The following is based on my experiences and opinions.
It is impossible to know if a “Facebook Friend” is who they present themselves to be.
I had an experience I want to share that involved meeting a fake on Facebook. It took me a couple of years to figure out who I was dealing with. It was not until our involvement ended that I stumbled on the fact that he was hiding behind a screen name.
He has every right to present himself anyway he chooses, but I have every right to expose him, as truth matters to me.
My story began in 2014. I was a newbie on Facebook and had only a dozen followers, friends, and family who lived in many places in the USA, far from me in WA state. I used my account to keep track of them. I also wrote some editorial type pieces about how I viewed the world, not directed at any particular audience.
One day I got A “Friend” request from someone calling himself Rick Atridim. He had read something I had written on depression and invited me to become a member of a group called World Think Tank (WTT). He thought we might get a discussion going on mental issues. I had been officially diagnosed as being Bipolar in 1987, and thought it might be helpful to get some open dialog going on the subject of mental illnesses. The idea flopped.
I was naive and had no idea Facebook groups were a dime a dozen. A few years later he asked me to join a second one named Chandler-Gilbert Think Tank (CGTT). I felt honored to have been invited.
This encounter ended up lasting from 2014 to April of 2018. During that time I observed and participated in both groups. Rick and I spent six months, at his request, on Skype. We video Skyped a total of 13 hours, and Skype messaged almost daily during that time.
During those years I was aware that Rick also had a personal Facebook page, Atridim News Journal, a blog on WordPress, a Flickr account, was in many Flickr based groups, and was in a Republican group in AZ, all under the name of Rick Atridim”and Captain Rick”. He also had a YouTube account. There were probably more.
After we were no long FB friends I found out that he was using Atridim as a screen name. His real name was Richard D. Masbruch. At one time I had considered us friends, an allusion on my part. I wondered if anything he had ever said had any truth to it. After some research I found he had lied by omission on many occasions.
During the “Tank” years I began to notice some strange behavior. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the groups were miss named. There was no sharing of ideas unless they matched Rick’s beliefs. He had to approve everything that was discussed. He tried to be controlling, which usually indicates insecurity. He also tried to bully, which indicates someone who is a coward. He failed miserably at those efforts, as members either ignored him or left the groups. There were hundreds of dormant members and only about a dozen active members in either group, ever. I began to think of the group as “Rick’s Soap Box”, or as one member labeled it, “The Church of Rick”. Many members left or were kicked out and blocked when Rick was challenged. One member got booted when he called Rick out on plagiarizing an article, word for word, that Politico had published. The member posted the Politico article in the comment section of Rick’s post. When I saw that I thought, “This guy’s head is going to roll”, and it did. I also began to see behavior that matched a person with Paranoia traits and a Narcissistic Personally Disorder. Google those terms and one will see a cookie cutter view of Rick, in my opinion. I kept under the radar by not speaking up when I disagreed with him. He seemed to have an insatiable desire for attention. Being condescending came natural to him.
I stuck with the groups because I was able to dodge Rick’s wrath. He liked my writing and encouraged me. He even did the heavy lifting by helping me set up a WordPress blog account. During the six months we spent on Skype turned out to be good company for me. But it was there where our involvement ultimately ended. I decided that if we were true friends I could speak up when I disagreed with him. Wrong. The last private discussion I had with him was over gun control. I have not heard from him since.
Then a few weeks later a past member messaged me and asked, “Why doesn’t Rick use his real name”? I then was directed to a website where Rick had admitted Atridim was his screen name. He put some other personal information there as well.
I decided to check public records to see what I could find. Rick had boasted about having 8 patents. He was a trained engineer. I went to the patent office website and found only six listed. One was granted to the Tennant Co. and Rick’s name was there along with Authur A Andrews. A second was granted to the same company with the two names listed above. The third one I found was granted to Steven J. Waldhauser and Rick and the company they were working for. The next three were granted to Wetrok , Inc. with both Rick and Waldhauser listed. Why I even mention this is because Rick talked about the patents as his alone. So to be factual, two companies were granted patents with two individuals names given as credit for the work.
I found other information Rick has said or told me to be to be false, but have no need to write about them. He is now permanently in my rear view mirror. I look at people on the internet and on Facebook differently since this experience.
For anyone interested in doing more research here are a few details easily found in public records. He was born in June, 71 years ago in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has also lived in New York, No. Carolina, Texas, and now in Gilbert, AZ. His address, landline number, and email can be easily found. His marriages and kids are listed as well.
From the six months we Skyped I figured out he was a recluse, and that his outside world was the internet. I felt he had some mental issues. Being Bipolar made me see him through sad eyes.
Rick has every right to use any name he chooses. But had I known he was a fake I would not have given him the time of day. I think he is a sad case and a Paper Tiger. I could write volumes on what I know and have seen over the years about him but think that would be inappropriate. My goal has been to reveal his real name and share some personal experiences or events I have witnessed. And my story is a reminder that Facebook is full of impostors. Some who have been fooled will probably not care.
I am convinced that every move he has ever made on-line has been geared towards self promotion. He wants to be “Followed”. He has tried to latch on to members and try to “Groom” them. He tried to do that with me, and I have seen him try with others. Recently he wrote in one of his groups, “Captain Rick, a Facebook pioneer, looking over your shoulder to help protect you on Facebook”. He uses the word pioneer often. I don’t think he was around when Facebook began in 2000. He throws out statistics that can not be verified by the reader. In the past he said that his News Journal had a record “Free Reach of 6000 + people in one week”. Really. I think his arms are permanently distorted from trying to pat himself on the back.
He has been my subject in several of my blogs. This will be my last on him. Writing this has been therapy for me. I wish him no harm. Thanks to public records I was able to have a few conservation with family members and past co-workers who verified much of what I observed. I have agreed to keep their names private. Everything I have written here are my opinions and observations based on the past few years;
List of Blogs about him or with him in mind………………………………………………………………………..
All Facebook Groups Are Not Created Equal…..Plus a Troubling Update 3-3-18
Paper Tigers Do Not Make Good Candidates For Friendships 12-24-17
The description for Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a candid description of what I observed in Rick. He is not either of the examples I talk about in this blog.
Can Teachers Become Friends? 12-4-17
This was a third person account in a fictional setting of what happened between Rick and me in the end.
An Unasked Question Answered….A Surprising Gift From A Friend 6-6-17
Things were going well with Rick and I at this point and I was thanking him for his role in helping me become a blogger. His comment below this blog is very telling. He takes credit for discovering and developing me, which is typical of Rick. He clearly considered me a jewel in his crown.