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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Hi. Someone recently set my backyard on fire right beside my

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Hi. Someone recently set my backyard on fire right beside my house twice in the same day (it was like they were trying to burn the house down with me in it. Someone saw it and called the fire department both times) and I'm wondering if my boyfriend had someone do it because of his behavior after the fire. I've been in a long distance relationship with him (he's in prison) for almost a year and during this time he's been repeatedly very hateful and nasty and insulting to me and I've broken up with him several times because of how he's treated me. I believe he's been emotionally abusive to me. Also I believe he threatened me one time because he said to me when he was mad,"Trust me I may be crazy but I'm not stupid. I know what I need to do and trust me bitch I'm going to do it." He acts nice most of the time and he says that he loves me and wants to be with me forever and marry me and have children with me one day and he seems like he's a nice guy who cares about me and just made mistakes by being hateful to me (he says he did it cause he's upset about being in prison and not being able to help me or his mom who is about to lose her house and said that he took out a lot of stuff on me that's not my fault). I would never ever have suspected him of doing something like this, but his behavior after the fire makes me wonder if he had someone do it. First of all every night he emails me and says goodnight to me. Well the night after the fire happened he didn't email me goodnight. That's what made me start suspecting him a little bit, cause I didn't email him for hours after the fire cause of everything going on cause of it (I sent him a email late that night that he didn't get till the morning) and he didn't email me that night like usual which made me wonder if he didn't email me cause he thought I was dead (I've heard of a murder case like that where this man liked this woman and called her all day and everyday and then once he killed her didn't call her again cause he knew she was dead). Well he emails me the next morning (he would know I was alive then cause I sent him a email after the fire late that night that he would get in the morning) and the first thing he says is start explaining why he didn't email me and he said he didn't email me last night cause the phone and computers were out probably cause of a power outage (which makes no sense cause the lights didn't go out he said when I asked him if they did and there was no storm he said) . Then he acted like it was nothing someone had set our yard on fire. He said something like,"So someone set your yard on fire." He asked for pictures of the burn spot in the yard and when I told him I took them and asked why he wanted them he said,"Why,can't I ask for pictures?", like he was upset I asked why he wanted them and when I suggested that maybe some guys he's told me about who are mad at him (he told me to never move near where they were because they were mad at him,like they might would hurt me if I did) might have done it cause of how he acted like in the past they might hurt me and that's when he started acting real defensive and mad. He wrote back and said (all these conversations were through email),"Why would you think it has anything to do with me?" and he claimed they couldn't have done it cause they don't know who I am,even though he's made several statements in the past like the people he knows know who I am. He said,"No it's on your end that's for sure.", and when I asked him what he meant by that he said,"It means what it means that it's on your end.", like he was upset. He acted very defensive about me saying maybe those guys had something to do with it ( I even told him that it just crossed my mind that maybe they did it and that I didn't think they did it) and mad about it and seemed determined to convince me that it was "on my end" and had nothing to do with those guys. I don't understand why he would be mad and defensive about me saying maybe his enemies did it unless he did it and doesn't want me thinking anyone that he knows did it so it won't be connected to him and cause of maybe some guys he knows did do it,but not the guys who are mad at him,but guys who are him friends and he had them do it. He used to be part of a criminal organization and I believe he's still in contact with them, so they would probably do it for him if he wanted them to. Then he started insisting that my cousin did it (I had said maybe my cousin did it cause she's mad at me and I sent her a anonymous text the night before the fire happened),like he knows she did it. Also he sounded like he was blaming me for what happened and talking like I deserved the fire. Like he said that I provoked my cousin and that the fire being set was a reaction to a action that I did to someone and said that someone did it to me cause of what I did to them and I've never done anything to anyone and he knows it. Too he lied in one of the emails he wrote after the fire about asking me one

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

I am so sorry that you have been experiencing this. A fire is a very serious thing and thinking that your boyfriend did it is also very serious. It is possible that he asked someone to set fire to your place because he is angry with you and it is also possible someone is trying to get to him from the outside by getting to you. Did you ask the police what could have caused fire, and if anyone saw the person that did it (e.g. descritpion)?

DoctorZ :

Your boyfriend also has typical traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and individuals with these traits do not respond well to rejection, so he may have acted this way because of the times that you broke up with because of his abuse.

Customer: Well the fire department said that someone started both fires. No, no one saw who did it.
Customer: Oh ok.
DoctorZ :

Also individuals with NPD are very manipulative and can be very charming like you described. This is a way for them to get what they want

DoctorZ :

Here are some links explaining NPD and APD better.

Customer: Oh ok. Is his behavior after the fire suspicious and sound like he might have done it? Thanks for the links.
DoctorZ :

It is definitely suspicious since he usually emails you every night, but this time he did not. Also while many individuals that are incarcerated are usually pretty defensive, his defensiveness appears to be excessive as well as trying to shift blame of this fire to someone else, like your cousin. Did you mention this to the police at all because they can work with correctional staff and see if he had any suspicious correspondence with someone that could have set the fire.

Customer: Oh ok. No I didn't mention any of this to the police cause I'm not sure if he did it.
DoctorZ :

I understand that, but it does not hurt to mention it to the police as a possible motive and they can investigate and either clear him or not. The police have greater resources in this department, in addition they can try adding an extra patrol car near you to prevent anyone from trying this again

DoctorZ :

With your boyfriend's history of emotional abuse and threats against you, I would say that your suspicions are not unfounded.

DoctorZ :

Are you currently concerned about your safety?

Customer: Ok. I'll probably tell the police then. I thought about telling them, but wasn't sure if I should or not. Yes that's also why I'm suspicious of him cause of his emotional abuse and because he threatened me and also cause of his behavior after the fire.
Customer: Yes I'm still concerned about my safety. I figured if it is him he won't try anything again because I told him I suspecting him and the prison keeps records of the emails I think (they monitor emails) but, yes I'm worried about my safety.
DoctorZ :

They do keep track of the emails and look through their postal mail, as well as reserve the right to listen and record their phone calls. If you are concerned about your safety, can you stay with a friend or family member for a short period of time? Or even at a hotel possibly?

Customer: Oh ok. So they do keep a record of emails and look at mail and record phone calls. Well I'm going to be moving to another city in three days. I don't really have anyone I can stay with now. He knows what city I'm moving to, but he doesn't know exactly where I'm going to be living.
DoctorZ :

That is good that you are moving, and keep it a secret from him for your safety is my advice. Since you strongly suspect him, many police departments have victim services funds and can provide you with some money to help pay for a hotel if you are concerned about being in your house for the next 3 days. In addition, some women's shelters and domestic violence centers can help you as well.

Customer: Ok. I won't tell him where I'm moving. Oh ok. I've been thinking about going to a hotel, so maybe I will go to one for the next three days. Is it possible he could be acting the way he's acting and doesn't want me saying it could be them because he would feel guilty responsible if it was the men who are mad at him because he would feel like he brought them into my life by being in a criminal organization with them? Or could I be reading his behavior wrong? Would he be acting that way if not guilty?
DoctorZ :

I doubt that because he seemed readily able to blame your cousin for the fire, if he was truly being self-less he would not have said that. Most individuals with NPD and APD only think about themselves and not others, so I do not think he is acting this way out of guilt. Also it does not explain his behavior on why he did not email you that night like he usually does.

Customer: Ok. So his behavior does sound like he's guilty?
DoctorZ :

I am leaning to that based on his past behavior and current behavior, but that is not necessarily evidence that is used in a court of law, but it is suspicious on his part. I have testified on a number of cases as a forensic psychologist and his behaviors are consistent with NPD and APD, so setting fire to your house with you in it is a strong possibility.

Customer: Oh ok. What if he starts writing me again and I take him back? Is there signs that I should look for in his behavior that tells me he did do it and would hurt me?
DoctorZ :

Well most likely he wont talk about it again and just avoid talking about it or change subjects when talking about it. But for signs that he may hurt you are if he escalates his emotional or verbal abuse, makes threats to you with details, and tries to be controlling as well are all significant signs of possible future physical violence towards you. In my opinion I do not think you should take this man back at all, he has been emotionally and verbally abusive to you, made threats against you, and possibly tried to hurt you by way of the fire.

Customer: Ok. He is also controlling too. Oh ok. I probably won't go back to him. Especially now what you said about him.
DoctorZ :

Yes I think it would be wise to not go back to this man and find someone else that will treat you a lot better

DoctorZ :

Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Customer: No I guess that's it. Thanks for answering my questions and helping me.
DoctorZ :

Anytime, I am always happy to help

DoctorZ :

If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact me again at anytime

DoctorZ :

I want to wish you the best of luck and please remember to be safe

DoctorZ :

I hope I provided you with excellent service tonight

Customer: Ok. Thanks. Yes I'll be safe. Yes you did provide me with excellent service. Thanks.
DoctorZ :

Before you sign off though, I would very much appreciate if you could rate my performance in helping you so that I can get credit for this question. Thank you very much

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