A Chilly Reception at Scott’s Farm
| Triangulation with a Member of a Narcissist’s Harem |
Wednesday, September 9th 2015 was the day I met Scott and his son Doug at their Farmington estate.
The day before, I’d tried a few times without success to reach Tina. That was a Tuesday. I hadn’t noticed it yet, but there was a pattern with Tuesdays. Tina was never available on Tuesdays. I missed her and at the end of the night, I’d texted her a little rhyme.
“Lying in my lonely bed;
Upon my shoulder, Tina’s head;
Looking forward to next time’s kissing!”
Tina finally responded to my messages around noon on Wednesday. She wrote that she was down in Farmington for a funeral for Scott’s aunt. “I’m in a CATHOLIC CHURCH,” she texted. “I even took communion. Sadly, no wine was served. I haven’t burst into flames yet, but that might just be because my greatest temptation is currently in Minneapolis.”
“Please try to avoid spontaneous combustion,” I replied. “I’m out of prednisone and my back is making an effort to murder me. Not getting much done here in Minneapolis, today. Miss you!”
A few hours later, Tina texted again. “I wish you weren’t dealing with a homicidal back. I wish I could kiss all the pain away. I’m still in Farmington and I miss you.”
“How long are you going to be around there?” I asked.
“If you’d like to come here, you may. My mom will have to spend the night because she’s been drinking, but we could go out to Buffalo,” she replied.
That sounded perfect to me! “Do you need a rescue? Damsel in distress?”
“If that’s what it takes to see you… Help me Obi Wan Kenobi. I need your help (almost?) Ha. No worries, but I miss you so much it kinda hurts.”
She was pretty close with the Star Wars quote and I was impressed. Love bombing was still underway and made me feel good enough that I could overcome the knife between my vertebra. Tina reminded me of the address and gave instructions to drive to the back of the barn when I arrived.
I packed up an overnight bag, and put my computer and speakers in my briefcase to bring along.
It was getting close to dusk when I arrived. I drove around to the far side of the big barn as instructed. The main barn doors were wide open and a small party was going on inside. Tina spotted me right away and met me with an enthusiastic hug as I climbed out of the van. She offered me a beer and made a few quick introductions to Scott’s two preteen daughters and a heavy-set guy named Mark. I said hi to Maura and then Tina led me out to find Scott and make that long-anticipated introduction.
We came upon both Scott and his son Doug by a large fire pit full of brush that they were just getting lit. Scott was about my age, about my height, with dark hair, very tan skin and a short beard. He shook my hand firmly as Tina made introductions.
“Nice to finally meet you,” I said. “Tina speaks highly of you.”
“I don’t know about that,” Scott replied.
“And this is Doug,” Tina said.
I turned my attention to him. He was about my height and build with dark hair like his father and had a scruffy beard of fine whiskers. He looked to be about Tina’s age. Maybe younger. I reached out my hand, but Doug with a beer in his right hand couldn’t be bothered to uncross his arms to shake it. He twisted slightly to point his left hand, projecting slightly from under his right elbow, in my direction.
I briefly grasped half of four limp fingers. “Nice to meet you, Doug,” I said.
A less than enthusiastic half-nod was his reply.
Neither Scott nor Doug seemed very interested in further conversation with me. I was surprised to be getting something of a cold shoulder, especially since Tina had told me several times how Scott wanted to meet me. Here was his chance and he had nothing much to say.
“Well, I guess we’ll leave them to building this huge bonfire,” Tina said and led me back toward the Barn. “I slept with him once,” Tina confided quietly as we made our way. “Doug, I mean.”
“I figured,” I said and then shuddered at the thought of her and her mother sharing a lover, when Tina raised the specter of the alternative by clarifying.
She gave me a quick tour. In the barn, there was a platform built with carpeting, upon which was a pool table. The other side of the barn was full of machinery and toys, like dirt bikes. Scott, Doug and Tina’s brother Nick were dirt bike enthusiasts. Semi-pros, actually. Scott had created a big dirt bike track on the property for him and his son to practice racing and stunts. Evidently that track is what brought Tina’s and Scott’s families together. Maura had somehow spotted it years ago and asked if Nick could ride on it sometimes. That’s the story as I was told it, anyhow.
I suspected there was something else that brought Scott and Maura together. Ultimately, they did have an affair and became something unspecified, but akin to friends with benefits. Tina told me with some annoyance that Scott wouldn’t “claim” her mother, as she put it.
Tina and I finished the beers we had in hand, said goodbye to her mother and got on the road to Buffalo. It was going to be an hour and a half drive, but the road looked infinitely more appealing than spending any more time with Scott and Doug.
On the drive, Tina hinted that there might have been more to her relationship with Doug than she’d let on. First, I’d been told that they had just been family friends for years – almost like cousins. That night, I learned she’d had sex with him once. She told me he had a girlfriend named Olivia, but also told me with irritation, that she had to find out about her through facebook. Then she backpedaled and told me that although, she’d found it useful to learn about Olivia, she didn’t use facebook herself.
“Why do you care if Doug has a girlfriend?” I asked.
“I don’t,” Tina said. “It’s just that he’s a player with all these girls and he always insisted to me he was single, but I found out his facebook says he’s engaged! It doesn’t matter. This was a while ago, anyhow. Never mind. I’m not making sense.”
She wasn’t, really, but her confused jumble of words raised some unease for me.
What Tina was doing, unbeknownst to me at the time was a favorite manipulation tactic of narcissists called triangulation. That’s when a narcissist uses a third party to belittle or instill unease in their target. A lot of times, it’s a jealousy play. At the same time she was triangulating Doug against me, she was simultaneously using me to triangulate Doug.
I think Tina could tell that I was growing more uneasy and she shuffled through a number of topics in rapid succession, having the effect of resetting the conversation.
“Have you ever been to a strip club?” She asked.
“Yeah. I’ve been to a couple,” I said.
“Do you think it would be bad for your career if you were dating a stripper and people found out?”
“Uh. I don’t know. Possibly,” I said, hesitantly. I was the head of a conservative-leaning, political non-profit at the time. “Why?”
“Just making conversation. Although, I did think about it. Stripping. Scott’s friends said ‘I’d pay to see that.’ I think I’m too fat now, though.”
“Look, as your boyfriend, I’d very much prefer it if you didn’t take your clothes off in front of other men, but you are in no way fat. You’re incredibly sexy.” I assured her.
Tina shuffled through a number of other topics and talk of Doug faded to distant memory. We joked around, laughed, sang along to Depeche Mode and generally enjoyed the rest of the drive out to Buffalo.
As usual, we had a great night alone in our bubble in the little efficiency penthouse atop the Buffalo Hotel.
The next day, we decided to take a walk around town. I was still certain there was a bar hidden in Buffalo’s historic downtown and I was determined to find it. On the way out, Tina noticed she had mail. The lobby of the historic hotel-cum-flophouse still had a front desk and behind it, old-fashioned wooden mail slots with key hooks beneath, like you see in Westerns. Not at all secure, but quaint.
We wandered into a gift shop where Tina fell in love with an antique jewelry box. Her birthday was about a month and a half away, so I made note of it. She ended up buying a couple wooden tiles with numbers engraved. A six and a nine. 69. Tina never got bored of that number combination.