Need Guidance


#1

Hello, I’m not quite sure how to handle a situation and was hoping for some guidance, I just cannot seem to come up w/the right action. We live in a great neighborhood, all young and middle aged couples w/kids. My husband and I are the only ones w/out kids. There is one couple who I will call Jack and Diane. Diane is constantly talking about everyone behind their backs and Jack just goes along w/her as she seems to dictate the house rules. Diane is home, by choice, w/a 4 mos. old and a 6 yr. old. It would seem that she has everything a person could want. Not only does Diane constantly complain/talk bad about the neighbors BEHIND THEIR BACKS, she is always in everyones business. If she sees you working on a project but does not know what it is, she’s not embarrased to ask others what you are doing. She uninvited will pull up a chair in your house and not leave. If she is not told where a person is, she’s not afraid to ask someone else where you are. She is constantly complaining (when Jack is not around) about how he is not help as he works long hours and even went so far as to say that she would be better off if he were gone for a week at a time (which is the situation of another mom w/a 3 yr old on our street). She abuses the kindness of everyone by not reciprocating favors, especially babysitting. She calls her kid stupid in front of everyone and even “hangs out” in the home of a married man while Jack is gone and the man’s wife are not home… We even invited Jack & Diane out to dinner w/our group and because the group was so big the reservations were not until late in the eve. Jack and Diane said they would not join us this time as it would be too late but maybe next time. Well would you believe that same eve Jack and Diane saw some mutual friends and told them that we all went to dinner and left them out just because they have kids… After long discussion and catching Diane in some lies and what I thought were inappropriate words/behaivors, my spouse and I have chosen to no longer socialize w/Diane and Jack but be cordial (without going out of our way) when we see them as they live across the street from us (kiddy corner, their 2nd story bedroom window looks into our house!). Diane admits to constantly watching out her bedroom window to see what is going on and thinks it is funny! We now completely close all of our blinds in the early eve. Jack and Diane are the only ones on our street that we don’t socialize with and it has become obvious to the others. Jack and Diane have begun making inappropriate comments about us to the others. I was most recently told by a friend that Jack and Diane called us racist. They are an interractial couple as are several other friends in our neighborhood. I took offense to this more than my husband and thought that this is a serious accusation and don’t know how to address it. Our friend that told me about this said that when they asked Jack and Diane to back their comment up, they of course could not come up w/an answer… They have not been welcome into our home for some time. I’m thinking that we should confront Jack and Diane but don’t know if that is or is not the right thing to do. Diane is a very vengeful person, the parents are afraid of her, particularly since the kids play together. My spouse and I are concerned since we live right across the street from Jack and Diane. … Unfortunately we’ve all let Diane become the monster she is by not saying anything. Warm weather is coming up and I know what it is like to be left out of get togethers but I don’t want this behavior in my home… They know when/who is over our house as they can also see partly onto our side patio… Please help, what should we do? We don’t want to give in and move, I’m at a loss. I know that ultimately things will work themselves out but right now I’m confused. Sorry for the long e-mail but thank you so much for your guidance and caring.


#2

The truth will set you free, and the longer you contain it, the less likely you are to handle this tough situation with good christian charity. Be upfront and honest, or else one day youll blow your cork and not give a hoot about her feelings…IMHO.


#3

Yes, this is a very delicate and troublesome situation, but unfortunately not uncommon.

The most practical advice I can give is be open to how the situation changes. You certainly do not need to have obnoxious people in your home, but yes, it is hard to exclude only one couple. Maybe only have one or two couples at a time, or do not entertain yourself for a while? See how the situation progresses.

If this does not work, perhaps you could have a general conversation with a group of women, and without mentioning names discuss the things you have mentioned here. Just talk about what makes a good or bad neighbor. Speak privately with a few of the other woman, so they can help in the discussion. It may work–try other ways before confrontig her directly.


#4

I can sympathize with your situation since I have a “Diane” who lives right next door to me.

I have found the best way to respond is with Christian charity - lots of loving truth -filled words even when your blood is boiling. I am sure my neighbor talks about me behind my back because she does it with everyone else and there is no reason for me to think I am immune. I pray for her and know that I cannot get worked up about what she has to say about me because I do not ascribe to her values. Over the past three years she seems to have developed a respect for “how calm” I am. Even if she has not changed her ways, I feel I am being a good witness to her.

I will share some examples of ways I try to be charitable without being confrontational. When she ridicules a neighbor in front of me (even if inwardly I agree there is some truth to what she is saying), I will mention the nice things the person has done for our neighborhood - planning a block party, etc. I never say “Yes, but” or “No”. I simply make the statement. When she says, “Yeah, but doesn’t it bother you.” I always say that I feel it is hard to know why other people do as they do since we don’t know all their circumstances.

She complains about her husband to me and I will point out some things that would be a treat to me that her husband does for her. She normally ends up say “He is a pretty good one, I guess.” I think she thinks I am jealous of her “good husband” and that makes her feel good. I let her think what she will because at least she is refocused on the positive.

Once she came over with her only son (3), whom she tells everyone she can’t stand. I have 5 children. All the children were playing in the back yard, when she said, “Don’t kids suck! I tell you if I ever get pregnant again, it’s abortion city for me.” I sat telling her of all the wonderful things my kids do that I cannot imagine never having the experience of enjoying.

Don’t let your neighbor intimidate you. Be calm. Be loving. Speak the truth. Hope that helps. Carrie


#5

Just another thought. Sometimes people get angry if you point out the good when they are upset or complaining about something. You can also just sympathize with their feeling (not agreeing or disagreeing) and it will be less inflamitory.

“Yes, it is frustrating when someone upsets you, lets talk about something more pleasant” It doesn’t always work, but it’s sometimes worth a try.


#6

I’ll give you a hint…you (and the rest of the neighborhood) have not made Diane into the monster she is by failing to discipline her like you would an unruly child…she came to you that way. What you have allowed is for this woman has become a monster in the sense of how she monopolizes you every move. Forget about her. Do as you would without measuring your every move against the “Diane meter.” By all means be civil and polite and do NOT talk about her in any way with the other neighbors–it will only backfire no matter how well-intentioned. Anyone this negative and needy has no place in your life given your other responsibilities.


#7

call her on it, every time she does it, quietly, non-confrontationally, but consistently, the first time she makes a negative comment. It works best if the neighbors agree to try it, but at least you can make your home a Diane-free zone.

Diane, I hate to hear you talking about your husband (sister, neighbor) in that way, please stop it immediately, I find it offensive, or you will have to leave.

Diane, I do not allow anyone to gossip about my friends and neighbors. Stop it immediately, I find it offensive.

Diane, I am busy now, much as I enjoy your company, but you have to leave now.

this was my mother’s tactic, it works if you are firm, non-aggressive, but assertive and ALWAYS follow through–escorting her to the door, shutting and locking it behind her.

twice I heard my mother do this in a drastic way - “Mrs. X, my doctor and my pastor have ordered me not to invite negative, hateful people into my life. I will be praying for you, but you are not welcome here until you can stop speaking about your children/husband/family/neighbors/me in that hateful way. Goodbye.”


#8

[quote=puzzleannie]call her on it, every time she does it, quietly, non-confrontationally, but consistently, the first time she makes a negative comment. It works best if the neighbors agree to try it, but at least you can make your home a Diane-free zone.

Diane, I hate to hear you talking about your husband (sister, neighbor) in that way, please stop it immediately, I find it offensive, or you will have to leave.

Diane, I do not allow anyone to gossip about my friends and neighbors. Stop it immediately, I find it offensive.

Diane, I am busy now, much as I enjoy your company, but you have to leave now.

this was my mother’s tactic, it works if you are firm, non-aggressive, but assertive and ALWAYS follow through–escorting her to the door, shutting and locking it behind her.

twice I heard my mother do this in a drastic way - “Mrs. X, my doctor and my pastor have ordered me not to invite negative, hateful people into my life. I will be praying for you, but you are not welcome here until you can stop speaking about your children/husband/family/neighbors/me in that hateful way. Goodbye.”
[/quote]

No beating around the bush with you, Annie!! Love your honest and outspoken style!!


#9

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.