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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Conflict Resolution?

I don't want to move out of my apartment but I'll have to
if my landlady doesn't stop driving me bananas.

Michael David Crawford, Consulting Software Engineer
mdcrawford@gmail.com

October 21, 2006

Copyright © 2006 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

Last week I gave notice to move out of my apartment because my landlady was driving me bananas. All Saturday afternoon she pounded on my door trying to wake me up. I couldn't get her to stop until I swore at her at the top of my lungs.

The whole time I've lived here she's been trying to be helpful in ways that don't respect my personal boundaries. For example she constantly frets over me spending my own money, despite my having a job as a Senior Software Engineer with a really good salary.

Last Saturday night I finally had enough. Or thought I did. But then she brought me some chocolate pudding in a dessert cup, on a plate, garnished with kiwi fruit slices. How could I refuse her kindness? I felt like an absolute heel for getting mad at her.

I think she honestly doesn't understand how or why she's offending me when she tries to "help" me in ways that are inappropriate. I'd like your help in finding a way to explain it to her.


I am teh Unsmart suggested my landlady is crazy. That by itself wouldn't be enough to move out - I have many crazy friends that I get along with just fine. Who would I be to complain about crazy people?

I'm pretty sure she is obsessive-compulsive. Obsessive-compulsive people are driven by anxiety. I am obsessive-compulsive too. We find carrying out our compulsions to be soothing to our anxiety. Anything that prevents performing our compulsions just makes us more anxious.

In my landlady's case, her compulsion is to be nice, or to be helpful. Or at least what she thinks is nice or helpful. Protesting that I don't need or want the help doesn't make her stop, it just makes her all the more anxious, so that she redoubles her efforts to help me.

Hence her refusal to stop trying to get me out of bed until I yelled at her, and very angrily so.

However, I really do think she is a genuinely nice person. On several occasions we've chatted together over coffee. I think she could be a good friend, if some way were found for us to make peace with each other.

There are some practical considerations too. I've been looking for a new apartment for a week. All the places I'm finding are either much farther from downtown or a much farther walk to the SkyTrain. I live very close to the Joyce SkyTrain station, and so can get to work in about twenty minutes. None of the other places I've checked out offer such a short commute.

Also my current apartment came completely furnished. Just about anywhere else I could rent, I'd have to buy furniture. Money isn't as tight as it used to be but Bonita and I want to use it to pay down our debts and to put money in the bank. Any furniture I buy would just be redundant once Bonita graduates and she moves out here to join me.

I knocked on my landlady's door today - she lives upstairs from me - with the intention to have a talk with her, but her husband F. said she was at the store. Eventually I tired of waiting for her and decided to come downtown to write this.

I am completely at a loss as to how to explain my position to her in a way that she will understand. For example, during the first couple weeks that I lived there she kept rearranging my furniture. When I told her I didn't want her to do that, she would say "Oh, it's no problem. I don't want you to have to do it. I don't mind." I was completely unable to convey the concept that I found it upsetting for her to invade my space that way. When I complained, she thought I was just trying to spare her the effort, but it wasn't that at all.

The way a psychologist or a twelve-step person would put it is that she has boundary issues. She doesn't respect the boundaries of other people.

My own problem, of which I am well aware, is that I'm not very assertive. When she tramples all over my boundaries, I'm too polite in protesting. I say "You don't have to do that," whereas I should be saying "I don't want you to do that. I find it offensive." The result is that the offensive behaviour continues while I get more and more angry - but quietly so.

Until I can't take it anymore, at which time I explode like I did last Saturday. I must have scared the crap out of her.

I am grateful for any help you can give me.

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