A post about the horror of Email Harassment.

I guess sometimes I’m kind of a naive person. Sometimes I trust when I shouldn’t.

So I got involved with someone who is psychotic, and it took me several months to see it.

I took someone on to help them. There were warning signs along the way: occasionally this person was startlingly verbally abusive toward women. I mean, sometimes this person seemed to hate women with a rare, intense, and perplexing viciousness.

But the person didn’t act that way toward me, and always seemed to have an “excuse,” though now that I look back on it, is there ever a justification for brutally aggressive verbal abuse and profound misogyny?

This person can be incredibly charming on the telephone, working a kind of Grima Wormtongue thing. Still, many of this person’s relationships degenerated into ugliness, name-calling, and bitter enmity. But always there was an excuse, and it was never this person’s fault.

Then it was my turn to be on the receiving end.

I first grew aware of a serious issue when I discovered that this person had impersonated me online, signing my name and personal email to a gift without my foreknowledge or consent.

This was a wake up call that I heard. I pulled back. No one has the right to violate my privacy that way. No one has the right to impersonate me or to appropriate my email address. It is identity theft and it is wrong.

Then, just a few days ago, things erupted. I made a decision this person did not like. When I stood my ground, the person first was conciliatory, and then suddenly–the switch flipped. In the course of a few hours, Mr. Hyde emerged.

This person sent dozens and dozens of violent, offensive emails that included threats of bodily harm, like promising to fight me until “blood trips.” There were other vulgar, violent threats that I won’t post online. The emails were increasingly poorly spelled and they were filled with the foulest language imaginable. They included manic threats of various sorts. The diction was completely out-of-bounds, like something from a ghetto. I was called the “c” word fifty times or more, and even in the subject line of the emails.

One of the emails, demanding a large sum of money within 24 hours, was also sent to my husband.

In the course of this mad ranting, the person claimed to have phoned a longtime friend of mine, and he had given up some dirt on me. Of course my friend emailed today saying straight out that he had never spoken to this person and had never heard the name before my emails describing the person’s allegations.

Is it any surprise that this toxic person is a sociopathic liar?

Moreover, this person signed the name and legal credentials of an attorney admitted to the bar to one of the emails sent to me, for the purposes of threatening and intimidating me–without the attorney’s consent. I wonder how the attorney feels about that, given the responsibility of character and ethics that comes with a bar membership. So this person impersonates other people, too.

Obviously, this person has decompensated totally. Obviously this person needs psychiatric care.

In the meantime, I am left cleaning up a mess. There are people I must warn, because those people came up in conversation between me and the psychotic person–and I don’t know what the psychotic person will say or do. I don’t know if this unbalanced person will make contact, as a way to hurt me.

Several friends have urged me to file a restraining order, because the threats of physical harm were blatant and appallingly far over any possible line anyone could draw.  These threats were criminal.

This person also hurt a third party financially, an independent subcontractor who had completed work for this person, because I was the one who recommended the subcontractor. I feel terrible because someone I like and respect, who does first rate work, was hurt. The psychotic person stopped payment for work already completed, which is the same as writing a bad check: it is fraud.

The psychotic person also stopped payment on a check to me for a service that I provided. More fraud.

It’s shocking when harassment erupts this way. There are places to report it, and I have. There are steps to take, and I’m taking them.

In the meantime, it does leave me reeling, stunned at the depths of viciousness and sociopathy in the human soul.


Traci L. Slatton

Author Traci L. Slatton is a graduate of Yale and Columbia, and the award-winning, internationally published author of a dozen books of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.

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