How to deal with your overbearing "neighbor" (a.k.a. anxiety)
Updated: Dec 13, 2022
We all have experience with this unwelcomed guest and for many, it isn't a quick "pop in to say a quick 'hi'" kind of guest; rather, it's an overbearing, hyped-up, protective next-door neighbor that seems to think that they have to keep a watch on you and your home at all times.
This anxiety-as-your-neighbor example is really helpful here because a few things would be good to remember when dealing with him: a) we'd want to understand his need so we could fulfill it in other ways b) we'd want to set boundaries with him c) we'd want to stay on good terms - because let's face it, no one wants conflict with their neighbor.
So how do we begin to understand his needs? We ask him! "Hey dude, why did you come knock on our door today? Did you see something that made you fearful for our safety?" This is your "neighbor's" goal - to protect you. Here's the thing though: he has a hard time understanding the difference between an emotional and a physical threat to your safety. So he might knock on the door to tell you that Nancy in the neighborhood today was gossiping about you and so your reputation may be at stake - when really, that's not a true threat to your safety.
So how do you deal with this neighbor who is trying to protect you - and while that's really sweet, it's causing a lot of unnecessary drama in your life? You set a boundary! "Hey dude, so I see you coming around a lot and I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate you watching out for me. Here's the thing though--I'd love it if you'd come over to alert me only when there's a true emergency - like if you see my house on fire or someone breaking in.
So, I'm going to ask you why you're here each time, and if it's not due to a life-threatening emergency, I'm not going to answer the door. Nothing against you - it's just so I can get back to living my life without so much chaos."
And lastly, if he waves at you as you pull into your driveway or when you pick up the mail, just wave back at him! No need to dodge his neighborly efforts - that would only make matters worse.
Now that we have a game plan for dealing with your "neighbor," tell me: what are some things that you'd like to do in your personal life that you weren't able to do prior - while your "neighbor" was watching your every move?
For more tips on how to navigate your anxiety, contact Elise for your FREE consultation.
About the Author, Elise Rhodes:
Elise Rhodes, MS is a mother, wife, and successful online therapist for women across Tennessee.
Anxiety, work/life balance, motherhood, and life transitions are her main areas of focus.
Visit www.tncounseling.com for more information on how Elise can help you find calm, clarity, and joy.