Defining Boundaries

I had a serious talk with one of my docs about defining and protecting personal boundaries. Let me make this very long, complicated story short. A friend mis-defined medical issues she claims to have suffered due to my tenant’s use of wood finishes. Yes, she lives next door to mom’s mainland house. Upon deep examination of the situation, this friend’s MO, on top of repeated lying to me about her multiple perceived reactions, is one of pathological negativity, all the time. Her claims of 8-10 episodes of anaphylactic shock, without evidence of epinephrine use or runs to the ER (believe me, I know of what I speak) are BOGUS. And don’t tell me, further, you’re on the verge of respiratory collapse due to the wood finish smells when you smoke pot in front of me, regularly.

I have, over the course of this friendship, needed to take breaks. This person gets very intense about topics she is unable or unwilling to affect, but has no problem getting riled, charged up, and in your face about said topics. Yes, we all get enthusiastic about causes from time-to-time, but we either chill out or get active and actually try to make a difference. When I shared with the doc the startling way in which her family was treating her last spring and summer, how she kept telling me about what could only be described as emotional and financial abuse, and how in the same breath that she complained, she said there was absolutely nothing to be done about it. She had to take it. My doc smiled and said, “Your trouble is that you think you’re dealing with someone who’s a problem solver.” The light bulb clicked.

It’s time to roll back this relationship. It’s not the first time I’ve needed to redefine a friendship. The past few times I’ve had to extract myself from a friendship it was easier. Distance was involved. I confess that I am worried (recall she suffers from enthusiasms) that were I to tell her to ‘shove off,’ she’d make life hell for my tenant. While I don’t want to be held hostage (or sound overly dramatic), I also don’t want to hurt anyone, her included.

A few weeks out from this ‘event’ she is behaving, save wanting to go for a walk ‘n talk to share her perspective on what transpired, as though nothing happened. I am gently turning her down: Can’t work for her due to tendonitis (fact). Can’t pick up plants with her tomorrow due to needing to make lots of other stops (only two, but it works). Did not reply to the walk invite.

Meanwhile my tenant has installed a filtration system, and will coordinate with her so as to avoid spraying while she’s home. I now leave these communications up to them, as it should be between neighbors. I will continue to work on my carefully cultivated sense of inner peace.

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