Mentally unstable cleaner - update

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marguerite, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I decided to begin a new thread, it's easier.

    Summary - the agency cleaner who comes to our house once a week is a long-term friend, although he's always been a bit 'odd'. He's been behaving increasingly oddly however, and on Thursday he was so strange I felt I'd very stressed. His moods seemed up, then he was in tears and saying he felt too sick to work; then within minutes he was seemingly fine again. He WAS aware of this happening and also concerned I might report it.
    Trouble is, the agency is short-staffed and if I drop out, I'll never get the service again.

    This bloke has been using (abusing) his position for some years to discuss with me (at times = 'harangue') his extreme views on Christianity. I'm very moderate in my views; he has called me heretic for this. And yet - before Christmas he was arrested by police (witnessed by difficult child 1) for "pleasuring himself" on a public train. He told us all about it the next day, with an air of extreme contrition coupled with a seeming pleasure at being the centre of attention - at which point I dropped the topic and we got on with work.

    He goes to a newly founded independent church run by a pastor whose grip on stability is also very shaky. He has been seeking counselling from the pastor, instead of genuine psychiatric help. The pastor is NOT someone to confide in and expect confidentiality. I know - to my cost.

    Rather than blab all round town (very small village) I went information-gathering. On various legitimate pretexts, I sat and listened to a lot of people talking about a lot of irrelevant things. Here is the summary:

    1) His marriage is now publicly over. I knew it was in trouble, I didn't realise how public the information was. "He's been going through a divorce," is what the Avon lady (his client after me) told me (I mentioned him in passing when I collected the latest catalogue).

    2) It is possible that the word is out publicly on his recent brush with the law. While having coffee with the pastor (and friends) I thought I heard a mention of my cleaner having attended court during the week.

    3) They are still friendly to him - as we were having coffee he walked past on the way to catch the boat. He stopped to say hello, friendly greetings were exchanged.

    4) If he didn't tell the pastor, his wife certainly would have, and as my paralegal friend said, "that is as good as broadcasting it over national radio."

    I dropped in on my paralegal friend and finally unburdened myself. She was horrified, but not too surprised.
    As I talked about the situation, she was almost predicting the next step, because she said he sounded so much like her very disturbed ex-husband. She knows my cleaner well also.
    Her ex-husband was an accused rapist when they got engaged - he swore to her he was innocent, she stood by him as things went to trial and he was acquitted but soon into the marriage she realised he WAS a rapist and deviant. He was also violent and a possible molester of their kids. He had been molested by his mother through most of his childhood and adolescence.
    Back to the cleaner - my friend agrees with me, we don't think he is violent (unlike her ex). if anything, he is likely to react with a fetal position and buckets of tears.
    We talked about whether to report him to the agency - she can see the difficulty. At this stage she felt that it wouldn't be a good idea for too many reasons. This IS a small town and he would find out.
    Because he doesn't seem to be a danger to others, I'm keeping quiet for now. But watching.
    I could extricate myself, but mother in law uses his services also (and can't stand him). A lot of her social group (the little old lady war widow set) are dissatisfied with him and his service, but like me, cannot afford to lose service entirely.

    So I'm biding my time. In the meantime, my paralegal friend is trying to get hold of any court records she can. It's not easy. If he had a hearing in the city the other day, she will find out.

    If he is found guilty, he will go on the sex offender's register and will lose his job. After all, part of his job includes (at times) bathing elderly or infirm people. You can't have a convicted sex offender responsible for bathing invalids.

    If he loses his job, the agency will have to find a replacement for him to manage his clients (including me and mother in law). Alternatively, they will divide the workload up and spread it round the other worker in our area.

    He seemed stable today, but we only spoke for a few minutes and it was with a group of people he needs to seem sane with.

    What is his likely diagnosis? I have not a lot of knowledge here. I'm sure he has mentioned bipolar to me, but what I saw on Tuesday seemed like psychosis (although he was aware of his strangeness, so I'm not so sure). I feel he IS attention-seeking, he does seem to delight in confessing his sins and being punished (I get the feeling he'd really enjoy a bondage session, if only he had the courage or the imagination). He's a hysteric. He seemed to be 'getting off' on confessing the crime to me and difficult child 1. I don't want to feed into any of that, although I know his pastor will be, in a BIG way.

    I really could do without any of this.

    The more I live in this world, the more I see the seamy side underneath. The secret lives, the dishonesty, the "Under Milkwood" stuff.

    So for now I watch, I wait, I listen, I take notes, I lie low. At the first sign of anything that I feel is putting mother in law at risk, I will have to speak to the agency. Hopefully he will remove himself before that happens - they must already get a lot of complaints about him. Or he will crack. Or turn hobo. Who knows?

    I just want him gone, safely. And getting GENUINE help.

    I REALLY could have done without this.

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    marg..sounds more like a personality disorder to me.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I will be saying a prayer he goes away safely. You sure could have done with-out this. Gentle hugs.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Good Grief! As it there weren't enough things to worry about, now you have to be diligent monitoring someone who is suppose to be helping you and making your life easier. I'm sorry for the added stress. DDD
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I would put myself and my family first. If you don't feel comfortable with-him, find somene else. I'm not sure why you feel you cannot get a replacement. Financial? Avaliable personnel?
    You're his employer, not his mother.
    You are sweet to be concerned, but as I said, save your concern for your loved ones.
    Take care.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think you may be misunderstanding me. Yes, we have been friends since well before he began to work for the agency. But not overly close friends. I've never mothered him, but we have enjoyed talking. At times he's talked and I haven't enjoyed it, he's been a bit of a thorn in my side when he starts tubthumping. I've come to the conclusion that he has an addictive personality - I know he used drugs back in the 70s (nothing major) and I think he has substituted religion as his addiction. He really doesn't seem to understand what he really believes in, but it's something where someone tells him what he should be thinking and he has embraced it wholeheartedly and is "an authority". I've been a bit fed up with it for some time; but now, he's agreeing with my views (strange).

    I went down a similar road with a friend I met when she interviewed me for a freelance paper article a few years ago. She became increasingly strange especially on topics of religion until I finally had to distance myself. She told me she has been diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder. I still cross paths with her occasionally - she greets me as a long-lost friend.

    I'm not trying to counsel him or 'treat' him in any way; frankly, I want him gone (but somewhere safe, for him). He needs help and won't be getting it if he's only talking to his (very unqualified) 'pastor'.

    I've been feeling manipulated when he 'confesses' things to me, so I do my best to not give him a pay-off. I'm god at not reacting (openly) but inwardly, he has me rattled.

    The agency - it's government-based, providing a subsidised service (much sought after) for people with a disability. The service can be variable - he's one of the worst. He began with absolutely no idea, I feel like I've trained him, but he now at least does SOME things that help, I'd be stuck without either him or a replacement. The service is so much in demand that if I cancel, I'll never get it back. it's like giving up your spot in the waiting line for tickets to a Madonna concert.

    What I'm trying to do now - prepare. Plan. Have some idea of what is happening in his head, so I can either pull the plug on him (if I have to, for my safety and of the others he does service for) or simply wait it out and be aware he's likely to forget to plug the fish tank heater back in (he killed a tank full of fish a few years ago by unplugging the heater to run the vacuum cleaner, and then not plugging it back in).

    I'm sure a lot of you have DEXs like him.

    If it were just him being 'thick', I could put up with it. I HAVE put up with it.

    At this stage after talking to my paralegal friend (who also knows him and his wife) we're fairly sure there's no danger at the moment. He's too much of a coward and pacifist to ever attack anyone.

    I guess I'm fed up with having to hold his hand and chaperone him around my house, when I really need to be resting. And now he seems to be doing things so totally 'out there' (such as the indecent exposure stuff) I just don't know what to expect, and it's making me nervous.

    I'll try to swap my days this week, I need to go into hospital and I'll be booking it tomorrow morning. After that, I might see if I can swap days to a day when he simply isn't available (I tried this before - didn't work) with the hope that I can get transferred to the other worker in the village. But if that doesn't work, and he gets increasingly weird, I'm going to have to tell the agency, I think. I'm just scared they'll talk to him about it and he will know who told them. I REALLY don't want that! Long before it gets to that stage, I think I would prefer talking to his wife to find out if he's just putting on a 'show' for me, or if he's really being weird at home as well.

    Here's hoping he gets himself some help fast.

  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Is it possible for you to arrange for someone else to be home when he comes to do his chores? That could break the cycle of inappropriate sharing and the effort to bond. Certainly there is some adult who could
    housesit for those limited hours and you can run errands or whatever to avoid contact.

    I would make every effort to disentangle myself and my family from someone who causes discomfort. Good luck. DDD
  8. ML

    ML Guest

    I like DDD's idea!

    When I first read your title to this thread I thought you had found a cleaner for mental instability and I was wondering how I could get my hands on the stuff! ML
  9. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Sorry you are dealing with this unstable individual. How hard it is when you are in a position to need help but the help you get is substandard. I hope that he will get the help he needs and you can get a better cleaner.

  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I made my biopsy appointment, and the time they gave me means I have to cancel this week's session.

    About having someone else here instead - not permitted. I've been able to bend the rules, such as when one of my kids was home when the cleaner arrived, because I was at the local doctor's, but they're not supposed to be here if I'm not here. The whole idea is, they're working for someone with a disability who cannot do enough for themselves. I've had these agency cleaners in the past who simply waited outside until I got home from dropping kids off to school or wherever.

    When he's next here I'm going to keep myself busy in another room. The trouble is, I do need help with cooking tasks (I need strong hands to stir the pots) and that needs me there on the spot - I'm getting ingredients thrown into the pots at the right time, he's stirring or crushing garlic or peeling vegetables of whatever. But I can disengage by simply talking constantly about what I'm cooking.
    I can also send him to clean the bathroom, his forte, although he's even doing badly there.
    A lot better than when he first started - he cleaned my bathroom all right - he hosed it out! I had a drawer full of ornamental soaps which got soaked and were sitting in water (I discovered it after he'd left) and it took me aged to clean up the mess he left.

    He's slipping back to that standard again, at times sitting with head in hands saying he feels too sick to work... and then miraculously recovering minutes later. Bizarre.

    I've yet to ring him to cancel Thursday - shouldn't be a problem though. He goes to mother in law's tomorrow, she knows he's been a bit more weird than usual but knows nothing of his indecent exposure stuff. I'll find out how he was after he's finished his shift there tomorrow.