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