The Pool Guy: a story about narcissism (part 2 of 2)

Continued from Part One.

Here are the final installments of the saga of a wealthy, grandiose narcissist obliging his neighbor (who wrote these posts) to be his “pool guy”– a source of narcissistic supply and target of intermittent abuse and love bombing.


The Pool Guy (continued)


He painted the pool guy black [devalued/discarded a pool man he had previously hired]. He went on a crusade to prove how easy it is to do what that “incompetent fool” can’t do. He spent a fortune in money and time. My neighbor paid twice as much to have an employee from the pool store come by and show him how to do it.

He’s completely incapable of hiring a pool guy. When I left him with that choice, he mentally split. I knew I’d seen that look. I was braced for silence, brooding, etc. Instead, he was flip, glib, non-nonchalant. He already had that episode scripted.

His admirers (me, his source of socializing; his realtor who stands to make $20,000) will deal with it. If we don’t, he’ll have another nice chapter for his narrative. Sources of supply let him down, and even the realtor can’t live with $20k. “Taking care of the pool — which is such a simple thing to do, I know, I’ve proven it to myself. He couldn’t work a little harder for $20k. It’s his fault it took longer to sell. Yes! That’s it! It’s his fault. He thought he could just bring people through the house and it would sell it self. Typical loser. He probably voted for Obama! Yes! That’s it.”

I could actually come out on the winning end if I were more in the psychopathy spectrum. I could send him emails saying how I’m surprised that realtor didn’t let my neighbor know the pool turned green in 4 days. Or, imply the realtor is one of those guys who voted for Obama. “What’s he thinking. The pool’s green and he wonders why it’s not selling! He thinks $20k should just come to him without doing anything to earn it!”

It’s been two days. I’ll walk over there in a couple hours. I might toss a couple scoops of magic powder in the pool. But, my position is that I agreed to walk around and be his eyes and ears. Help coordinate anything that needs to be done. I’ll leave the hose on a slow flow (to top the pool off, instead of having to watch it and constantly take action).

I think the realtor is having Open House. I should walk over and broach the topic with him. That’s the most I’ll get involved. Otherwise, I’ll wait till it spins out and let my neighbor know. He’ll probably call the guy at the pool store to come and do it. It will cost him more than paying a monthly fee for regular service. But, it’s just not in his vocabulary to do that.

I’m not worried about it. I won’t “play” it to my advantage. I was being sarcastic about that. But, I do imagine he’ll hold it against the realtor. He’s already bad-mouthing the realtor for not trying hard enough.

When I consider my position in the matter: I could try to keep it up. The risk to me is that it would turn into a project. I would try to make it perfect. I’d feel responsible. (The inverted or compensatory N, self-sacrificing). Then I would get bitter for what I give and how little I receive in return. It would turn into a blow-up and me disliking him.

I can probably do a little to keep it in shape (so it’s not a green 4-day disaster) without my traits taking over. I don’t think I have to “stand my ground” against what is clearly his manipulation. My self-awareness should allow for better than that.

I’m going to walk over there right now.


I just returned. The realtor seemed distant, short, unpleasant. I think I could see quickly what’s going on. My neighbor’s making the realtor earn his $20k, taking it out of his hide. Criticizing everything the realtor does, expecting perfection. He’s blaming the realtor for the house not selling at the inflated price my neighbor first picked. (My neighbor can’t look at it in the context of having bought the house for his son to go to college. It was just an expense. Now it has to be a huge return on investment. His son’s education living in relative comfort and security wasn’t the return.).

I suspect that part of that narrative is that I’m my neighbor’s trusted ears and eyes. My neighbor probably gave the realtor a verbal beating and let him know his absence won’t make a difference.  I suspect the realtor sees me as an extension of my neighbor. I’ll say something, leading to more unpleasantly.

I touched upon the topic of the pool. I think I broke through some ice and I subtly let him know we have the same concerns. I think he believed my neighbor “tainted” me and I was on the lookout to give my neighbor ammunition. A home-buyer arrived and the realtor said he would call me soon.


This was the last post until the end of October, when the forum member began to have problems with his narcissist neighbor again.   The neighbor’s pool was again the ammunition used to torment him.


My narcissistic neighbor put the house on the market and left me to keep an eye on the place. He expected me to take care of the pool which I made clear I wasn’t comfortable with. When he left, he treated it as if would be taken care of between me and the real estate agent, and he would return in September if the house didn’t sell. “Somehow it will all work out” (expecting me to do it even though I said “no.”).

Well, we’re entering November and there have been “complications.”

While here he groused about the people who work at a retail store he owns. (The same way he groused about the property management company who rented the house for a year or two. And, the pool guy who did something not to his standards. Also, the real estate agent who wasn’t working hard enough.). He was going to go home and sell the store. Well, the first thing he did was fire everyone and ran the place himself.

That was the first clue he wasn’t coming back.

Then he was going to rent it, and maybe I could look after minor issues with tenants (pay me for my time). I asked if he would have a pool guy, and he said he would let the tenants care for the pool. (I know how that works. It turns into a mess, leading to maintenance work.). I expressed my concern about that, how usually the cost of a pool guy is rolled into the rent so there’s no surprises.

He could tell I wasn’t eager to do it, so he called some property management companies. But, he didn’t get a good feeling about them (probably jaded about them like he is about pool guys).

Then, he extended the for-sale listing (with the real estate agent he doesn’t like). He expected the pool stuff to continue as it was.

Then, something happened which required the house be taken off the market. (A repair must be made. Nothing serious, but it could stand out as poorly done if not done right.).

So, 3-4 weeks ago I became the sole pool guy (because the real estate agent stops by now).

He has contacted some people to do the repair, only one has come by to see it. But, that repair guy didn’t call the neighbor with the info. I explained to my neighbor the repair guy did mention a price, but I assumed he would call my neighbor since I’m in the middle (nothing was written, etc.).

That was a week ago. I just communicated that I hadn’t heard from anyone else, and asked if he heard from that repair guy. (I also needed to let him know the pool condition is deteriorating.). He said “no. It appears nothing will get done until I’m there.”

I think he realized it’s a little more complicated than the average Craigslist advertiser can be trusted to do. There are 3 ways to do it, and none are perfect. (Especially not to him. The only perfect way to to do it is if he does it — but he fired everyone…. and so on, and so on.).

That’s how he is. He’s probably in the middle of a huge narcissistic injury with his business. The house was a disappointment. And now it’s rolling down to me. (Exactly how I envisioned.).

This makes me realize how glad I am to be self-aware. The feeling was more novel in June/July when he was here. Now I feel more accomplished at it. For example, before awareness I would have been emotionally invested in being “the guy” taking care of things, responsible for additional profit from the sale, etc. As expectations changed I would have taken it personally (injured, taken advantage of). That would trigger him into one of his “I knew it, you’re like the rest, a bum!” I would have taken it personally (not recognizing my own reckless exposure to it).

So, I spared myself that indignity (even though he would like me to feel co-responsible, which I can understand because I would do the same thing.).

Now I guess I need to contact the repair guy and ask him to call the 4-year old (because the 4-year old won’t do it.). But, I also think my neighbor wouldn’t let him do the work because of the potential for it to come out badly. I think blaming the repair guy is merely convenient.

So, I’m probably stuck for another two months.

It irritates me because I made it clear a dozen times I don’t want to have anything to do with the pool. Even on his last day here when he bought me my dinner and then sprung it on me how he expected me to take care of the pool… and then his whole demeanor changed when I said “no,” and I knew I had seen that look before. He fast-forwarded in his narrative to how that’s going to work when he’s disappointed (forgetting how I told him “no.”).

I tie today’s snitty reply *directly* back to that affect/personality change I detected at dinner when I said “no.” He was imagining this moment. (A Pavlovian salivation at the tasty supply which awaits.). I know that look because I do it too. (“You’re not going to do these things for me after I imagined you doing them? Ok, that works too. You can be the good guy, or the bad guy.”).

It’s interesting how I knew this was how it would go. There were times I was concerned I was being too uncooperative (invulnerable). But, I was right. If I had given into my eagerness to be the shining star, I’d be having a serious (self-induced) injury/rage right now.

I was tempted to assert my “no” when he put me in this position. But, there was a real estate agent involved too. I thought I could help out. But, I’m starting to let him know it’s not working out. He knows it’s starting to deteriorate and I don’t know what to do. (He knows someone at a pool store who he thinks he can fall back on to do it. The weather is cooler so it won’t get too bad now.).

It’s strange how he has to do everything himself. I asked how the sale of the store is going, and when he think’s he’ll return. I don’t want to put him in a bind being hundreds of miles from his property. I don’t mind keeping an eye on things. But, the pool part of it is irritating me. He’s going to have to get a pool guy or be prepared for it not being perfect when he gets here.

That’s what makes me nervous is that he has huge expectations on everyone else (but never notices he doesn’t do much better).



I’ve been beating around the bush about how the pool won’t be in good shape when he returns, and how it probably needs one of those weekly people. I’ve also asked when he’s coming back. All I get in reply is how it would be nice if I could do the best I could with it. (He doesn’t respond to how the sale of his business is going, or when he thinks he’s coming back.).

What really irritates me is that he spent over $2k on fake furniture to make it look nice. (It’s a common practice in the US.). But, he won’t spend $30 a week on a pool guy.

I think he imagined me to be “his buddy.” He returned home (to the drama he was planning, firing the employees, selling the business, knowing full well he wasn’t coming back in 6 weeks) and boast about how he’s got “a guy” taking care of his stuff here. It’s power! (“He’s my eyes and ears.”). To the extent I don’t perform, he can talk about how someone he thought was “his guy” disappointed him, left him with a big mess to take care of, etc. (He’s probably having a problem selling the business and saying “and on top of all this, I’ve got a guy taking care of my stuff… but he’s not working out. I must return there and take care of something. If I weren’t Superman…”).

At least it’s a learning experience. I saw it coming. I should have been firmer with the boundaries. I could probably still hire a pool guy and charge my neighbor that price for taking care of the pool. (He keeps saying he’ll pay me, as he ignores how I’m telling him…). Maybe I should do that. (“I spent 2 hours on the pool this week. At $15 per hour… Oh, you think that’s too much?” Then he’ll complain that “the guy taking care of my stuff is gouging me.”).

At least his expectations are set. And, more importantly, so were mine from the beginning. Honestly, all I hear is a plea to just do it because he needs to feel like people will do things for him. That’s *all* I hear. Money, it doesn’t matter. “I just want *you* to do it because I don’t have anyone else acting like they like me.”

I don’t recall how old he is. Almost 70. He lived his life accumulating a lot. He said he had to start “preparing” (downsizing, getting things in order). That’s probably a difficult/harsh reality he’s facing (relative to the capability/power he wielded and impressed himself with. I suspect the sale of the business is not turning out as he hoped. It’s not as valuable as it once was. He’s probably liquidating it at a loss. That’s probably an injury (raging at the parent company, the employees he “carried” and made a living for years, himself for not getting out sooner). Now the house is a tar baby. 

The weather is colder now, therefore the pool maintenance isn’t an issue like it would have been in the summer. I just drop a couple tablets in the chlorine dispenser 1-2 times a week. That’s not much more than the letting myself in 2 times a week to check on the house.

I’ve made it clear to him that it’s going downhill, he needs a weekly service person, and without that it will need work when he returns. His expectations are set. I’m sure he’s using that as part of his narrative to people he associates with where he’s at. I don’t care. (I knew how he is when I agreed to watch the place, then got suckered into co-caring for the pool with the real estate agent.).

Read Part One here:  



About luckyotter

Recovering from BPD and C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse from childhood. Married to a sociopath for 20 years. Proud INFJ, Enneagram type 4w5. Animal lover, music lover, cat mom, unapologetic geek, fan of the absurd, progressive Catholic, mom to 2, mental illness stigma activist, anti-Trumper. #RESISTANCE
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