Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Land of Free Water

This was sent to Aunt Babz via email...

My name is Linda. I have a male friend who is living with me. Nothing sexual. I took him in because he was close to being homeless and had no place to go. No family to speak of. He has been living with me about 2 months, it is my place, I pay all the rent and bills, and he was very aware of the "rules" before he moved in. I am a disabled woman, a VERY private person. I do not choose to socialize with neighbors, having been taken advantage of badly in the past. He is very aware of this. He has no vehicle and no license, he helps me out with chore (I breed dogs) and I pay everything plus provide him with a cell phone. He does help me tremendously. All I ask is that he obey my rules, rules he knew I had before he moved in.
About 5 days ago, a female crack addict moved into the place directly across from us. She immediately began asking him for things, such as the use of my water, lots of my water, in fact, since hers is not on. I was not home when she asked him, and without even calling me on my cell and discussing it with me, he allowed her to take several large containers of water from my outside faucet. She immediately began asking for rides to go get beer and cigarettes, and to use my phone, all of which I refused. I told her I could not continue to allow her to use my water, I am disabled and on a very fixed income. I could tell he got mad at me about it, calling me "cold and heartless". I did not take this woman to raise and I owe her nothing. Last night I caught her stealing water from my faucet, she had 8-10 huge plastic containers, filling them up. When she saw me watching her, she got scared and ran off. He got extremely angry with me for "catching" her and being mad about it. Keep on mind, he pays for nothing!!! He did nothing to back me up or take my side when the Sheriff came. He has had an "attitude" with me all day, he has been to "scared" to go outside my front door, because they might see him and get mad!!! Things worked out great when he first moved in, we helped each other, but the longer he is here, the more he tries to take over, and act as if this is his place and he pays for everything and not me. I do not smoke, I told him no smoking in my house or car and he does it anyway. He is not the least bit sorry she stole my water, he is mad at me for getting upset. He doesn't have anything "going" with her, I can just already tell, he is a first class wimp, too scared to tell anyone no. I no longer want him here, I feel very violated. He knows how bad I struggle financially. He has no place to go. My family is enraged he would do me this way, after I took him in and have been so good to him. They said to take him to a men's shelter. When I called the sheriff on this woman who stole my water, he even called me very ugly names. What can I do?
Thank You, Linda

Dear Linda,

Sorry you have to go through this and no, I don't think he's being fair to you. Maybe he needs notice to straighten up and fly right?

It needs to be made clear, that you will not be taken advantage of, BY ANYBODY, including him, much less the neighbor, whom you don't even know or desire to know. If that makes you the "ugly names," then so be it. But I side with you on this.

It took me years of being taken advantage of to realize that although I'd love to save the world, sometimes I can't. That doesn't make me a bad person, that just means that I am limited, as to what I can do or will do. Water is not free, last I knew and even though it may very well seem petty to your live-in boarder, it is not even his water to give.

Yes, he sees you as being petty. I see it as being wise. But I doubt the expense it the biggest point? Some people, when you give them an inch, will take a mile. The point was just proven by her immediate requests of rides to get beer and so on. Furthermore, it needs to be made clear, that while you are willing to help him, you are not here to save the world, will not and can not.

Now, to set the stage, maybe you need to reiterate your original agreement with him. He was to honor your privacy and he has not. Make it clear that this will not happen again or he can find somewhere else to live. It is not your duty to take care of him and out of the kindness of your heart, you choose to help. By going against your principle rule of privacy, he has violated your trust and the conditions of his living there. Make it clear, this is no free for all and while you do appreciate his help, if it is going to be more bother than it's worth, he can find somewhere else to go, maybe the land of the free water, is taking applications?

Make sure, that you let him know, that you two have a business arrangement of sorts. You appreciate his help and in return, you give him shelter and a cell phone. That is it. If he can not abide by your wishes and we won't even call them rules, then what is the point? Why would you stay in this situation?

Sorry but I do believe there are more handy man/helpers out there, who'd be more than happy to have this arrangement. You need only to run an ad. Now, I know, you've only brought him into your home because of the situation. It strikes me that you're not the type to want another handy man, you're too private. But he must know that you'll do what you must to bring about a sense of peace, one you used to have.

Remind him again, to respect your wishes, no more smoking, stop bending the rules, respect your privacy or turn in his keys and cell phone. That's it and that's all.

Now, let me remind you, if you allow this to continue, it may only get worse. Your approach to this, is the key. Try to sit him down and ask to talk.. Of course, in your best diplomatic voice, state again, what your wishes are and renew your agreement. Let him know, as I said before, that you do appreciate all he does but this can not and will not go on, as it has. But stand your ground now and hopefully, he'll remember your original agreement and begin to honor it again.

Or...let him read this and see it in black & white.

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