Now that I know what characteristics are in abusive people it is amazing how easy they are to spot. Sometimes it is almost disturbing how similar they behave. As Lundy Bandcroft mentioned in his book, “It is almost like they graduated from the same school of abuse.”
We have a house that really couldn’t sell in this economy so we decided to rent it and hired a property management company to handle it for us. We really had very little encounters with the property manager over the year the tenants rented it. However during that time, other than collecting the rent and giving us our portion, he really was not managing the property at all. The true issues happened when he let the tenants fall out of a lease and we ended up with 3 weeks notice for their moving out. Every email he would send the tenants would say something like, “I am sorry Mr. Blank but I believe your lease requires you stay until 11/30 but we will have to refer to Mrs. Blank on that one.” What really got me was how the emails were so apologetic to the tenants and constant put the ball back in my court.
So after repeated emails where he made those types of comments I asked him, “Are you working for us or the tenants? Are you managing this property or am I?” Apparently that struck a cord with him because he sent me this very aggressive email that stated he had been managing property for over 30 years and if we could find someone who knew more than he did then he would gladly release us from the contract. There was more to this email but he also CC his attorney in the email. Plus when I had a phone conversation with this man and asked why the tenants were no longer in a lease, he asked me if I had called to request that and I said I thought that was why I hired a management company. Then he said, “People often mistakenly expect more from their physicians.” and then went on to tell me about which president allowed tenants more rights than landlords. The whole time I am thinking spare me the history lesson. So he stated that he knew more than anyone else when it comes to managing property (grandiosity?). Then stating history information that tries to state how intelligent he is and how much he knows.
So I decided that evening it was time to let him go and sent him a professional email with signed documents releasing him from managing our property. In the morning I noticed a text message on my phone from a telephone number I had not programed into my phone. It said, “Don’t send me emails after business hours, we will look at your information tomorrow. We have hundreds of happy clients we manage. You are very much expendable and happily terminated!” It was really strange to get this text message from someone I was doing business with and was not in a relationship with. After this he would not release the property back into our control for a week. We were unable to do anything with this property until he let it go.
Later he sent me documents that stated he terminated us. My husband said with humor, “Let me get this straight, he terminated you after you terminated him?” It was ironic how this little situation seemed so familiar to me. If he treats me that way when I am a customer, makes me wonder what he treats his significant other like. When we spoke to the tenants they mentioned how he had stated how impossible, irrational and basically said I was ‘crazy’ to them. They had met me on more than one occasion and did not get that impression. This sounded so much like the situation with my abusive ex-husband where he tried to tell people I was crazy.
What is the difference here between this business man and my abusive ex-husband?
- Power – he truly enjoyed having the power to keep our property from us, refusing to sign the papers I sent him where we terminated the contract
- Control – he wanted to be in control at all times by terminating us when we had terminated him, holding onto our property, sending a strange text message
- Manipulation – he was playing both sides by twisting the conversations around, stating I was crazy, telling me he couldn’t understand why the tenants kept contacting us directly
- Entitlement – he certainly believes he is the most knowledgeable property management firm in existence, expecting automatic compliance because he considers himself special
These are the same underlying core issues that come from abuse.