How to handle the hoarding neighbour that keeps bringing unwanted items

in life •  3 months ago

not-hear-2687975_960_720.jpgAlexas_Fotos

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Helpful neighbours with good intentions

Well, most of our neighbours aren't really people that we talk to. We greet them when we see them, but most of them don't speak any other language than Hungarian. There is this one old lady that lives on another floor, and one day she started signing that we should be careful with our daughter standing outside because she can fall down if she climbs. The first time I thought well, of course, we are not stupid.. and was a bit annoyed by her interference. A while after that she bumped into my boyfriend and started telling him in German that her grandchild had fallen down from the second or third floor at age 3 or something. The mother was cooking inside and lost her sight on the child for maybe a brief second, and then the child died falling down. Now, this is horrible, and she was very emotional telling him this story. Now we understood why she was so persistent in making this clear to us because she has lost a grandchild that fell down in a similar building. Let me be clear, that I never allow our daughter to put her foot on the fence or even touch it (to be safe) and she is never in front of our door without one of us being there. We even lock the door every single time we go back inside, to make sure she won't open the door while we are (for example) on the toilet and she sneaks out. So we are very very careful with this anyway.

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But the lady keeps repeating herself

So I tried to tell her that she shouldn't keep repeating it because we are careful without her telling us to do so. And by keep repeating it in my head it's like the law of attraction: you are envisioning it. And calling it to happen. She doesn't understand that every time she does this I see it happening, and with that, I fear it will happen. I hate this, focussing on this is not the same as being careful. We are careful and she'll never be able to stand there without us being in on only 1-meter distance max. It's actually getting on my nerves now, and I tell myself to translate it with the translate app for the next time she does this, so I can make myself clear here. I know her intentions are good, and I feel horrible that she's lost a grandchild, but this must not affect us in a way that she's summoning the higher powers to let make the accident happen. (Yeah that's over exaggerating but to clear up my feeling about the law of attracting that has shown us many times in the past that it really works that way.)

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Now there's another thing I have to deal with

The lady seems to be a hoarder looking at her balcony and what she carries in and out of her apartment. That's not my problem and I don't care if she is, but now she seems to have a new mission: dumping everything with us. And that's where I do have a problem. We don't have an apartment filled with storing space, we even only have a very small wardrobe that barely fits our clothes. And we would like to keep it this way. I am storing some clothes for the other seasons under the bed, which I already don't find a very pleasant sight, but hey, I got to leave it somewhere. A few weeks ago, there was a children's backpack filled with two stuffed animals in it in front of our door. Of course our daughter sees this, and wants to have them immediately. The items weren't smelling very pleasant though, so now I had to tell her this needs to be washed first. She didn't like that, and then the second problem appeared, one of the stuffed animals wasn't complete anymore, the stuffing came out at several places. And that together with the smell doesn't make me want to repair it. But the other stuffed animal is still her favourite. But for me, this is where it needs to end, because she has way too many stuffed animals, and we needed to dump a few already, now this lady keeps giving these animals and they don't look/smell that good either. I'm not too fond of that.

IMG_0411.JPGOne of the boxes with stuff

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A few days ago another visit

She came with a big box of stuff, my daughter was still sleeping so I didn't want to make a fuzz and just smiled and said thank you, thinking I would deal with this later. This one was filled with more stuffed animals (I mean come on, what do some people think, that parents enjoy having their house filled with 100 of these things that keep collecting dust too) but also with Christmas decoration. And she mentioned (if I understood her correctly) that she had two Christmas trees and wanted to give one for "the baby" (she's two and a half lol). After she left I had a look in the box, and was telling myself I should really not be smiling and say thank you, but refuse those things. Because now I have another box filled with things I don't need nor want, and I have no room for keeping my own items that I do like already. The last thing we need is another ugly box in sight on top of the wardrobe. I was so happy that when we finally had the wardrobe, I wouldn't be looking at my laundy constantly. So I told myself that the next day or so, I needed to translate something in my app so as soon as she showed up again, I could explain it to her in a way that she knew I'm grateful for the offer, but I have no space, and interest in having all these items that we won't use anyway. So that she does understand and we have no miscommunication. Unfortunately that same afternoon she called me again from her floor and had another bag and some other stuff in her hands signing she would come up, I waved that I didn't want it. She wanted to come anyway, and so I waved again to refuse. But of course now she doesn't understand why, and most likely she'll show up again soon, or maybe even put it in front of our door.. sigh...

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I need to be clear here

I know what I need to do, but I also know many people will think it's ungrateful to not accept these stuff want to give you. And I have the feeling she is one of them. She is collecting all these stuff for a reason because I've seen her collecting stuff on the streets too. She probably takes it home because she thinks she can make someone happy with it, while I'm not going to be that person, lol. I wish I would have a bit more backbone and tell her right away, but of course, she comes unannounced and not expected. So a reminder to myself, to make that translation after I dropped this post. I'm also going to give her back the box with stuff, as it's filled with dirty stuff which we'll never use anyway. I'm actually very happy that after two moves from country to country, we've managed to not have our house filled with unused stuff. Because in Holland we kept a lot of stuff that we didn't use for years, which was only a burden in the end. But I know that's hard to explain to someone that doesn't mind to have her house filled with stuff she doesn't need. And don't get me wrong, our daughter has plenty of stuff to play with, and plenty of stuffed animals too, that it already feels like too much clutter already lol. As I don't want to hurt her feelings, I hope this way she'll understand that we don't want and need the stuff she brings, but we appreciate her effort. I don't want to be rude, or ungrateful but I don't want to be annoyed by looking at all the stuff we don't need either. So fingers crossed this will work out fine. So now I'll start making that translation to tell her :)

Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you handle it? Of course there's the language barrier too, that makes it a bit difficult for me to act right away. Because if I would speak Hungarian or she would understand English very well, I would not have a problem with telling her right away. Somehow the barrier makes me collapse lol.

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Be very careful!
I have learned that hoarders are very often also Narcissists. If a particular narcissist finds that they are not very successful in controlling people, they can always successfully control 'stuff.'
And this woman may be trying to control you by gifting her 'treasures' of hoarded 'stuff' to you.
You have already shown how she repeatedly tries to control you about your daughter being near the stairs.
As you and I have already discussed privately, you do NOT want any narcissists closely involved in your life. A narcissist always thinks of themselves as a victim, so that may be another reason why she keeps reminding you of her dead grandchild.

My advice is to establish BOUNDARIES right now! Don't let this go on and on.

My next door neighbour keeps on bringing me food from the day they moved in. I kept on telling them that I appreciate their gesture but I have dietary restrictions and I did not want to offend them. Because I refused their food five or six times while I was trying to set some boundaries, they don't allow their son to play with my boy anymore.

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A normal person will accept your boundaries, even if their feelings are a little bit hurt. You are better off to have established your boundaries early, even though the neighbour is still furious with you to this day. It would probably have been a lot worse if you had pretended to eat their food and then tried to establish boundaries later on when she/they could have tried to guilt-trip you about how they had 'helped' you so much but you are 'ungrateful'.

Sometimes there is nothing in the world that we can do to avoid conflict when the other person is a narcissist. A narcissist will always be mad at you for setting boundaries -- yet it is absolutely essential to set them anyways. For example, one woman here on Steemit was following me around on my posts and comments and in the community that I created here, and kept saying horrible things about me personally. I ignored it for quite a while, but when she finally told me that I should stop commenting on posts tagged with the very community that I formed on here (along with more personal attacks of course) then I drew a CLEAR BOUNDARY. I told her to stop speaking to me and that I would start flagging any further comments of hers if they were on my own post or if they were a reply to one of my comments. That threw her into an outrage and she still to this day will not stop complaining about how horrible I am, and has imagined up some other offenses that she says I am responsible for.

So sorry that you have to live right next door to someone like that. It would be the hardest for the innocent children. But at least you avoided a friendship full of drama with her and saw her true colors right near the beginning.

My Mom is like that - she's been hoarding stuff all her life and she's in the habit of giving people - mostly neigbors - all sorts of things, under the firm belief she's doing them a great favor and their lives will be much better with an old coat nobody has worn in 20 years. The problem is that people in this situation - like you - don't want to hurt her feelings and thank her and show gratitude even though they don't need the stuff. So they'll get even more unwanted stuff. I, like you, have very limited space and made it quite clear I don't want the stuff that's been lying around her house for decades - so she says I'm ungrateful and arrogant not like the nice lady in her building, who is grateful for every little thing. You need to put your feet down!

Oh no - that sounds annoying :)) - I wish you good luck to make it clear to her. Isn't there a home for orphans near you so you could give her the address to drop her things there? Maybe she can really make someone happy with it.

She's a keeper of all stuff.. Everything is sentimental or too expensive to give or throw away.

I'm afraid I might turn into someone like that, keep everything!

I have gone through a similar situation, many times the elderly who are alone seek support from other people, maybe they give you these gifts to get close, they do not believe that they are old things that are no longer good for anything.

My father-in-law in the mango season, he picks them up and distributes them to all the neighbors, but he does it every day and people get tired, it has no end and it becomes annoying.

It's a difficult situation, you could receive the boxes and give them to the people in the street.

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I know she believes the stuff is valuable.. but it's really garbage.. even the people on the streets cant do anything with it. I mean what are they going to do with christmas decoration for the window, and some figurines for example :) I'm going to give back the stuff somewhere today.. and let's see what happens ;)

oh yes, what a difficult one! I suck at telling people off too, when they are seemingly just "trying to be nice", but I think @canadian-coconut is very right on this! But how to tell her off, without then getting an awkward or bad relationship between you is difficult! She is after all your neighbour, so you don't really want her to get offended and start being cruel instead, cause it does sound like she has a bit of a problem.. maybe she is lonely too.. It would be nice to find a way to help her out, but honestly I don't know which way best to tackle it..!