Update for #1208: “Question about Mom-friends being Too….’Mothering.'”

Once upon a time, a kind reader wrote in for advice about her friend, “Mary.” Mary just cared about the Letter Writer SO MUCH, you see, that she felt entitled to advise her on any and all of life’s challenges, kiss her on the top of the head, take over in the kitchen, recount a complete record of the LW’s mistakes, and rewrite any of the Letter Writer’s feelings according to what Mary was working on in therapy that week.

What We Do In The Shadows hadn’t introduced me to Colin Robinson, Energy Vampire yet, but I recognized the vibe, writing this at the time:

“The clutching and kissing especially feels like the kind of vampire shit that led my Yia-Yia to carry raw garlic in her bra and festoon it around all the windowsills in case something followed her from the old country so it could drain her life force. Mary doesn’t suck your blood but she does suck your agency, joy, attention, autonomy, trust in your right to set boundaries, or ability to express any authentic emotion in her presence without her feeding on it somehow.”

In the discussion thread, the Letter Writer gave us several updates that took the situation from “Yikes” to “What you are describing is a hostage situation, actually,” and then emailed me privately at some point to say that “Move Out, Mary!” plans got derailed when she broke her leg and Mary volunteered to stick around take care of her. (Threat level: True Crime Podcast.)

That reader has fortunately written back with new update, with permission to share it with readers. Good news: She is healed up and Mary-free at last. Bad news: Our collective worries about Mary escalating from cloying, to scary, to extremely hostile were more than founded. Here’s lovely LW #1208 in her own words:

“Hi Cap,

I wanted to offer an update on the whole Mary saga at long last. Obviously, things really didn’t go according to plan but, at long last, my house is Mary free!

I said it before, but I want to say it again: I am so grateful for the help and advice offered by your blog and the readers. Thank you so very much.

The long and short of it is, I ended up having to enact the safety plans I had made on you and your readers advice. After I was finally recovered from my fall and broken leg, I finally, *finally* convinced her to move out again. I really, really didn’t want to have to take her to court so it was a lot of catering to Mary’s hysterics and gray rocking her until she finally gave up. I would set a date for her to get out and then another crisis would happen and she would go crying to our social group about how horrible it was that I was kicking her out when [her great, great, grand-uncle twice removed died] / [she started maybe looking at applications for going back to school] / [whatever else] and I kept rolling over and letting her stay another month, and then another, and then…Well, it took far longer than it should have, but she was going to move out at the end of March. We had packed up her things.

Then, the pandemic hit. And Mary decided to go up to the epicenter (at the time) of the pandemic for a “”vacation”” that apparently involved a whole lot of really risky behavior during a global pandemic. While she was gone, our state imposed a moratorium on all eviction actions, and she decided that meant she did not have to leave after all.

I had to get out of my own house for my safety at that point. Luckily, I had a plan already in place, so it was done in the course of an afternoon and Mary came back to a clean, empty house. I told her she needed to follow through on her move out plans and she agreed, but said that the pandemic meant she couldn’t move out just yet…

Six months later, she, at last, moved out. After living without Mary, it was like a breath of fresh air and I relished my Mary-less life, even if I was living on a pull-out mattress. Then, I went over to my house to move back in and found out that Mary had completely trashed it.

Over the course of six months, she had managed to destroy every single piece of carpet, scuff, and scratch, and dent the walls, and there were piles and piles and piles of trash, rotting food, and animal feces (yes, really!) on nearly every surface. She tried to blame me for it, saying the house was a mess when I left it (it wasn’t) and tried to gaslight me and everyone else involved—but it didn’t work this time, since there were more witnesses than she could gaslight.

I’ve joked that it turns out when I used to feel as if I was the only person doing any cleaning in the house, I was correct. It took a month of going over almost every day and cleaning just to make the house *livable* again. She did nearly $10,000 worth of damage to my property, and that is with a considerable amount of DIY repair. It was genuinely horrifying, I think Mary is very sick.

But, finally, I am back in my own home again. Roommate-free and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve finally stopped flinching every time I do something that used to set off Mary’s hysterics. Mary has been blocked on every platform she could reach out to me on, my locks have been changed, and I’m fortunate enough to have a strong group of friends who have pushed back on any of Mary’s attempts to get around those blocks. Once I told my social group a little bit more about what had been going on and they suddenly realized all the lies that Mary had been feeding them, they were all horrified. I was scared to tell a lot of them, but I had enough evidence that Mary’s lies crumbled so quickly.

I’ve been in therapy to deal with both my own issues and with the residual trauma of living with Mary. You and your readers were so correct about how dangerous Mary was, and I am so, so glad that you were able to help me see that.

I felt it was time to write an update. I know it’s been a long time, and it probably took far too long to get here, but I am so glad I am here at last. It feels really good.

Thank you so much again!

Letter Writer, ERMAGERD!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU for the update, I am so relieved that you are okay and were able to reclaim your house and life and cooking and facial expressions and emotions at last!!!!!!!!!!! Exclamation Points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I always, always, want to be overreacting whenever I offer a “Make a safety plan and GTFO” recommendation to a given Letter Writer, but there are certain lines that, once they are crossed, create a situation where no matter how much you care about the other person and want to hope for the best, you are just not playing on the same team anymore and survival means both re-assessing everything you think you know about them and planning for the worst.

It’s the same reason it’s good idea to quietly consult a lawyer when you’re contemplating divorce even if you think the person you’re leaving will be fair and reasonable. The possibility for things to become adversarial is baked into the act of dissolving a legal and financial relationship (evicting someone, in this case), and the potential for damage is so great, that having someone on hand who isn’t emotionally entangled to run the “They probably won’t do that, but if they did, here’s how you can take care of yourself” scenarios is a strong protection.

When someone punishes you for saying no to them, and for having your own needs and feelings the way Mary did here, I don’t think there’s a way back from that that’s possible from inside the friendship (or family relationship, or romantic relationship). Someone like Mary may eventually get the right sort of help, come to terms with the horrible things she did, and figure out how to not be so toxic in the future, but when you’re enmeshed with a Mary, when you’re the target of a Mary, when you live with a Mary and see her every day, you can neither make that happen nor afford to wait out the possibility that she won’t ever fix her heart. Your best chance for stopping the harm she’s doing is to disengage completely and remove her access to harm you. I hate that you had to move out of your house, Letter Writer, and temporarily abandon it to this vengeful, punishing person, but I’m so proud of you for trusting your gut and putting your safety first. Destroying someone’s possessions is an escalation of violence and often a prelude to destroying the person. Going was absolutely the right thing.

Comments are open for encouragement and love for the LW, more cautionary tales, updates from other letters, what have you. Let’s process this one together. ❤

P.S. Edited To Add: I’ve seen several comments (and Twitter replies) suggesting that the Letter Writer could take legal action against Mary to recoup the costs of the damage to her home. 

I see why! It’s incredibly unfair that the LW should have to pay so much money to restore her home, depending on what jurisdiction everyone lives in, Mary may indeed be liable for said costs.   

However, and this is straight from The Gift of Fear (usual caveats re: DV chapter & victim-blaming apply), suing somebody who refused to leave you alone, after you’ve successfully gotten rid of them, invites them right back into your life. I am not a lawyer, so this is not a legal definition but a qualitative one, but a lawsuit basically says: “You harmed me in _____ ways and therefore owe me _____ money. I am going to take you to court to prove it, and either the court will make you pay the money you owe me (a judgment), or you will decide that it’s such a nuisance to deal with the suit that you’ll agree pay me all or some of it to make the problem go away (a settlement).” 

I did not get the sense that Mary has $10,000 lying around, so even if the LW sued and got a judgment in her favor, it would (legitimately) take Mary a while to pay the money back and probably require multiple rounds of collections/enforcement/court orders to get any of it from her. 

Meanwhile, Mary, a person who has shown she will do absolutely anything to get the Letter Writer’s attention, gets invited back into the Letter Writer’s life in a way that stokes her sense of persecution and grievance. Mary is a dangerous person who will destroy a person’s living space to punish them for not giving her the attention she wants, what do you think she’s capable if she thinks actually has an axe to grind and a guaranteed way to access the Letter Writer’s time, money, and attention with drawn-out legal proceedings? 

It is completely unfair, but $10,000 in this case was probably the cost of getting Mary out of her house and her life. Once you disengage from someone who is so dangerous and so fixated on controlling you, inviting them back in as a clearly designated adversary can only get more expensive from here. 

That said, if anyone wants to give me, The Good Shepherd, and Commander Logic millions of dollars to set up The Small Quiet Room Foundation, a no-questions-asked emergency housing and living expenses fund for people fleeing abusive homes, I’m incredibly open to that idea. Fully half my inbox could be solved if everybody in the conflict had someplace else they could go. ❤

68 thoughts on “Update for #1208: “Question about Mom-friends being Too….’Mothering.'”

  1. I am so, so proud of you and excited for you, LW. I am on year 3 of treasuring my solo living and I wish you all the boundless joy it has brought me.

    1. THIS. I just rewatched Misery this past weekend, right before the update was posted. When I read the part about the LW breaking her leg I immediately thought…are we so sure it was 100% an accident that Mary had nothing to do with? Rereading the LW’s updates on the original post, I also wonder whether the “bad situation” Mary told her about, that prompted the kind LW to let Mary move in, was actually as Mary represented it. Lovely LW, I’m standing and clapping for you getting this scary person out of your life and home! Wishing you many years of living in a peaceful home environment surrounded only by kind people.

  2. Oh, LW, so much love! I’m glad you did what you did, I’m sorry it was so horrific (holy crap… literally), and I don’t know if an internet stranger being hella proud of you means anything but I am and you deserve it.

    I’m still adjusting from my own roommate from hell, even though it’s been almost a year. Nowhere near as bad, though it did involve safety issues (leaving the back door unlocked overnight even after the time someone crashed into the back fence and got chased by police through our yard), compounded by the thing where I’m disabled and can’t get out of bed by myself so need to trust the roommate, and not actually doing the tasks I have a roommate for (it’s free rent in exchange for presence overnight in case of emergency, and not only did she keep staying out at all hours, the one time I had an emergency she didn’t respond and I had to call my mom), and she took a bunch of my stuff when she left. Not as scary but still hell-ish, and I’m still processing all the mental shit.

    So. Yeah. Love and Jedi hugs to anyone dealing with RFHs.

  3. I’m so sorry that your house was trashed. Terrible situation but understand why you wouldn’t want to go through the court process to get money out of her to reimburse repairs. But happy Mary is gone and your friends are in your corner.

  4. Oh my God, LW, I’m so happy you’re out of there! (There = the space that Mary occupied in your life) Congratulations!! I’m very relieved that you managed to escape. I’m very sorry about your house, but I feel it was the lesser evil and I’m glad it is now yours and Mary-free once again.

    I have a horror story of my own, for commiseration and encouragement to y’all that leaving is OK and sometimes the best option out of a handful of horrible ones:

    [!! CW: unmedicated mental disorders, non-graphic mentions of committing someone to a mental hospital against their will, brief description of persecutory delusions and paranoia, mention of emotional parent-child abuse, non-violent dealings with police. Nothing too scary and there’s a happy ending, but please skip this comment if you need to.]

    So my mom is severely mentally ill, with something similar to unmedicated paranoid schizophrenia. she is unable to understand that she’s ill, actively refuses treatment, and it got to the point where she’s a danger to herself and others. We did have to commit her against her will but, as it often happens, that didn’t work out.

    How does this tie in with needing to leave a bad situation? Well, my mom’s persecutory delusions centered around me. You see, I had been getting more independent and assertive (by going to therapy in secret) and she didn’t like that she couldn’t control how I acted or felt anymore, by yelling at me or threatening me, and she started to think that a cult must have recruited me and been controlling me, since she was no longer able to do so, in order to hurt her.

    So, a couple months before I was able to convince my family that shit had hit the fan and unwilling commitment was necessary, I got a call from the police. They were looking for my mom, but when I told them she wasn’t home, the inspector decided to talk to me instead. Turns out my mother had falsely reported me to the police as an Islamic terrorist, because she wanted the police to follow me around and control me / catch this elusive cult I must be a victim of.

    Reader, I’m very lucky I’m white. So fucking lucky.

    The cops didn’t really believe her, fortunately (see: white privilege), but I still had to get my brother, who lived with us, to testify that I was indeed not an Islamic terrorist, to get that report stricken from my record. When I confronted my mom about it that evening, she a) didn’t get why I was angry; b) got angry with me for talking to the police; c) tearfully explained that she did it to protect me; and D) SHE TOLD ME WITH WORDS OUT OF HER OWN MOUTH SHE WOULD DO IT AGAIN IF GIVEN THE CHANCE.

    In that moment I remembered Captain Awkward’s advice (“when someone tells you who they are, believe them). I knew I had to get out. I had no job, not much money, no other place to stay.

    I didn’t give a fuck. I called my dad, asked him if I could stay at his unused weekend home for some time, packed a bag, and was out of there the following morning.

    That was 3 years ago. It still took another 6 months to convince my family my mom needed help. It still took my brother 1 year and a half to get out. Most of my things, and many beloved keepsakes, books, and mementos, as well as expensive furniture, are still at my mom’s house. I’m still at my dad’s weekend home, where I have less independence and am further away from my friends, partner, brother, and industry than I’d like.

    It was still worth it. It is still worth it. My brother is out, I have room to breathe and heal, I’m getting my feet back under me, and soon I’ll be able to “sit the bar” for teachers (it’s how you become a public high-school teacher in my country) and finally do the job I love, teaching and helping kids as much as I can.

    So.

    Even if it’s difficult, even if it’s a bad option among a sea of worse options, even if it derails your life for years: you can leave. Never doubt that you can leave. The Captain has a post from some years ago about being able to have your own room someday, where no one yells at you or treats you badly. It’s so true, go read it, reread it as often as you need to, and never forget that you can leave, and it may be difficult, but it will always, always, be worth it.

      1. I can totally feel it, you give the best word-hugs ♡
        Thank you so much for writing, for posting, for keeping up the blog, for being so kind and fighting for others, and for everything you do, Jennifer. You have helped and changed the lives of so many people for the better, and mine personally. Thank you

    1. This is a wonderful example of self-trust and self-care, and I’m so very happy for you. ❤ That said, I am definitely not trying to nitpick (and I'm sure it was just an oversight on the Captain's part not to do this herself), but that advice is actually from Maya Angelou. The full quote goes, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." The good Captain has promulgated it muchly, which is a service, because it is very good advice. 🙂

    2. Wow, B, that sounds nightmarishly difficult! I’m so impressed with you getting out and persevering even though it’s difficult to be so far away from so much of your support network! You’ve done an incredible amount of work!

    3. B., all the hugs, validation, and kittens (or fluffy lovable beings of your choice), to you from a fellow survivor of a parent’s paranoia who was a bit farther from the blast radius but whose first microscope and unabridged dictionary et alia also went forfeit. (I am eternally grateful for the college chaplain and counselors who listened to me and the cousins who took me in when I didn’t go back to ground zero from school.) I am SO sorry that you had to endure being not only an unheard truth-teller but counterfactually accused, falsely policed, and uncomprehended in your rightful anger. May you have all the enlightened witnesses and inviolate boundaries you need as you heal. The works of Alice Miller helped me a lot.

  5. LW, so glad that you are Mary-free and that your friends are putting up a strong Team You wall between yourself and this horrible, toxic person.

    You may already know this, but as you are a nice person who wants to think the best of people: Mary’s destruction of your house was not through inattention or carelessness in cleaning up after herself, or through mental health issues that made it difficult for her to clean up or maintain the house in a normal way. It was deliberate, malicious, and done to punish you for not caving in yet again and giving her what she wanted.

    Mary was never your friend. She was a selfish, awful person who disguised herself as a friend to use you and your social circle for her own needs. You are SO MUCH better off having kicked her to the curb.

    1. Yes, this. The beauty of this clusterfuck is, LW, you have proven stronger and more resilient than Mary. She has tried her worst, and you have survived it, because you are strong, and you are mighty.

    2. I get the vibes that Mary stayed until there was no more damage (short of burning the place down) that she could inflict on it.

      She sounds *scary*, and I am so, so glad that the LW is finally back in their own home with no Mary in sight.

  6. I’ve thought about you so much LW, since your original post. I’m so glad you’re out and free, and so sorry about the appalling condition of your house post mary. Stay strong!

  7. My god I was waiting for an update on this one cos I was genuinely worried about you and the trauma of not only dealing with but surviving after her presence. I send all the love and joy in the world that you deserve, I am so happy this story ends with your freedom, hit me up in this comments section if you need knee strengthening exercises post break ❤

  8. Holy shit, LW. I’m glad you’re out and safe. I wish you had redress for Mary’s destruction, but I can see why you wouldn’t want to draw out the contact with a lawsuit.

  9. LW I am so, so glad you are free from her at last. It must have been devastating to get home and see what she had done to the place and you must have been reeling with horror. But you did it! Jedi hugs, huge relief, and congratulations.

    And thank goodness you had evidence of her lies and manipulation, and she didn’t manage to detonate your friend group as well on the way out.

  10. I’m happy for you that you’re free of her and that your friends have come together to support you. Now you can enjoy the type of friendships that you deserve, free from manipulation and destruction. I hope the rest of your life relationships will always be the types that make you feel better, not worse, overall.

  11. Made a new account to express how proud I am of you, LW. I remember reading your story with horror and, whilst the trashing of your house is awful, I’m glad you’re Mary-free. Kudos to your friends for seeing through Mary’s attempts to get back at/to you. Keep living the good life. ❤

  12. Letter Writer, I’m so happy for you that you’re finally away from Mary. Though very sorry for the long, harrowing, and expensive road to get there. Whoa! This is a huge update. Thank you so much for sharing what all has been happening, LW. Happy Mary-free living!

  13. I’m so glad you got Mary out. You could look into if you have any legal recourse for the damage done to your house, maybe get some money from Mary. I understand if you don’t have the spoons for it or decide its not worth the risk, but wanted to point it out.

    1. There’s probably no doubt that Mary owes the Letter Writer money, but I strongly suggest NOT suing her for it. Here is my reasoning:

      The Letter Writer wants Mary to go away forever.
      Mary wants to stay connected to the LW by any means necessary.
      It is unlikely that Mary has this money available, and the implied threat of a lawsuit – “I’ll make your life so difficult and expensive that you might be willing to pay me to make it go away (with a settlement)” won’t work on Mary. All attention from the LW is good attention, where Mary is concerned, and a lawsuit will allow her to nurse her sense of persecution.

      It is unfair that Mary should get to do this much damage and get away with it, but this is straight from The Gift of Fear: Suing someone that you want to get out of your life immediately re-engages their focus on you. Every contact, from serving papers, to depositions, to court proceedings gives them access to you and a reason to fixate on you more. The Letter Writer has already won what she needs to be safe, which is freedom from Mary. Suing her for that $10,000 will be mentally more expensive and possibly literally more expensive, I think.

      1. Yes! It sucks and it’s unfair but it most likely wouldn’t be worth it to sue Mary even if she had the money.

        If it’s any help, the way I’ve framed not pursuing people for money they owe me is that I’m paying $x to not deal with them. It’s not that I wasn’t “strong enough” to take them to court or whatever, I just looked at the hassle of having to interact with them in any way, looked at the amount of money I might actually get and said “nope, I’ll effectively pay them $x to go away and consider it a bargain.”

        Also no matter what terrible things Mary has told anyone who would listen “I’d rather eat that $10k of damages than be in the same room as her” makes it pretty clear who the asshole is.

        1. Yes exactly on paying $x to not deal with them. Often the cheapest way to pay is money, and this is definitely one of those times.

  14. I’m so grateful to hear you’re FINALLY out of this scary, infuriating situation, LW!! You sound like a kind person and a great friend, and you deserve only great friends. Your update reminds me of the book the Captain has referenced, “The Gift of Fear.” Your story is an unforgettable reminder to take people like Mary seriously.
    (Captain, when I reread your response to the first letter, I remembered how great the writing is throughout. Thank you for being not only wise and kind, but also so witty and eloquent.)

  15. Holy moly LW. I, also, had your story stick in my mind and I am so glad you are finally free. What a hellish ride – I am so sorry that you had to go through this. I wanted to mention, I don’t know where you live, but where I live, landlords/tenants can take each other to court for up to two years after x-bad-thing happens. I also totally understand if that’s not something you ever want to consider, and especially if even thinking about doing anything or not is impossible right now, but just know that there may be such rules where you live too and that that might be an option for you pretty far down the road should you so want it. I know, knowing that I had lots of time to effectively sue, while I was going through a bout of BIG BS with my last landlords was very comforting while I had no energy to deal with them legally at the time. Best wishes!

    1. I posted another comment about this, but taking someone who fixated on you to court after you finally get them to leave – and leave you alone – is perhaps a more expensive proposition than the original financial loss. Mary wants the Letter Writer’s attention, involvement, focus, and time. There’s nothing to indicate that Mary has the funds to pay her back, so we’re talking years-long payment plans where a person who hates you and wouldn’t take no for an answer writes a check to you every month or you have to take her back to court and be back in her life…again.

      It is completely unfair that it should be like this, and the financial loss for people who have to leave abusive situations needs a robust Victim’s Rights fund. If I ever have Lottery Winning Money I’m making one, where, no questions asked, people leaving abusive situations get a housing grant + at least six months of living expenses to help start over. Unfortunately in this case, the $10,000 was the cost of getting free of Mary and being able to live life again.

  16. So much sympathy from me, LW! Well done for getting out and surviving, and I’m sorry you had such an ordeal.

  17. “When someone punishes you for saying no to them, and for having your own needs and feelings the way Mary did here, I don’t think there’s a way back from that ”

    This is *so* right, and pretty much sums up most of my relationships with my ex-family (most of them now deceased, thank goodness).

    OP, while I have great sympathy for you over the state the house was in when you returned, in a way I should almost imagine it was a relief. It was outward and visible evidence of the condition of the relationship, a physical manifestation of all the psychological manipulation you’d been dealing with – and, nasty though it was, you had the benefit of being able to clear it all away and restore order and harmony to your living conditions.

    I had a similar experience when I had to clear out my mother’s house – and, later, her apartment.

    There is something really therapeutic about being able to deal with actual physical dirt and destruction as opposed to the less tangible kind, and the sense of achievement afterwards is almost immeasurable.

    Congratulations on reducing the problem to manageable proportions and, little by little, vanquishing every single part of it. It’s very truly said that ‘whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’, and just think how strong and well-prepared you’ll be for any little setbacks that may happen to you in the future!

    1. in a way I should almost imagine it was a relief Abusers who create visible, tangible proof that they’re horrible people are giving you a gift, bitter as it sounds: any time you wonder whether it really was that bad and whether you should have tried harder, you can look back and say ‘no, they really WERE that horrible.’

  18. This has echoes of my parents relationship. I’m so frustrated about the difficulty and cost for you but am so so thankful you are safe.

  19. Shitty housemates are traumatising. LW, so glad you’re done with her and getting help to process.
    I hope fervently that Mary utterly incinerated her goose her reputation is irretrievebly in a fiery skip bin. Her sort ultimately don’t do themselves any favours.

  20. Rotting food? Animal feces? Ugh, so awful. There’s no one I dislike enough to tolerate being around piles of biohazards. LW, I hate that you had to deal with that, but I’m glad you are living a peaceful, Mary-free life. I hope she stays away from you forever.

  21. This holiday season, may your gift to yourself be permission to get rid of any Marys in your life!

  22. Congratulations for being Mary- free!! I am so glad that you are ok and living in your home again!! I’m also happy that your friends have your back and you have a support system.

    Stay safe everyone!

  23. LW, you are so strong! You’ve built a great group of supportive friends, you got Mary the Vampire out of your life and home, your patience has paid off as it should. You deserve to relish your time in YOUR house doing whatever the hell you want. All the Jedi hugs, and a huge amount of respect.

  24. LW I am so glad to see that you’re safe and away from this person – and yes, sometimes it can take longer than anyone would like to make that happen! That’s just how it goes sometimes, unfortunately. What matters is it’s done, and you’re safe.

    It seems you already know this, but I just want to make it clear that Mary appears to have problems that you and your friends were never equipped to fix. Mary needs to get help if she wants healthy relationships, and she’s the only one who can decide to do that.

    Best of luck going forward, I hope your future is filled with good boundaries and positive relationships 😉!

  25. So much love to LW for escaping Mary, and congrats on a Mary-free life!!

    Also, @ CA: I fully support The Small Quiet Room Foundation. Set it up!! ❤

  26. So, so glad you were able to enact a safety plan and finally get free of Mary. Wishing you all the best going forward and a future free of Marys!

  27. I am doing my Happy Flappy Dance around my living room! I celebrate the long and difficult road to being Mary-free.

    A couple of things:
    – This was not your fault (and it never was).
    – You did zilch, nada, nothing to deserve this–or draw this to you.
    – You are a compassionate and empathetic person and these are good things to be.
    – Things like this often have their own time table and you are the boss of you (so, so, so proud of you!)

    Thank you so much, LW, for keeping us informed and I’m so glad you are in a better and safer place. ❤

  28. I hate that this cost you $10k and a bunch of DIY cleaning, but it sounds as if it was worth every cent and every drop of sweat. GOOD RIDDANCE.

  29. I love the quiet room idea, maybe one day when my law firm Makes It I can be a silent investor (I *am* suing a bunch of rich alt righters and will make $bank$ if we win)

    And wouldn’t it be great if it all could include an online network of people all over the world who have a spare room, who could host. And maybe if the nonprofit behind the site had enough funds to pay the hosts for the use of the rooms…it could make it beneficial for a lot of people

    1. I have a check ready to send to The Small Quiet Room Foundation, a no-questions-asked emergency housing and living expenses fund for people fleeing abusive homes. I’ll stay tuned for the place to send it.

  30. Once in a while I read a post on here that I can’t get out of my mind because I am worried about the LW’s safety and I am so relieved to read a positive (eventually!) update.
    I’m also sparing a thought for Mary’s next victim – because the Marys of this world always somehow find fresh victims – and that is a chilling thought. I hope that person has a good support network.

  31. I’m so glad that you have finally managed to get Mary out of your life, LW, even though it cost you so much more in time, energy and money than it ever should have. You were strong and brave and you did a GREAT job taking care of your needs and advocating for yourself with your friend group.

    I am so proud for you right now. You are awesome.

  32. Oh, Letter Writer, I am so relieved for you! I hope the rest of your 2020 continues to be better and better.

  33. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE but I can confirm from acting for people in housing-related litigation for many years that often the cure is worse than the illness.

    Any case involving your home is considerably more stressful than any other case because your safe space is a constant reminder of it. If you’ve got spoons, a really great lawyer, and funds, then it might be worth it even for the satisfaction of getting an official judgement… But if not, or if violence or escalation seems likely, think very hard before taking the legal route.

  34. Letter Writer, thank you so much for this update! You have been incredibly strong and resourceful, and have worked so hard! I’m so glad you are now free to live in your hard-won Mary-free zone. Congratulations and zen hugs from yet another internet stranger!

  35. Oh my goodness, LW. I am so glad you are okay. Reading this made me feel shaken because I also had a terrible manipulative roommate last year. I will skip the details other than to say during her move-out process my best friend was so worried about my safety she called a locksmith and paid to have my locks changed.

    If I hadn’t gotten her out when I did, I am certain I would have had to do exactly what you had to do – the kicker being I would have had to move myself *and my daughter* out of my house that I own, since there is zero chance she would have left voluntarily once there was an eviction moratorium. It makes me nauseous to think of how close I came. I am so so so sorry that you had to go through this but so relieved you had friends who could shelter you. And I am so sorry she trashed your home but so relieved that you are now back in your space and can live there in peace. I definitely understand why you wouldn’t try to recover any money through the legal system. Sometimes the cheapest way to pay for things is with money. Sending you love and peace and rest and enjoyment of your safe home.

  36. I am so relieved to hear that Mary is out, sorry to hear she basically dropped a grenade on her way out and that you have to pick up the tab. (Worth it, though, to avoid entanglements going forward.) Your story may help others recognize the danger of a Mary vs the inconvenience or unpleasantness of pushing back against a milder codependent type. I’m glad that you are recovering and enjoying your newly cleaned space. Thank you for letting us know–I’m sure many were wondering how things went and if you were safe. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!

  37. I’m so sorry she ruined your house, LW. What a horrible thing to do. You know she did it to lash out at you for finally cutting ties.

    Can you breathe now, though? Can you just fill your lungs? Do you wake up feeling lighter? The relief when someone finally gave me the script and permission to shut down my abusive ex-friend was heady. It was six years ago and to this day I occasionally think, “Wow, I don’t have to talk to her ever again.”

    Good luck to you, LW.

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