am not an opportunist. You are. I don’t care what you want to do with the money. You took advantage of me. It wasn’t until after I moved to {this city} that I found out I could be staying in a hotel or rent a 1-bedroom house for less than you were charging me to rent a room. Everyone whom I have told I was paying $500 per month to rent a room from you (furnished or no) thought that was outrageous. I only paid $250/month at my apartment in downtown Chicago – where the cost of living is much higher and I was in a very nice neighborhood. Melissa, I was essentially paying 1/3 of your mortgage, that doesn’t strike you as a bit odd?

Add in the fact that I constantly helped you around the house like a personal servant, washed your dishes, drove you around, hauled your firewood, cleaning off your porch for you, etc. and it becomes pretty obvious that you were simply taking advantage of me and my situation. And you couldn’t even find room in your over-sized freezer for me to buy a quart of ice cream, huh? Wow, I was getting such a great deal, living with you. Lucky me.

You took advantage of me. You knew I had little time to plan and research, so you offered this “benevolent sounding deal” and took advantage of my hurried situation and my ignorance about the cost of living in {this city} in order to get me to agree to an outrageously high price for rent. And then, after I moved in, you didn’t allow me basic allowances like adequate room in the refrigerator to put my own food. And to top things off you constantly pressured me into doing free housework for you. I don’t care how much you swindle your other marks for on rent and that I got swindled for less. You still swindled me and took advantage of me like the opportunist you are.

I moved to {this city} for one purpose and one purpose only: To work at {this company}. I didn’t move here to get an amazing deal on rent, because I didn’t. I didn’t move here to cheat you out of a couple bucks, which you seem to act as if I was plotting all along. If I had wanted to cheat you, I could have paid you nothing when I moved out. And you wouldn’t have been able to prove otherwise. But, I did pay you something. I paid you a fair amount. You just don’t think it is fair for me to only pay rent for the time I lived with you. You want more. Look, I paid you more in rent than I was paying in Chicago and I received much less. I still feel like I got ripped off. But that didn’t stop me from honoring our agreement. I was just not going to pay you any more than was fair.

Regardless of how I felt, $500 per month is what I agreed to. To me, a month us a full month. And I don’t think that is an unreasonable position. In fact, it is the standard practice in the real estate market. In spite of the fact that I believe you have massively over-charged me for rent and taken advantage of my time and my labor for free since day one of my moving, I am still paying you what we agreed without squabble. Am I arguing over the rate? No. I’m arguing over paying for days I didn’t live with you. All I am doing is not paying you for days I didn’t live with you. Is that really such a terrible thing?

Yet, your opportunism and taking advantage of people knows no bounds. It still isn’t enough that I have paid you more than a fair amount of rent. Now, you are harassing me to no end to give you money that, by your own claims, you want to give to charity. And when I ask you to stop, you do not. You continue to harass in violation of the law. You have no respect for the law, do you? It makes sense – you have no respect for logic, reason, and fair business dealings either.

This isn’t how a charitable and good person acts. This is how a selfish opportunist acts. You can tell me all the stories in the world about how charitable you are, but your harassment of me over $50 cancels out all of them. My first-hand experiences with you over the past six weeks paint a different picture: You are a selfish, self-absorbed, petty person. Random acts of kindness don’t make up for your daily routine. I don’t care how much money you have burried in your backyard or how much you donate to charity. All I know is that you are harassing me for $50 for rent for days I didn’t live with you. Please stop it.

And the worst part is, that when I speak of defending myself against your inappropriate behavior, you threaten to get me fired from my job?? So you’re an opportunist, an extortionist, and a blackmailer. And what is my crime? Not wanting to pay you more money than what we agreed on? Disagreeing with you on the terms of our rent (you say I was supposed to pay full price for partial months, I say that is not right and won’t do it)? Look in the mirror, Melissa.

For the last time: Drop it. Don’t contact me for any reason. Don’t call me. Don’t email me. Don’t text me. I don’t want to have anything to do with you. I don’t want to hear about why you think I owe you money and I don’t want to hear your stories about what you are doing with it. I don’t care. All I want is for you to leave me in peace. Go find your own peace, Melissa, and please let me have mine. In the worst case scenario, I went through an elaborate six week scam to cheat you out of $40 (which, of course, I didn’t). Get over it. It isn’t right or worth harassing me over. If you want to pursue a legal route against me, then by all means, do. But even if I did owe you $40 dollars, you do not have the right to harass me. Even collection agencies are prohibited by federal and state laws from doing what you’re doing. So stop it. Now.