How do I deal with a rude neighbor?


#1

We have a very rude neighbor living in our condo development. She is an elderly lady with the mouth of a longshoresman. If I see her in the lobby she will ask me or other people to do things for her like throw out her garbaage, open the door, etc. Other times she invites herself in UNINVITED for coffee, dinner, etc. to peoples homes with no apology. One time my husband and I were at her home to look some furniture she was getting rid off and she told my husband to answer her phone! And of course, we’ve been asked to take her to church on Sunday but since we go to a different one, she won’t go with us. I’m getting afraid to say anything to her when I see her in the lobby- like when she asks me what we’re having for dinner. I’m afraid she’ll come right over! She has several grown kids but I never see them around here. How should we handle this rude person?


#2

She sounds lonely actually.


#3

Well, if it were me, I would do several things. First, refrain from entering her home for any reason. When she asks personal questions (i.e., what you’re having for dinner), reply very briefly and vaguely. Keep your conversations very short, very polite, and don’t let her talk to you for longer than you want. Tell a few white lies, and she’ll take the hint after a couple days, if not, definitely after a couple weeks.


#4

*I agree with agapewolf…sounds alone, and lonely. She has no one in her life to help her? How sad.

First, pray for her. You might be doing so already, but this is always the best thing to do.

Second, try your best to help her WHEN you can. If you are able, why not, right? But it’s ok to set boundaries.

Sometimes, sadness, and fear can cause a person to become rude.

I’m wondering if she should be in some type of assisted living though…because while you are kind, maybe she walks into the wrong apartment one day, uninvited, and the person isn’t so nice, you know? Dangerous world we live in.

But, for now, I’d try to be kind and helpful. If it becomes such that she is intruding into your home, you might have to call the apartment manager…while I believe in helping people as much as possible, you can’t have someone just coming in and out of your place, uninvited…loving our neighbor doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set appropriate boundaries.

Good luck with this!*


#5

Pray for her.

Sounds like she has managed to alienate everyone close to her and is now working on you.

Reminds me of someone I know who states that they don’t see why they should have to be nice to people. They are very good at pushing peoples’ “buttons”, creating guilt where none is called for and spinning words to blame other people for real or imagined misfortunes. Give them an inch and they will take a mile.

Sometimes they are referred to as suffering from “toxic personality disorder”. In reality they may be sociopaths (or worse), suffering from some form of schizophrenia as well as other syndromes such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or clinical depression or autism.

Sometimes, they bitterly complain about not being able to control other people. And they are ANGRY at all sorts of things … hot weather, cold weather, mosquitoes, you name it. When someone tries to help, they reject the help and then blame the rejected helper for not helping.

Terrible situation and difficult for their families and friends.

You can research “toxic personality disorder” on the internet … it’s not a “real” psychological description or diagnosis, but it ought to be] … and the usual recommendation is to “unplug” … meaning to make sure they have food, clothing and shelter, but avoid being used as a punching bag by avoiding the person. Keep your door locked so she can’t walk in on you. When she gets pushy, say it’s not a good time. Tell her you will get back to her. If she tries to “enmesh” you, back away … say that it’s kind of personal and you’re not comfortable answering her phone.

They have the ability to wear you down, use you up and spit you out … and never look back at the chaos and destruction they have created … and then they move on to demolish some other victim.


#6

Bake her a cake, or a big pan of muffins.

She needs love. We are called to love.


#7

Amen.

She sounds lonely. Boundaries are good, but they need to be tempered with love.


#8

Celeste… I agree with the others. The poor soul is lonely. :sad_yes:

I’m sorry you feel as you do. And I understand your irritation. It’s difficult, being around people who are “needy”. :console: But this may be a Heaven-sent opportunity for you and your husband to earn “pearls” for your crowns in Heaven.

Maybe you could set aside one evening a week (or month)… just for her? Have her over for dinner and some conversation; and then, be firm but kind… if she invites herself over on other nights. Just tell her that you’ve made other plans… but you’ll see her on “such and such” an evening.

God bless you. It’s a hard situation.


#9

I LOVE that idea, Marie Veronica. :slight_smile:


#10

Thank you. Some good ideas here.


#11

I’m with the “she’s lonely” camp.

I read an article in Guideposts once about a similar problem a woman was having with her mother. The author felt that her mother was being intrusive and clingy after her parents’ divorce, always inviting herself over for lunch and asking for rides. The author’s solution? Give her mom lots of attention. She started planning special outings with her mother, buying her flowers on occasion. She found the neediness decreased soon thereafter.

It sort of goes against our gut reaction to distance ourselves from people we find unpleasant, but you might find that by indulging the woman and making her feel special that she stops making as many univited demands on your time. Also, I don’t find it all that odd for an elderly person to ask for help taking out the trash or answering a phone, although if she’s not asking nicely I could see how that would grate on your nerves.

God bless.


#12

I agree that she is probably very lonely. She may have been isolated from family for so long that she has lost perspective on how to socialize in a receptive way.
Also, the way you describe her it sounds almost like someone with a borderline personality disorder - a bit manipulative and bossy. She may have chased her kids away with her behaviors because she demanded to much of them. I have a MIL with borderline personality disorder, and it seems to be getting worse as she gets older.
Perhaps God has put her into your life as a test of patience and humility. I guess the goal is to be charitable without getting sucked in.
I agree, you need to maintain boundaries and not let this woman become an “emotional vampire” that sucks from you what she can. I LOVE the idea of leaving her muffins that kage_ar mentioned. Maybe keep her in mind when you are cooking something and make a little extra for her and deliver it via tupperware every now and again.
You mentioned her not wanting to visit your church - is this a different parish or a different denominations all together? If she isn’t interested in your church, perhaps what you can do is invite her if there is ever a pasta dinner or other social even with food and she might really like going there and talking to people and maybe she will become interested in attending.


#13

I vote for the lonely camp.

Growing up, there was a lady who called my mom EVERY DAY. My dad called her “the pest”. Sometimes she called twice a day. If I happened to answer the phone,she would talk to me for several minutes and then ask for my mom. Then she could talk for an hour. Rarely did my mom say anything; it was all listening. This woman did not drive. When her husband died, she then called my mom to take her grocery shopping and to church. My mom did so for 20+ years. My mom rarely complained about doing it, although she would relate parts of her conversations with this woman who often complained about her life. Something was often “wrong”. This woman had some health problems in later years and ended up in a nursing home for 2 years before she died. My mom would go to visit her occassionally. Apparently my mom was the only person who ever visited her. She and her husband never had kids, her siblings had all died years earlier, and she literally had no family.

So maybe it is something similar with this person. She may just be very lonely.


#14

How to deal with rude neighbor? Change your perspective.
You say she’s rude, but by your description it sounds like she is treating you as family. As her family.
She isn’t being rude. She’s being assertive. Why wait for an invitation that isn’t coming? She is standing up and letting people know she wants to be included.
That doesn’t mean you have to include her. AND you don’t need to tell any white lies. (can’t believe I read that) . You simply tell her that now is not a good time. Then walk her out the door.
Please put your self in her position and show her mercy. Life is hard when you are old and alone.


#15

You all be careful out there.

It may indeed be loneliness.

And if that’s all it is, then God bless you for being a friend and companion.

On the other hand, there are folks with legitimate serious mental illness … borderline personality disorder, for example. And you need to draw a line between “enabling” and “companionship”. Between entering into a mutually destructive relationship and being a good neighbor.

There is a legitimate reason why “tough love” is advocated in some situations.

You need to be aware of the differences.

Here are a few things to read and to be aware of.

authorsden.com/visit/viewArticle.asp?id=37642


#16

I’ll have to disagee with the “she’s lonely” bit. Several years ago, I lived in the same building as one “handicapped” lady. Sure, she was handicapped, but she used it as an excuse to get others to do things for her that she was perfectly capable of doing herself. One day I got home from the doctor’s office. I had just gotten ready to go back to bed ( this was still fairly early for this, but I was feeling that lousy) when someone knocked on my door. Well it was this lady. She started her usual bit. “Can you help me?” I told her no because I was sick. She asked the same question two more times. I finally got fed up and told her I had just gotten home from the doctors, I wasn’t feeling well and I was going to bed. After that, everytime there was a knock on my door, I used my peep hole. If it was her, I wouldn’t answer.

Sound a bit harsh? Well, I had myself to look after. Ok, so that sounds selfish. But I got tired of being expected to help her when she could do the stuff herself. Or she already had help with that particular activity. Now this may sound trivial, but it shows what I mean. We had a soda machine in the common room on the first floor. I had seen her get one by herself, and open it by herself, many times. But she would try to get someone else to do it for her every chance she got. One day I was waiting by the front door for my ride to church. They were running late so I was already on edge. Well, she came to me and shoved some change in my face, and told me to go get her a soda. I refused, saying I was waiting on someone. Her reply? “I’m waiting on someone as well!” As if that was an excuse to not do something for herself.

Stand your ground. Don’t let her in at mealtimes. Don’t go into her house fi at all possible. The next time she starts barking orders, don’t give in. You’re not her servant/slave. Be kind, of course. But she may not be completely aware of how she is pushing people away. Like when she demands someone answer her phone, simply say, “It’s your phone, you answer it.” And then don’t allow yourself to get dragged into an argument.


#17

If not only lonely, it’s possible there may be some mental illness, or at least a lack of boundaries. How would I deal with her? Honestly-with compassion.I would explain to her why her behaviors are offensive. I would pray for her. and I would also pray that the Holy Spirit enlighten me as to what I am to do for this- the least of His Brothers( sister in this instance).

And then I would give thanks that the Lord has given me an opportunity to serve Him through spiritual and corporal works of Mercy.

And I would remember that saying no to someone at times is ok.


#18

This person sounds lonely too. Just because they are abrasive or offensive or rude in the way they try to get company and interaction with people doesn’t mean the underlying motivation isn’t loneliness.


#19

Until you mentioned that she had grown children I had thought we had the same neighbor!!!

I think there is middle ground here. She may be lonely, but that does not mean that you have to put up with her rude behavior.

I suggest that you rent the movie “As Good As It Gets” - the Helen Hunt character was able to successfully stand up to the rude Jack Nicholson character. Maybe it can give you a few ideas.


#20

The subject matter of this thread really hits a MAJOR nerve with me.
I have had the same types of experiences with the types of rude people being discussed here.

Yes, SOME of these people are lonely. Yes, SOME of these people MAY be without family etc. but otherwise capable of doing things for themselves.

HOWEVER: I have no tolerance for rude, pushy, demanding people. I have been taken advantage of numerous times by people I “felt sorry for” when I tried to “do the Christian thing:” These people do nothing but take advantage of well meaning people and they are MASTERS at it. I can see them coming a mile away. They go from one poor soul to another doing the same thing. It’s calculated and selfish.

God does not expect us to be taken for fools. I learned this the hard way.

IF you are having a problem with people like this, SAY SOMETHING to them. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then you aren’t under any obligation to continue “helping them” and you can go on with YOUR life, guilt free, and direct your good intentions and help toward those who genuinely deserve and need it.

Learn to recognize when you’re being taken advantage of and say NO.


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