My troublesome neighbours completely filled our garden waste bin without consulting us yesterday:

Full Bin

I was incandescently furious when I saw it. I made myself walk inside so I didn’t march right up to them and start a slanging match. There will be a time to have that conversation, but that time is not when you’re quivering with rage.

I went through my usual process of invalidating my emotions (“Why are you so angry? It’s only a bin”) to refuelling it (“Yes, but it only gets emptied once a fortnight, and I had some stuff of my own I wanted to prune this weekend!”) to then feeling guilty and ashamed about my anger.

This morning, I can look at my anger and think: it was justified. You don’t just go around presuming to fill your neighbour’s bin without asking their permission, especially not five days before they’re emptied. That’s just not on. On the other hand, I can see that becoming incandescently furious about this may be seen as an overreaction, which means that something else was fuelling my anger.

I’m working on the theory that it was the violation of boundaries which made me so furious. I know I have major boundary issues, deriving in no small part from not having been taught to form good boundaries in my childhood, and having them violated so many times since. Β I also have a very dysfunctional relationship with anger, so my rage fired up a whole host of secondary emotions – guilt, shame, self-loathing, etc.

My neighbours have been a pain in the butt this week. OK, they have a cute puppy which dotes on me, but they have also:

  • denied me access to my house by parking their car in my driveway
  • asked me to park my car on the street so they could use the entire driveway … whereupon some idiot knocked my front headlight out
  • put rubbish into our “normal” rubbish bin; this had their names on it, so I put it back in theirs
  • left their gate banging in the wind, which kept me awake, so I had to go out and close it, which mucked up my sleep
  • woken us up late at night by being noisy.

Clearly it’s time for a bit of a chat.

Back to the boundaries thing. I suspect quite a few of us who suffer mood disorders have issues with boundaries. Am I right in thinking this? Do you have problems saying “no” when people ask you to do things, or having an overly strong emotional reaction when your boundaries are violated (as I did with our bin)? I’d be very interested to know. I’d also love to hear from any psychologists or therapists who are reading!

xx DB


Filed under Out

30 responses to “Neighbours

  1. I think you are fair in being upset with your neighbours. It sounds to me as if your neighbours are taking advantage of you.


    • Yes, they have been, this past week.
      Still, going in guns blazing might make me feel better, but won’t improve the situation. Calm discourse might. As might the great, big, waterproof sign I’m currently creating to put above our bins: “PLEASE DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN THESE BINS WITHOUT CONSULTING US FIRST” πŸ™‚ My husband will probably veto it, but it’s making me feel good right now.


  2. I think your reaction to the situation was acceptable. And I think most people would have had the same reaction in that instince. You’ve been very kind and generous to your neighbours and all they seem to have done in return is take advantage of you, your belongins, and your guys’ relationship. They take and take and take. You have every right to be upset with them.
    Also I think a little chat when your calm is a great idea. Maybe they are a little… Slow… And don’t realize the result of their actions.


    • So true. I think they are pretty self-absorbed people. Between my “fire” and my husband’s (perhaps overly?) cautious “ice” we’ll find the ideal way forward. In the meantime, I’ve gone ahead and made a sign about not putting anything in our bins without asking permission – it felt very good to write it up using a giant black permanent marker! I haven’t put it up yet, though; probably a good idea to wait until my partner’s home in case they chuck the sads and get antsy. Even though my anger is righteous, that doesn’t mean it makes me impervious πŸ™‚


      • Haha…chuck the sads (love your ausie words). But yes, good idea about doing it together.
        I made a big sign in permanent marker today too.. But sadly mine is not about any bin but about the bathroom. You’d think people would know how to use one?
        Anyhow, I hope they get the message!


      • Actually we usually say “chuck the shits” but “chuck the sads” is the sanitized version πŸ˜‰ Bathrooms – ugh. I mean, seriously, people! How hard is it?!


      • Both are quite funny, I’m going to try to use it tomorrow!
        Yeah… That’s what can be read in between the lines of my sign…


  3. Well done with realizing that your anger was justified but exacerbated by the infringement on your boundaries. I think that I have a lot of boundary issues too. Just tonight I was resenting the fact that there were extra people training with us at yoga tonight so my space shrank to my mat with hands or feet smacking into people when you moved. I think that I also get angry a lot “on principle”. Someone does something that I think is wrong and I can’t accept that. It’s something I’ve been working on letting go of this year.


    • It’s hard, isn’t it? I was never allowed to be angry as a kid so never learnt to be angry well. I think I’m improving. As always, I want to be perfect NOW, dammit! πŸ™‚ But that might have to wait awhile.


  4. Im glad im not the only one with boundary issues like this. I would have wanted to strangle them and I most likely would have yelled at them! In my opinion it is completely fair for you to get upset in that situation, it’s absolutely rediculous what they are doing! Hopefully you find a solution to the problem!


  5. That would have irritated me majorly. It’s like when people park in my car space, it’s just rude!


  6. jenusingword

    These neighbors are awful and inconsiderate, just rude. I think you should talk to the landlord. I hope it improves asap!


      • jenusingword

        This is what I don’t like about reading notifications, I don’t see my comment with yours, thus I get confused, lol. I’m sorry to ask but what are we “me too-ing” lol?! I’m so sorry kitten, it’s 2 am here and while I’m not feeling tired, my brain says otherwise lol!


      • Things improving ASAP with the neighbours! But if it’s past 2am, I hope you don’t read this until you’ve had a good night’s sleep.


      • jenusingword

        Good to hear! And sadly, I never sleep well due to pain. Tonight or this morning rather, is no different. Pain is always an issue.


  7. jenusingword

    Just read the comments about the sign and it made me think of this website Please look it over, it might change your mind about the sign. More importantly, you might have a nice laugh;)


  8. I seem to be in a nosy, advice giving mood – so please take anything I say with a grain of salt! I think it would be too bad to ‘go to war’ with your neighbours. The consequences could last far beyond the current annoyance and could be more troublesome than ever. You will likely have a relationship with them, longterm, so it might pay to be cautious. So I think your plan of running things by the hub, who is cooler, is excellent. You want to state your boundaries, but do so respectfully I’d think. It’s not always obvious to all what the correct behaviour for a shared garden bin is.

    Anger from childhood is important, but you don’t want it slopping over into adult life (impossible, but worth striving for).

    As I said, just my two cents.


    • I appreciate your two cents πŸ™‚

      In the past, I would have reacted in the heat of the moment, and I’m glad I was able to contain that, and wait for a cooler head to return home.

      Your two cents are always welcome! … and then as I typed that, I realized it wasn’t always true, in general; advice is welcome, provided it’s couched in respectful terms, as yours is. Thank you.


  9. Boundaries?? What are those? Methinks I need to learn about them eventually… πŸ™‚

    No lessons in boundaries as a kid either. And, no lessons in anger and appropriate ways to manage it, so I have a hard time there too. I’m pretty sure I qualify as experiencing “childhood emotional neglect”. You would hardly call my parents neglectful – we were always well cared for, and had an uneventful childhood, especially compared to so many. But, my parents didn’t provide any real tools for dealing with emotions. In fact, emotions were generally discouraged.

    As for the neighbors, at least you get some puppy snuggles! πŸ™‚


  10. Yay. You did just the right thing. Recognised the anger, took a breath and stepped back. I would be feeling just as angry as you. Noisy and banging gate…hmmm, annoying but not necessarily deliberate just lacking thought or awareness. The bin is different and, for me at least, suggests a lack of respect and that it what gets my anger going. So don’t feel guilty or as if you’re over reacting. On the flipside…I probably wouldn’t do the note…if you don’t feel up to speaking with them then I think a letter would be a better way to express things. Let us know how it goes.


    • About two hours ago (so very early morning here) I put up a sign without any emphasized words, and with a picture of a flower at the bottom: “Please don’t put any material in these bins w/out discussing with us. I’m sure you’ll agree this is a reasonable request.” I may not have done it except I went to put some garbage in our garbage bin last night and there were two bags of their trash in it (their bin is already overflowing). I think the note I chose to write was polite, respectful and friendly. I don’t feel up to having a conversation with them ATM but I also don’t feel like putting up with disrespectful behaviour.
      What do you think of the wording of my note?


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