For those of you unfortunate enough to still have to deal with Dysfunctional Bob and his little games, I have a tip for you: Look for his micro-aggressions.
A favorite tactic of persons with narcissistic personality disorder, micro-aggressions are the petty slights and offenses that, taken individually, seem innocuous to a third party, but viewed as a pattern over time, are a form of spiritual and relational abuse. Bob excels at these games, and like a narcissistic sorority girl, puts a great deal of time and effort into these tawdry behaviors. I believe that these behaviors, in fact, are a favorite of his, because they allow him to feign innocence if called onto the carpet.
Nor are these inadvertent. For example, in the case of the parishioner who has boundary issues with children, to my knowledge Bob has never approached him about the issue, nor taken any formal action to keep children safe. Instead, Bob gives this person the cold shoulder whenever they are in church, pointedly pretending he doesn’t see him. (He has confirmed to Leslie Steffensen, too, that he does this.) Not exactly a healthy way to deal with problems, and if there is an issue of child abuse in the parish, this is a strategy that is unlikely to find favor with the court. But then, Dysfunctional Bob will probably seek to have the matter heard in his imaginary Commonwealth Court by his equally imaginary magistrate, so who knows? With the honorable judge Robert Hiller Malm presiding, he might just win.
In my case, Bob’s antics ran from yelling at me in meetings, to getting the cold shoulder at events, to pointedly sitting in silence when vestry members engaged in inappropriate conduct. And, of course, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when he, despite my warnings to knock it off, sent me his famous email, “Speaking of keys….” in which he asked me to turn my keys over to the building. (By way of context, Bob never does that and there are literally hundreds of sets of keys floating around among past wardens and altar guild presidents; indeed, if you know where to look for them, to this day the keys and alarm codes for the building are readily accessible. Instead, it’s a tie-in to an effort by Lisa Medley to bully me by asking for my keys back as part of a fictional “key audit.” In response, I pointed out that there was a huge box of unsorted keys in the parish administrator’s office, and she should knock herself out. Needless to say, nothing happened with the box of keys.)
Of course, since then, Bob has run the Jolly Roger up the mast, including his bogus police report. Thus, by coming into the open, he proves that my allegations about micro-aggressions were well founded. Moreover, the fact that he’s even willing to go after a dying woman shows that there are virtually no boundaries when it comes to Bob’s bullying and bad conduct. If he thinks he may win, it’s no holds barred.
Entwined in this issue, of course, is the question of whether Bob Malm is a real priest, or one in name only. But any priest who thinks that bullying is acceptable, including trying to push around a dying woman, doesn’t even qualify as a bogus priest. In fact, I can think of a number of terms that do apply, but for now, the word, “dirtbag” works just fine.