Little did I know I was living below “Alex Forest” from the infamous Fatal Attraction movie when I moved into my quaint, vintage apartment.
She, like most mean girls, appears first as the sweetest, kindest person who ever graced the planet. And she did so gracefully walk. She had perfect posture and seemed to always know proper etiquette, especially in conversation. Even when she held her cigarette it was like watching an old Hollywood starlet. Something about her was intriguing, a bit mysterious and often left me feeling uneasy. There was some sort of wall or façade I could not clearly decipher. All I knew was to keep her on my good side. I had a sneaking suspicion that if I ever crossed the line, there would be no return.
I rarely meet people like this, but when I do, I am reminded of that gnawing feeling of discomfort. She was intentionally intimidating. I’m even bold enough to say that she was a bully. She made me want to shrink and cower down. A little voice inside me told me to steer clear, but I often felt sorry for her, especially when I’d get a knock on my door. Standing there with a glass filled to the brim with white wine, she had tears in her eyes.
As a child and teen, I always listened to that little voice. You know the still, small voice that would tell you not to go out with that guy? Or that feeling that you’d get when you knew something didn’t seem right? That voice is what many call their conscience or their wisdom speaking.
Somewhere along the line, I stopped listening to that small voice of wisdom. It has become quieter every time I have allowed someone to cross a boundary or line with me.
I haven’t taken a personality test recently, but I think it’s safe to say that I am Type B. I am very laid back, and on top of this, I am the middle child of two sisters. We, middle children, tend to be peace makers. Over the years, I have struggled with saying “no” to invitations or obligations. I want others to be happy, and it’s difficult for me if I know they will be disappointed by my decline.
If you’re a people pleaser like myself then you can relate. Because of this desire to please others, I have allowed people to take advantage of me. I have often sacrificed my own well being for the sake of avoiding confrontation. Around an intimidating person, my voice has often been soft, almost non-existent. Out of fear of retaliation, I won’t speak up.
Some call me sweet and innocent. I still get the occasional description as being naive. And those with ill intentions will truly prey on this. As a result, a person like myself will get used. Dare I say the term abused? Cruel people exist and even the smartest of us can fall into a trap of deception.
I started meeting with a counselor recently for self growth and because I have been faced with a difficult decision. He said the most simple yet beautiful advice: Follow the voice of your own wisdom. He reminded me that when you get that weird gut feeling or when you feel uncomfortable by someone’s actions toward you that it is your wisdom speaking.
I still have that little voice, but unfortunately, by not following it, I have said no to myself. Saying yes to others has caused me to say no to my well being at times. I have put my emotional, mental, and sometimes physical health at risk.
“Boundaries are not for others but for yourself,” my counselor stated. “You set the boundaries. If they cross them, you walk away.” I have often thought I didn’t have that right. However, now that my mindset has been made whole, I am and will set boundaries. My well being is more important than simply making others happy.
For the whole story of my bully neighbor, read here. I was right about that feeling. I’ll listen to it better next time.
Article by Brittany Windle
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