#35 Presumptuous neighbor out of line / Possible karma of a previous ultimatum

Dear Ann Landers: I am having a problem with my next-door neighbor. When I moved into this condo two years ago, Martha was very friendly. I felt comfortable having packages delivered to her if I was not home. We were cordial but not chummy. And that's the way I wanted it.

That changed a few months ago, when Martha asked if I would mind coming over every day to help hold down her cat while she gave it an injection. (She will have to do this every day for the rest of the cat's life). Now mind you, I'm a nice guy, but I don't want to make such a commitment. I told Martha polity, that she had been a good neighbor, and as a last resort, I would help her out, but not to depend on me to do this every day.

Now Martha isn't speaking to me. Was I out of line to refuse to help her every day? In your opinion, was she asking too much of me? Should I extend an olive branch? CAT SCRATCH FEVER IN DALLAS

Dear Scratch Fever: Martha should not have leaned on you to make such a long-term commitment. Write her a note saying you are sorry you can't be more helpful, but you are no good around needles, and if there is anything else you can do for her you would be happy to. ANN

Gabby's Response:

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Gabby’s Response:

Hi Scratch: I wish there were something I could say that would magically empower you to know the answers. It's a boundary thing. My sense is that you do know and that your questions are a smoke-screen, and, that what you really want to get to is why you karmically created (albeit unconsciously) this incident.

Her "request" was not a request. It was in fact a covert ultimatum. What she was communicating was, either you do what I want or I'll be upset and put you on my list. In other words, she didn't know it but she was through with you and came up with a plan to make you the bad guy.

I applaud you for handling it the way you did. My hit is that she needs counseling and that it wouldn't work to try and mend the fence. In other words, she's an argument looking for a sparring partner. Her request was a set-up. She was setting you up to support her in putting in her integrity. She has done this bit before and with the same results. What would restore her integrity is for her to go back and clean up the mess with whomever she tried this trick with the first time.

This is an opportunity for you to see that you created this incident to support you in completing an earlier and similar incident. Perhaps you were either the ultimatum giver or a silent co-conspirator to such an incident. Ask yourself, who in your life would say you did the same thing—asked with the intention to be refused so that you could be right that they were/are . . .

You could be looking for a time you believed you were asking your dad for something, perhaps the car, when in truth you were presenting an ultimatum—let me borrow the car or else I'll make you wrong. And, what happened was he said no, so you got angry and took away your love. It's not just that it was abusive of you, it's that you most likely have not yet acknowledged to yourself and your dad that you know it didn't feel good to him. Most everyone has one or two of these kinds of incompletes that keep us from being whole and complete, in-integrity. Our integrity then sets up life to have another do it to us so as to remind us to clean up (acknowledge) the incident with dad. It appears that there is a breakdown in communication between you and your dad/mom, otherwise it would be perfect small talk with them. Parents thrive on the acknowledgment of being presented with a solvable problem

Part of this could be that you did not acknowledge her sufficiently (in her mind) for accepting your packages, and therefore she thought the "cat" favor was a way for you to return her exceptional generosity. Who knows, she may have started planning her day and shopping times etc. to be home around delivery time? Some people do things like that.

A gift might be in order but then keep the relationship as it had been, except, no more packages, no matter what she says. To even sit down with her for a cup of tea would be suicidal behavior on your part, not until she has completed 25 hours of therapy. —Gabby

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Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 12/7/12)

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