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Dealing With Toxic Neighbors

There is usually one in every neighborhood - that's right, the dreaded 'Town Crier' neighbor who makes it her business to know everyone else's business and, just like the control freaks that are found in every company in Corporate America - if you don't tow the line - that is, fit in with the program, or more to the point, with their agenda, you can expect to be badmouthed throughout the neighborhood. After a while, you are ostracized to the point where most of your neighbors no longer want to make eye contact with you anymore. They've heard! They KNOW. And, they don't want to be the next victim on the list of the hypocritcal neighbor -- the same one who is going around with her 'hear ye', 'hear ye' bell maligning you - all the while still making her Sunday church visit...

Scary, isn't it? I know - it's happened to me. I am a firm believer in keeping arm's distance from your neighbors - less this exact fate befall me/you. And, I did just that - still and all, I was 'targeted' because I did not meet the expectations of the toxic neighbor. This would be a neighbor who needs to be popular - who needs your adoration -- who gets some type of self-esteem or ego boost by offering her help - but, beware, it comes with a price - she has a hidden agenda and will exact her pound of flesh - and, if you do not adhere to certain unspoken requirements, you will wind up the unwitting victim of her wrath. Believe me, she can make your life miserable - and she knows it. Are your ears burning?

So, in line with the above - I'm appealing to anyone who has a private vendetta going on - to turn over a new leaf and treat their fellow neighbor with respect. Try and call a truce - wave the white flag. Invite them over for tea or coffee. Send them a holiday card. Bake some cookies. Something - anything. Try it. Don't be a hypocrite. Maybe, just maybe, you misunderstood. Maybe you have made a mountain out of a molehill. You took it all way too far. You will be lucky now if you can recoup the respect. Stop the maliciousness.

Yes, people can be so cruel - even the ones that 'feign' helpfulness, sweetness and light. My neighbor was oh-so-nice in the beginning, very helpful - I knew it was too good to be true. I also got the cookies at holiday time - then one day, because I snuck out the front door at 7:00 a.m. early one summer morning to re-position my lawn sprinkler with my robe on, I got caught - my neighbor came scurrying up my walkway talking to me -when I had just barely opened my eyes and the coffee was still brewing - I knew, I just knew - that if I tried to explain I was embarrassed and not ready for public display that early - I would wind up 'chopped liver' and maybe even on a hit list. Well, it happened. I attempted to explain to her that I don't like to be caught with no makeup on (not to mention still in my nightgown) - but it fell on deaf ears. All she knew was that I was not making myself available to her - when she wanted me to be available.

I realized then I was supposed to be in servitude after 'all that she had done for me'. She felt I should forego my own embarrassment, not to mention my privacy, to suit her need at the moment. I was apparently duty-bound to show her I would drop my right to my personal 'space'; I didn't see it that way. From that moment on - she suddenly lost her 'Sunday spirituality' - the person who was at church every Sunday and feigned helpfulness, sweetness and light! And so it went....from that point on she became the neighbor-from-hell -systematically rude (at times insulting) to me every chance she got - all the while telling neighbors I had been rude to her!

From that day on her entire family stopped talking to me! Gone was the friendliness, the 'Kumbaya' spirit - there was now a 'pall' over our area of the block. I could feel the frost whenever one of them passed me by - not even a wave of a hand. I still cannot believe this is the same person/family that was so hospitable in the very beginning. They turned on me quicker than an informant who goes into witness protection.

They have treated me as if I had committed a crime -and even worse, as if I had perpetrated a crime on them! It revolts me when one person manages to turn anyone and everyone they can against another person because they are annoyed with that particular person. You know the type. They have the 'power' and they 'wield' it. Yes, there are lots of them out there. They are somehow adept at enlisting fellow accomplices in their duplicitous, hateful and vindictive behavior - and, surprisingly, they gather their network of accomplices in this abhorrent behavior rather quickly; not to mention the fact that I barely (if at all) know these enlistees in dasdardly deeds. Yet, when Sunday rolls around - they are among the first at church!

Holding a grudge is toxic - to everyone involved.

'Tis the season.....check your ego(s) and hypocrisy at the door - shake off the chip on your shoulder(s) and try to empathize rather than casting the first stone. Remember, every one of us is ENTITLED to our own personal space. What might be okay for you may not be comfortable for your neighbor, or fellow man. Respect people's right to their privacy. Try to be more empathetic. Also remember that to forgive is 'Divine'.

Happy Holidays - Ho..ho..ho


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