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Help me figure out how to handle this problem with my mother. Please.


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I'm having trouble sorting out the appropriate way of interacting with my mom over a certain issue. I'm interested in the insight you WTM'ers have to offer.

 

About 7 years ago we bought a house with 4 acres, 2 of which were covered in blackberries, especially on the hillsides up from a tiny (nonfishbearing) stream. My mom had several houses going in around her in her rural neighborhood and thought working in my quiet neck of the woods would be therapeutic. She has a passion for restoring streamsides with native species and a knack for getting annoyed at her neighbors. When she asked if she could dig up the blackberries, we gave her permission but specified the one thing we couldn't abide was trouble with our neighbors.

 

The first season we were in our house she was irritated with something or another she thought neighbor's kids were doing on our property. It was something we had given permission for, but it brought up the issue and we restated, "Please do not make trouble with our neighbors. If it's going to be too hard for you, please stop working here."

 

Fast forward a few years...

We just found out she turned another neighbor into the county for taking down some trees. (You have to get permits here to take down *anything.*) This cost our neighbors tens of thousands of dollars in fines. She did not inform us of this. We found out from some new neighbors.

 

When I asked her if she indeed turned in our neighbors, she admitted she had. I told her I would like her to stop working on our property because it appeared she couldn't honor the one boundary we had made.

 

I am pretty mad that she has no respect for my wishes, but now she is twisting things, saying that I prefer my neighbors over her. ???? And she asked me tonight if she could come back and keep working.

 

What would you do? This feels yucky and messy. Arg.

Edited by Natalieclare
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With all due respect, I think you overstepped your bounds, and please listen to why I think so. From what I can gather from what you wrote, your mother was put in a position where she knew it was wrong of these neighbors to cut down the trees. She knew the right thing to do and she did it, regardless of the penalty. She likely did not want to upset you, but you put her in a hard spot: you or the law. Her willingness to do the right thing is a trait to be admired, actually. Now if she did it maliciously, I don't know, as you didn't mention her reason for turning them in, only that it is against the law to cut down trees so one could surmise she did it based solely on the law. The story of Daniel and the Lion's Den is coming to mind, basically because you've asked her to do something, but she's stuck with her conscience telling her to do xyz (report them)... I don't know, if I were you I'd ask her to forgive me and welcome her back to continue doing what she loves.

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It sounds like she did not accept the boundary you set, except verbally. Did you make it a condition? Like, did you tell her that if she had problems with your neighbors you couldn't have her work on the property?

 

Then, "Mom, getting along with our neighbors and staying out of their business is really important to us, and we told you that before you started working here. You said that you would not upset or interfere with them, but now you've cost one of them thousands of dollars unnecessarily and we feel like we are partially to blame for that. If you want to work on your own property that way, that's up to you, but we really don't want you to do anything like that here, and we are afraid that if you continue to work here you and we will be arguing about this and it will hurt our relationship, so we are uncomfortable with having you continue. Thank you so much for all your hard work so far. We love you so much."

 

If it was just implied and not made clear, then it's harder. But really, the message is pretty much the same either way, just a little more apologetic in tone. "Wow, Mom, we were so mortified when we found out that our neighbor thinks that we cost him 10's of thousands of dollars. We just feel terrible about it, and we don't think that it's right. We're going to worry about this kind of thing all the time if you work here, and it will be bad for our relationship with you, I think. I'm so sorry that we were not more clear about this point before you started, but we really can't continue. Thank you so much for all your hard work so far. We love you so much."

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With all due respect, I think you overstepped your bounds, and please listen to why I think so. From what I can gather from what you wrote, your mother was put in a position where she knew it was wrong of these neighbors to cut down the trees. She knew the right thing to do and she did it, regardless of the penalty. She likely did not want to upset you, but you put her in a hard spot: you or the law. Her willingness to do the right thing is a trait to be admired, actually. Now if she did it maliciously, I don't know, as you didn't mention her reason for turning them in, only that it is against the law to cut down trees so one could surmise she did it based solely on the law. The story of Daniel and the Lion's Den is coming to mind, basically because you've asked her to do something, but she's stuck with her conscience telling her to do xyz (report them)... I don't know, if I were you I'd ask her to forgive me and welcome her back to continue doing what she loves.

 

I think if the mom really wanted to be law-abiding she still should have talked to YOU first about the trees and why it needed to be reported.

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With all due respect, I think you overstepped your bounds, and please listen to why I think so. From what I can gather from what you wrote, your mother was put in a position where she knew it was wrong of these neighbors to cut down the trees. She knew the right thing to do and she did it, regardless of the penalty. She likely did not want to upset you, but you put her in a hard spot: you or the law. Her willingness to do the right thing is a trait to be admired, actually. Now if she did it maliciously, I don't know, as you didn't mention her reason for turning them in, only that it is against the law to cut down trees so one could surmise she did it based solely on the law. The story of Daniel and the Lion's Den is coming to mind, basically because you've asked her to do something, but she's stuck with her conscience telling her to do xyz (report them)... I don't know, if I were you I'd ask her to forgive me and welcome her back to continue doing what she loves.

 

I really appreciate your input. But do you think that we are obligated to monitor those around us? For example, if someone runs a red light, do you call the police?

 

I'm thinking over your perspective.

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What would you do? This feels yucky and messy. Arg.

 

I know she loves it, but it has turned into trouble with her AND trouble with neighbors. No stream restoration is worth that. I would end the activity completely, let the storm on both neighbor and mother fronts rage, and hopefully it will blow over and you can get on to more normal things with them both. If you are at all chummy with the neighbors, you could consider being honest with them, and tell them mum won't be back there anymore.

 

I think my old neighbors snuffed my cat. There were obviously paranoid and creepy, and it was what made me move after paying for house plans and getting permits to put in an addition. I don't like being on bad terms with neighbors.

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It sounds like she did not accept the boundary you set, except verbally. Did you make it a condition? Like, did you tell her that if she had problems with your neighbors you couldn't have her work on the property?

 

Then, "Mom, getting along with our neighbors and staying out of their business is really important to us, and we told you that before you started working here. You said that you would not upset or interfere with them, but now you've cost one of them thousands of dollars unnecessarily and we feel like we are partially to blame for that. If you want to work on your own property that way, that's up to you, but we really don't want you to do anything like that here, and we are afraid that if you continue to work here you and we will be arguing about this and it will hurt our relationship, so we are uncomfortable with having you continue. Thank you so much for all your hard work so far. We love you so much."

 

If it was just implied and not made clear, then it's harder. But really, the message is pretty much the same either way, just a little more apologetic in tone. "Wow, Mom, we were so mortified when we found out that our neighbor thinks that we cost him 10's of thousands of dollars. We just feel terrible about it, and we don't think that it's right. We're going to worry about this kind of thing all the time if you work here, and it will be bad for our relationship with you, I think. I'm so sorry that we were not more clear about this point before you started, but we really can't continue. Thank you so much for all your hard work so far. We love you so much."

 

 

Yes, this is just about word for word how the whole thing has played out from my end. We made it very clear and conditional. I just feel a bit stupid right now for thinking she *could* honor our wishes. She has alienated every one of her own neighbors. I am devoutly thankful that God has given me the grace to conduct myself toward her with calmness and love, but I don't know how to move from this point, since she is now saying I am preferring my neighbors over her. Which is not the point at all that I can see.

 

Sigh. I really didn't want to have trouble with my mom.

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I really appreciate your input. But do you think that we are obligated to monitor those around us? For example, if someone runs a red light, do you call the police?

 

I'm thinking over your perspective.

Well no, I wouldn't call the police for someone running a red light, because it may be an emergency. I would call though, if the driver was obviously intoxicated. ;)

 

Try to see this through your mother's eyes. I'm assuming she cares about the earth and finds rest in it and sees it for all it's beauty. She works hard trying to restore ecosystems and blah blah (sorry, my ignorance here as I don't know enough about it) But it must have really, really bothered her to see people flippantly cut down things that they had no right in doing. They may not care, you may not care, but I bet she does.

 

If she is anything like my mother, she's probably torn inside, wondering why you couldn't see it from her point of view.

 

Please don't let this come between you. Life is too short. :grouphug:

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I know she loves it, but it has turned into trouble with her AND trouble with neighbors. No stream restoration is worth that. I would end the activity completely quote]

 

See, this just seems so rational to me! Why can't she see it this way??????

 

The neighbors are gone so there is nothing I can do there. (The gentleman living there is in a nursing home now and his kids are getting the house ready to sell.)

 

The one I'd really like to be chummy with is my mom, but she is trying to act like the injured party here. I don't know how to get around that.

Edited by Natalieclare
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If it cost your neighbors 10's of thousands of dollars in fines....well they must have cut down a forest, LOL.....and really....it is their own fault...didn't they know the 'penalty' for cutting down the trees with no permit? I say....too bad for them. I would have probably done the same thing (turn them in), LOL. I realize you have to get along with them....but I have to wonder why they didn't get the permit to begin with.

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but now you've cost one of them thousands of dollars unnecessarily and we feel like we are partially to blame for that. ...

"Wow, Mom, we were so mortified when we found out that our neighbor thinks that we cost him 10's of thousands of dollars."

 

I have to respectfully disagree with this viewpoint.

 

The neighbors cost themselves thousands of dollars by choosing to break the law.

 

I know you're in a tough spot & it's definitely no fun to be on the 'outs' w/ neighbors, but, otoh, I think your mom did the right thing in this case.

 

I agree with specialmama on this one, including the statement that 'life's too short'.

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Well no, I wouldn't call the police for someone running a red light, because it may be an emergency. I would call though, if the driver was obviously intoxicated. ;)

 

Try to see this through your mother's eyes. I'm assuming she cares about the earth and finds rest in it and sees it for all it's beauty. She works hard trying to restore ecosystems and blah blah (sorry, my ignorance here as I don't know enough about it) But it must have really, really bothered her to see people flippantly cut down things that they had no right in doing. They may not care, you may not care, but I bet she does.

 

If she is anything like my mother, she's probably torn inside, wondering why you couldn't see it from her point of view.

 

Please don't let this come between you. Life is too short. :grouphug:

 

 

See, I don't want it to come between us either. But on the other hand, does that mean I should only accept things on her terms? I'm willing to move forward from here, but without her acting as steward of my property.

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You specifically asked her not to alienate neighbors, and if she was going to call your neighbors in for a permit violation, I think she should have spoken to you and your husband about it first. I think she was wrong to do it and then not to tell you. I understand why people think she was in the right to call and report, and maybe they have a point ... I'm of two minds about it. But I am clear on my position that she should have talked to you about it before and after reporting. It's always a delicate balance handling problems with neighbors, and I think YOU should have gotten input so that you could have chosen if you wanted to talk to the neighbors.

 

But what to do about your Mom? Hard to say. I think you might tell her that part of your problem is that she thinks she's the victim when she's actually treated you dismissively, and that until you know she can see it from your point of view and admit that she didn't handle it the best way, you don't want to have her back.

 

Eventually, though, I would probably invite her back. I'm soft on mothers:) I might let her suffer a bit first, though.

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The one I'd really like to be chummy with is my mom, but she is trying to act like the injured party here. I don't know how to get around that.

 

I'm going to make a wild stab that your mother likes things to be "right". She should always behave like a good girl, and everyone else should, too. Telling her you are not happy with something she did questions her "goodness" in her mind and that will hurt, hurt, hurt her. Again, I'd try to get this stopping yard work and moving on as fast as possible with as little as possible of dredging this up. I'd tell the kids through semi-clenched teeth to never, ever rehash this, and I'd tell my hubby, too. Your hubby might not be so socially cack-handed.

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See, I don't want it to come between us either. But on the other hand, does that mean I should only accept things on her terms? I'm willing to move forward from here, but without her acting as steward of my property.

 

Your tag-line says you're Jesus-loving... so realize this: it is not your property. It is His and she is caring for it. It takes a big dose of humility to just let someone care for your property and take a step back, knowing that it is secure. She can't take the deed from you... and you can't take it with you when you go. I have a feeling this goes much deeper than you're willing to admit right now. It sounds like a power struggle and perhaps you both feel misunderstood and therefore de-valued in the other's eyes. Praying for you and her to gain some divine wisdom from this, and allow it to draw you closer to each other, closer to Him, and closer to who He wants you to be. :grouphug:

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Did I read correctly that she's alienated all her neighbors? And it's looking like, if word got back to you that she made that call, that your neighbors may have heard, too? I'm seeing the problem as you worrying that your mom will alienate your neighbors, which affects you in your neighborhood. Am I reading this right?

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If it cost your neighbors 10's of thousands of dollars in fines....well they must have cut down a forest, LOL......

 

Not so in the Pacific Northwest. Just a couple of trees can garner that sort of fine.

 

but I have to wonder why they didn't get the permit to begin with.

 

People are so frustrated with local government and their restrictions on how folks may use their own land. Not long ago our county passed what was known as The Critical Areas Ordinance, which required rural landowners to keep 50 to 65 percent of their land in natural vegetation. They could do NOTHING with their own property.

The CAO was finally overturned by the appellate court, but ridiculous restrictions regarding land use in the Pacific Northwest abound.

The hoops one must jump through in order to remove a single tree are absurd.

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I have to respectfully disagree with this viewpoint.

 

The neighbors cost themselves thousands of dollars by choosing to break the law.

 

 

To me, that is the big question. If the OP objected to the loss of those trees, that's one thing. But it's really not the OP's mom's business, I don't think. And it's part of a pattern. She also objected to children playing in a certain way on the property that they already had permission from the OP to do.

 

In both cases, the respectful, appropriate thing to do would have been to talk with the OP about it instead of, for instance, chiding the neighbor children in ignorance or complaining to the city about the trees behind the OP's back. She's overstepping, acting like she is the owner and not even keeping the actual owners in the loop. That is flat out inappropriate, with or without their request that she get along with the neighbors.

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Your tag-line says you're Jesus-loving... so realize this: it is not your property.

 

 

According to local government it is her property.

And the neighbors, with whom she must have regular, on-going relationships, are hers as well.

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Her motivation for reporting the neighbors is not the issue.

 

Let's assume your mother was right. She saw something she though was wrong and called to report it.

 

End result: Because of this action there is strife between your family and your neighbors.

 

 

 

Now, let's assume she was wrong. It was none of her business. Or, she should have talked to you first.

 

End result: because of this action there is strife between you and your neighbors.

 

 

Whether her motive were good or not, the end result is the same: You specifically discussed the issue of not wanting to cause problems with the neighbors with her. I think you're within your rights to ask her not to come back.

 

It sounds from your post that you've already made up your mind and do not want her to continue working on your property. That's a reasonable decision. You can't expect her to be happy about it, though, or understand your point of view.

 

Just continue to show love and understanding. "You may be right, mom, but *we* have to live next to these people. We may have chosen to handle the issue in a different manner. But your action removed that option from us. So this is what we are left with. I love you, Mom, and I want to have a good relationship with both you AND the neighbors. So let's take a break from the stream restoration and just enjoy each others company for a while."

 

You can always change your mind later. but for now, at least, it's reasonable not to have her continue to work there.

Edited by Hillary in KS
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[quote=Crissy;945018

The hoops one must jump through in order to remove a single tree are absurd.

 

I have had two rotten trees from a neighboring property smash my fence and either of them would have killed anyone they came down on, even through a car roof. The city, who owned them, wouldn't pay damages because I didn't "notify them there was a dangerous tree". I finally stooped to notifying them of 25 dangerous tree, formally, so that they had to hire a tree inspector to have a look and disprove me. Half of them had to come down. I suspect I will notify them yearly, as they are all old non-evergreen trees, and the cores were rotten.

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To me, that is the big question. If the OP objected to the loss of those trees, that's one thing. But it's really not the OP's mom's business, I don't think. And it's part of a pattern. She also objected to children playing in a certain way on the property that they already had permission from the OP to do.

 

In both cases, the respectful, appropriate thing to do would have been to talk with the OP about it instead of, for instance, chiding the neighbor children in ignorance or complaining to the city about the trees behind the OP's back. She's overstepping, acting like she is the owner and not even keeping the actual owners in the loop. That is flat out inappropriate, with or without their request that she get along with the neighbors.

 

I'm not sure why it wouldn't be the mom's business to report illegal activity. I assume she is a citizen of that area (even if she doesn't live on that particular piece of property) & is one who feels a certain duty or obligation to point out when those laws are broken. I don't think laws are generally written so that 1) only your neighbors (and no others) can report on you and 2) it's ok to ignore the law because you personally don't agree w/ it or are unaware of it.

 

Assuming that the mom has been working on/off of the OP's property for about 5-7 years (guessing based on the OP???), I think one time of chiding some kids & one time of reporting illegal activity is not overstepping bounds or flaunting the original verbal agreement. Two times over many years do not indicate a pattern of behavior, imo. I have the impression that once the mom was told that the kids' activities were ok, she backed down. (???) Could that instance perhaps be chalked up as an honest (perhaps overzealous) mistake? And, as for the second case, I'm not seeing the problem with a citizen of the area reporting illegal activity.

 

If the OP & her family want the mom to stop working on the property, that is certainly their prerogative & right as the home- and land-owners. Perhaps there is more to the situation that is not being shared. But, based on the info in the OP, I'm not sure I see why the mom is being held at such fault.

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I'm not sure why it wouldn't be the mom's business to report illegal activity. I assume she is a citizen of that area (even if she doesn't live on that particular piece of property) & is one who feels a certain duty or obligation to point out when those laws are broken.

 

I would think twice in this land of meth labs. I wouldn't report someone else's neighbor for a non-violent act and leave that someone else to face the wrath. People get shot over less. Surely mom would regret it if her child or grandchildren came to harm over this, but I'm betting she has little notion of how much the world around her has changed.

 

The OP and I live in an odd land of yuppy development and diehard survivalists. The two don't overlap very well, at times. A friend used to work for the coroner, going out and picking up a body. She called the OP's area "banjoland" from that gruesome movie with Dueling Banjos.

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She has a passion for restoring streamsides with native species and a knack for getting annoyed at her neighbors.

 

It's kind of hard to know by this statement exactly what you mean by her knack for getting annoyed at her neighbors. I think I could possibly be characterized this way because I get annoyed when folks break the rules in my neighborhood. We have signs posted that no ATVs are allowed and yet several neighborhood children zip around here going significantly over the speed limit on their ATVs every.single.day. The rules are impossible to enforce and the signs appear to be there only for insurance purposes. Meanwhile I have to live with wondering if the next time I crest a hill I might come nose to nose with one. It's a wonder no one's been hurt yet. I have called the police about it several times and am probably thought of as "that mean old lady who doesn't want us to have any fun," lol.

 

When neighbors do annoying things it is not difficult to get annoyed with them. How would you characterize your mom's annoyance specifically? Do her neighbors do things that most people would find annoying? We do live in a society where people don't seem to care about anyone but themselves and your mom probably grew up in a more civilized society where folks were considerate to those around them. People blaring rap music as they drive down her street, or kids traipsing through her yard, or folks having beer bashes until all hours are legitimate (to me) reasons to be annoyed. I would need more info than you've provided to determine if your mom is just an old curmudgeon or a nice lady who lives near a bunch of boors.

 

When she asked if she could dig up the blackberries, we gave her permission but specified the one thing we couldn't abide was trouble with our neighbors.

 

Here again I think you are being too vague. What constitutes trouble with the neighbors? If she saw neighbors growing marijuana in their backyard would she be out of line to report that to the police? Perhaps she understood you to mean not to be petty, a subjective term, btw, and she does not consider people breaking the law to be petty. "Trouble with the neighbors" is a very difficult thing to quantify or characterize imo. I do think it would have been nice of her to have discussed it with you first, but technically, your neighbors were breaking the law (whether you agree with the legitimacy of that law or not is irrelevant) and I think she was within her rights to report them. Not living in your area I'm not sure I can completely understand, but the neighbors should have known better in any case.

 

I am pretty mad that she has no respect for my wishes, but now she is twisting things, saying that I prefer my neighbors over her. ???? And she asked me tonight if she could come back and keep working.

 

What would you do? This feels yucky and messy. Arg.

 

I'm thinking she may have been trying to respect your wishes, but that she just drew the line at someone breaking the law. As far as twisting things and saying you prefer your neighbors over her, well, I think she may not be able to state exactly what is going on and just feels beseiged. She probably knows that you love her more than your neighbors, but doesn't understand the notion that what you really want is peace with your neighbors since you do have to live near them and deal with them on a regular basis. I've got a hunch one of the reasons she didn't tell you about reporting the illegal tree cutting was because she felt guilty about it (or at least conflicted), knowing it may cause you difficulty with your neighbor later. She was probably hoping you'd never learn of it and is quite embarrassed to have been found out. That explains her irrationality about it all and twisting your words - she's behaving very defensively.

 

I'm hearing that you really love your mom, you do not want to have an "issue" between the two of you, but you think she doesn't care about your desire to have peaceful relations with your neighbors. She probably does care, but isn't willing to wink at law breakers. You are not going to be able to change the way your mom perceives the situation - she is who she is. You just need to decide which you are more prepared to do: alienate your mom on account of her apparent betrayal of your trust regarding the neighbors or put up with your mom's faults and weaknesses for the sake of keeping your relationship with her mended.

 

Neither one is particularly pleasant, but I'd opt for the latter - I'm a softie. I really do feel for you, though. It just seems like your mom is having trouble adjusting to the fact that our society is getting less and less civil and kind. She is getting older and is probably just trying to make everything like it used to be - the way she remembers it being. I suspect there is a bit of fear mixed in there as well. It is difficult for older people to see the world around them going nuts and wondering if they are going to be the next victim of senseless violence. I perceive her behavior as just wanting to put the world back together the only way she knows how. Does that make sense?

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Did I read correctly that she's alienated all her neighbors? And it's looking like, if word got back to you that she made that call, that your neighbors may have heard, too? I'm seeing the problem as you worrying that your mom will alienate your neighbors, which affects you in your neighborhood. Am I reading this right?

 

Yep, that's about it.

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Not so in the Pacific Northwest. Just a couple of trees can garner that sort of fine.

 

 

 

People are so frustrated with local government and their restrictions on how folks may use their own land. Not long ago our county passed what was known as The Critical Areas Ordinance, which required rural landowners to keep 50 to 65 percent of their land in natural vegetation. They could do NOTHING with their own property.

The CAO was finally overturned by the appellate court, but ridiculous restrictions regarding land use in the Pacific Northwest abound.

The hoops one must jump through in order to remove a single tree are absurd.

 

Yes, we felt like we really understood what "unlawful seizure of property" meant. And though some aspects of CAO have been overturned, the details of what regulations are still in place are not widely known.

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I'm thinking she may have been trying to respect your wishes, but that she just drew the line at someone breaking the law. As far as twisting things and saying you prefer your neighbors over her, well, I think she may not be able to state exactly what is going on and just feels beseiged. She probably knows that you love her more than your neighbors, but doesn't understand the notion that what you really want is peace with your neighbors since you do have to live near them and deal with them on a regular basis. I've got a hunch one of the reasons she didn't tell you about reporting the illegal tree cutting was because she felt guilty about it (or at least conflicted), knowing it may cause you difficulty with your neighbor later. She was probably hoping you'd never learn of it and is quite embarrassed to have been found out. That explains her irrationality about it all and twisting your words - she's behaving very defensively.

 

I'm hearing that you really love your mom, you do not want to have an "issue" between the two of you, but you think she doesn't care about your desire to have peaceful relations with your neighbors. She probably does care, but isn't willing to wink at law breakers. You are not going to be able to change the way your mom perceives the situation - she is who she is. You just need to decide which you are more prepared to do: alienate your mom on account of her apparent betrayal of your trust regarding the neighbors or put up with your mom's faults and weaknesses for the sake of keeping your relationship with her mended.

 

Neither one is particularly pleasant, but I'd opt for the latter - I'm a softie. I really do feel for you, though. It just seems like your mom is having trouble adjusting to the fact that our society is getting less and less civil and kind. She is getting older and is probably just trying to make everything like it used to be - the way she remembers it being. I suspect there is a bit of fear mixed in there as well. It is difficult for older people to see the world around them going nuts and wondering if they are going to be the next victim of senseless violence. I perceive her behavior as just wanting to put the world back together the only way she knows how. Does that make sense?

 

Kathleen,

 

You asked if my mom found things annoying that would annoy the general population. Would the general population try to interfere (nearly jumping in front of a bulldozer) with someone removing a 4X8 patch of junipers (junipers!)? Would the general population become resentful because someone was able to purchase the land surrounding your property and start to build homes on it? (one per 5 acres, not 8 per acre) Would the general population scream, yell, and tear off down a driveway because a grown daughter considered taking down a tree that was destroying a septic field?. It's not that my mom really cares about the Law; it's not that she cares about a less civil society; it's really that she cares more for trees and animals than for people.

 

There has been a repeated pattern of disdain for all around her who do not regard the land as she does. That is how she has alienated her own neighbors, by doing things like verbally attacking them in a fury if they plant grass instead of letting the native species grow. I see this as a different issue from the ones you mentioned (atv, etc). I hoped to give her an outlet here on my land; I was trying to be sympathetic to her and her frustrations.

 

Your are right in that I love my mom. I certainly do want to have the best relationship possible with her. I feel like I have tried to accept her just the way she is--that's why I opened up my home to her in the first place! But knowing who she is, that's why I specified please mind your own business when it comes what our neighbors do. I don't want to alienate her; I just don't want her to *work* on my property any more. Come to dinner, yes; come compost blackberry vines, no. I see her twisting my words around because she wants to manipulate me into saying, "why sure, let's forget about that nasty incident and get back to work on the land!" I'm willing to say, move on; just not "move on and bring the shovel."

 

I loved the sweet tone of your post. :001_smile:

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I have to respectfully disagree with this viewpoint.

 

The neighbors cost themselves thousands of dollars by choosing to break the law.

 

I know you're in a tough spot & it's definitely no fun to be on the 'outs' w/ neighbors, but, otoh, I think your mom did the right thing in this case.

 

I agree with specialmama on this one, including the statement that 'life's too short'.

 

I think it's true that the neighbors were bringing trouble upon themselves if they broke the law, but I also think the bigger point is that the OP's mother had no business getting involved in it since the OP specifically asked her not to interfere with her neighbors. It is the mother that is showing a complete and total lack of respect and judgement here in my opinion and I would not allow to continue to work on restoring the stream. Allowing her to do that will likely cause further conflict.

 

Lisa

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It sounds as though your mother is somewhat of an extremist, and is unable to see that her actions cause strife (between her own neighbors and now yours). This behavior and viewpoint is likely to get more extreme as she gets older.

 

I'd kindly suggest that she find an environmental group with whom to volunteer, and put a stop to her working on your property. She's not going to change, and there's no telling what she might do next time.

 

Ria

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It sounds as though your mother is somewhat of an extremist, and is unable to see that her actions cause strife (between her own neighbors and now yours). This behavior and viewpoint is likely to get more extreme as she gets older.

 

I'd kindly suggest that she find an environmental group with whom to volunteer, and put a stop to her working on your property. She's not going to change, and there's no telling what she might do next time.

 

Ria

 

My thoughts exactly.

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To me, that is the big question. If the OP objected to the loss of those trees, that's one thing. But it's really not the OP's mom's business, I don't think. And it's part of a pattern. She also objected to children playing in a certain way on the property that they already had permission from the OP to do.

 

In both cases, the respectful, appropriate thing to do would have been to talk with the OP about it instead of, for instance, chiding the neighbor children in ignorance or complaining to the city about the trees behind the OP's back. She's overstepping, acting like she is the owner and not even keeping the actual owners in the loop. That is flat out inappropriate, with or without their request that she get along with the neighbors.

 

I agree. She's overstepping. I don't know if I'd think that if it weren't for 2 factors here: 1, that she is known to have alienated all of HER OWN neighbors; and 2, that she has already been complaining about the kids on your property.

 

..all this about others agreeing with your mom because she was "abiding by the law", my question is how would she even have known that law in the first place. If anyone was going to call about the trees, it should have been you and your dh, if you felt it was a problem, and obviously you didn't.

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It sounds as though your mother is somewhat of an extremist, and is unable to see that her actions cause strife (between her own neighbors and now yours). This behavior and viewpoint is likely to get more extreme as she gets older.

 

I'd kindly suggest that she find an environmental group with whom to volunteer, and put a stop to her working on your property. She's not going to change, and there's no telling what she might do next time.

 

Ria

 

:iagree:

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There is no way I would let her start working on my land again. She will clearly not respect your boundaries with the neighbor issue, and you will be constantly anxious, just waiting for it to happen again.

 

And I wouldn't engage in long discussions about it, either. Because I'm a sucker and prone to guilt, I'd probably address her emotionally manipulative statement about caring more for the neighbors than for her - - once.

 

"No, mom, I care about you, and that's why I won't let this come between us. I love you but this issue is settled. More coffee?"

 

If she brought it up again, it would be, "I'm not discussing that. More coffee?"

 

Your mom is a dramatic and emotionally manipulative person, and you have to protect yourself and your family from that. I don't say that in an offensive way - - I have dramatic and emotionally manipulative people in my life that I love dearly, but I have had to learn that I can't let them control my life.

 

It might help you to keep in mind that, while we are worrying ourselves sick over the latest disagreement, they are not. They enjoy the drama, which is why they are constantly seeking it. It's hard for me to understand, but I have learned to love and enjoy the positive aspects of their personalities, while disengaging from the drama seeking component.

 

Your mom can care for the land somewhere else; it's a big planet. Do what you need to do, and don't feel bad about it.

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but that doesn't mean (in my mind) that my home belongs to him and therefore anyone who wants to come into it or on my property can as long as there intentions are good.

 

That is so not what I meant, but I'm sure there are many do who understand what I meant.

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There is no way I would let her start working on my land again. She will clearly not respect your boundaries with the neighbor issue, and you will be constantly anxious, just waiting for it to happen again.

 

And I wouldn't engage in long discussions about it, either. Because I'm a sucker and prone to guilt, I'd probably address her emotionally manipulative statement about caring more for the neighbors than for her - - once.

 

"No, mom, I care about you, and that's why I won't let this come between us. I love you but this issue is settled. More coffee?"

 

If she brought it up again, it would be, "I'm not discussing that. More coffee?"

 

Your mom is a dramatic and emotionally manipulative person, and you have to protect yourself and your family from that. I don't say that in an offensive way - - I have dramatic and emotionally manipulative people in my life that I love dearly, but I have had to learn that I can't let them control my life.

 

It might help you to keep in mind that, while we are worrying ourselves sick over the latest disagreement, they are not. They enjoy the drama, which is why they are constantly seeking it. It's hard for me to understand, but I have learned to love and enjoy the positive aspects of their personalities, while disengaging from the drama seeking component.

 

Your mom can care for the land somewhere else; it's a big planet. Do what you need to do, and don't feel bad about it.

I completely agree with this path. Mom wouldn't be working the land. Period. End of discussion.

Then I'd try to move on as best we could.

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How often do you interact with your neighbors? I really don't think she caused any big 'problems' with you/your neighbors by reporting the trees being cut down, if you are just now finding out about it quite a bit after the fact.

 

Sounds to me like your mom just has very strong feelings about how people are treating/trashing the world. I think giving her a bit of property to restore is a wonderful thing to do- you are letting her make a difference in a meaningful way. Sounds to me as though you want her to show more loyalty to you than to her ideals. She wants you to show more loyalty to her than to your neighbors. You should both very easily be able to see each others point of view. I say let her continue working on the land, it certainly isn't hurting anything. The neighbors broke the law, and they paid the price. She may well have seen the trees cut down had she only been visiting for lunch/dinner, and still would have reported it. Your neighbors did not have the right to cut the trees without a permit, your mother did have the right to report law-breaking. I don't see how her reporting the tree-cutting is disrespectful of you/your wishes. I would understand if she had chained herself to the trees and made a huge protest, or if she had verbally assaulted your neighbors FOR cutting down the trees.

Just my POV.

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How often do you interact with your neighbors? I really don't think she caused any big 'problems' with you/your neighbors by reporting the trees being cut down, if you are just now finding out about it quite a bit after the fact.

 

Sounds to me like your mom just has very strong feelings about how people are treating/trashing the world. I think giving her a bit of property to restore is a wonderful thing to do- you are letting her make a difference in a meaningful way. Sounds to me as though you want her to show more loyalty to you than to her ideals. She wants you to show more loyalty to her than to your neighbors. You should both very easily be able to see each others point of view. I say let her continue working on the land, it certainly isn't hurting anything. The neighbors broke the law, and they paid the price. She may well have seen the trees cut down had she only been visiting for lunch/dinner, and still would have reported it. Your neighbors did not have the right to cut the trees without a permit, your mother did have the right to report law-breaking. I don't see how her reporting the tree-cutting is disrespectful of you/your wishes. I would understand if she had chained herself to the trees and made a huge protest, or if she had verbally assaulted your neighbors FOR cutting down the trees.

Just my POV.

 

Yes, that's my take on it, too. Perhaps she didn't say anything to you because she wanted you to be able to say, with complete honesty, that you had no knowledge of the report, if asked by your neighbors. And, perhaps, your other neighbors were speculating to your mother that YOU were the only one who could have called, so she came clean to them so you wouldn't be assumed "guilty".

 

I am of the impression that citizens have a moral and civic obligation to report illegal activity. Running a stop light has to be witnessed by the police in order for them to address it. I have reported people driving recklessly with an unrestrained child on the lap of the front seat passenger, while following them at 80+ mph around the DC beltway. Nobody was getting hurt at the time, though, so, I shouldn't have reported it? Should I have not called about the neighbors who were keeping several wild ducks in a 2x4 rabbit hutch? Does that mean I care more about ducks than people? Or can we agree that is inhumane and the ducks cannot speak for themselves?

 

The point of fines is to make ignoring the rules unattractive. Cutting the trees without a permit was not an act of civil disobedience, they just didn't want to be bothered to go through the proper channels. Sometimes when you make a gamble, you lose.

 

Only you can decide how you want to proceed with your mother's project, but I can't imagine that calling the appropriate authority broke the "don't make trouble with the neighbors" commandment in her mind. I suspect she made the choice to do the right thing and leave you out of it specifically to not make trouble with the neighbors.

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I do think boundaries have been overstepped. The OP told her mom specifically not to do this. Mom could have stated her case during that discussion. If Mom doesn't abide by rules, no more working on the land.

 

Our area is the same -- if you cut down one tree there's a fee of two-three thousand dollars. We happen to have a poisonwood tree that is right next to our house from which dh has already gotten awful rashes twice for by just being near it, and we are not allowed to cut down the tree.

 

I don't know what the reasons the neighbors cut down their trees. But it's their business. As long as they're not breaking God's laws, but just the government's law (which once in a while is unfair), the OP has the right to judge what to do about the neighbors as they're HER neighbors, not Mom's.

 

Just my take.

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Yes, that's my take on it, too. Perhaps she didn't say anything to you because she wanted you to be able to say, with complete honesty, that you had no knowledge of the report, if asked by your neighbors. And, perhaps, your other neighbors were speculating to your mother that YOU were the only one who could have called, so she came clean to them so you wouldn't be assumed "guilty".

 

I am of the impression that citizens have a moral and civic obligation to report illegal activity. Running a stop light has to be witnessed by the police in order for them to address it. I have reported people driving recklessly with an unrestrained child on the lap of the front seat passenger, while following them at 80+ mph around the DC beltway. Nobody was getting hurt at the time, though, so, I shouldn't have reported it? Should I have not called about the neighbors who were keeping several wild ducks in a 2x4 rabbit hutch? Does that mean I care more about ducks than people? Or can we agree that is inhumane and the ducks cannot speak for themselves?

 

The point of fines is to make ignoring the rules unattractive. Cutting the trees without a permit was not an act of civil disobedience, they just didn't want to be bothered to go through the proper channels. Sometimes when you make a gamble, you lose.

 

Only you can decide how you want to proceed with your mother's project, but I can't imagine that calling the appropriate authority broke the "don't make trouble with the neighbors" commandment in her mind. I suspect she made the choice to do the right thing and leave you out of it specifically to not make trouble with the neighbors.

 

I don't think your examples are really fair - - I would guess the OP would not be upset if her mom had called the police to report children or animals in danger.

 

Why would the mom not consider calling the police breaking the "don't make trouble with the neighbors" complaint? It's certainly the quickest way I know of to make trouble with the neighbors! :lol:

 

And, if someone had gone so far as to tell you that it was very, very important to her that you not make trouble for the neighbors, wouldn't you at least bring it up, even if you felt compelled to report it?

 

The point is that there was a boundary that the mom agreed to, and it's more than fair for the OP to not let her work the property anymore. The mom took a gamble and lost.

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Kathleen,

 

You asked if my mom found things annoying that would annoy the general population. Would the general population try to interfere (nearly jumping in front of a bulldozer) with someone removing a 4X8 patch of junipers (junipers!)? Would the general population become resentful because someone was able to purchase the land surrounding your property and start to build homes on it? (one per 5 acres, not 8 per acre) Would the general population scream, yell, and tear off down a driveway because a grown daughter considered taking down a tree that was destroying a septic field?. It's not that my mom really cares about the Law; it's not that she cares about a less civil society; it's really that she cares more for trees and animals than for people.

 

There has been a repeated pattern of disdain for all around her who do not regard the land as she does. That is how she has alienated her own neighbors, by doing things like verbally attacking them in a fury if they plant grass instead of letting the native species grow. I see this as a different issue from the ones you mentioned (atv, etc). I hoped to give her an outlet here on my land; I was trying to be sympathetic to her and her frustrations.

 

Your are right in that I love my mom. I certainly do want to have the best relationship possible with her. I feel like I have tried to accept her just the way she is--that's why I opened up my home to her in the first place! But knowing who she is, that's why I specified please mind your own business when it comes what our neighbors do. I don't want to alienate her; I just don't want her to *work* on my property any more. Come to dinner, yes; come compost blackberry vines, no. I see her twisting my words around because she wants to manipulate me into saying, "why sure, let's forget about that nasty incident and get back to work on the land!" I'm willing to say, move on; just not "move on and bring the shovel."

 

I loved the sweet tone of your post. :001_smile:

 

Well, that certainly does clarify the situation:). I think it was super sweet of you to try to provide an outlet for her desire to protect nature. Honestly, that was just precious.

 

Still, you will not be able to change who she is and I think it is perfectly acceptable, knowing her weaknesses and limitations, to not allow her to work on your property any longer. You are right as far as that goes.

 

What to do about her feeling that you care about your neighbors more than her? Well, you really do not have any control over how she feels. I know how it feels to want to convince someone of something and have them choose to ignore you and choose to believe the worst thing possible when, if they only tried a little, they might be able to understand your point of view. It just looks like she isn't willing to do that.

 

My mom was a very manipulative person - a game player, if you will. It made for a very strained relationship between us. She was actually diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and was on medication to control her behavior. One thing I learned from living with her is that I had to turn a deaf ear to her manipulative ways and just stand firm on what I knew to be true. You love your mom; you love her more than your neighbors. She is choosing to not believe you - it is a very deliberate choice on her part and I'm guessing she is doing it to try to get you to let her come back and work on your property. She is actually behaving very childishly and selfishly, but there is not a lot you can do about that. All you can do is keep reaffirming your desire to have a relationship with her that does not include her working on your land. Each time she twists your words you will have to just overlook that and tell her you love her and that she is welcome to come for dinner (or whatever) but that working on your land is no longer an option for her.

 

She is the one who is making the relationship difficult, imo. You can only do so much when the other person is not willing to meet you halfway. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. I know how emotionally wearing it can be to have someone like this in your life.:grouphug:

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Reading through your post on this, It seems you do have a solid understanding of the situation. You know your mom and her personality, and you attempted to be proactive in preventing issues from arising.

 

I think your doing the right thing in banning her from working on your property. I would just continue to try to maintain a loving relationship while being constant in your position. She may rage against the machine for awhile, but let it run it's course. She'll probably come around.

 

She was dishonest in her way of handling this. Even if she went against your wishes and reported your neighbors, she should have been honest with you and told you her intentions. Face it, she was sneaky. Not cool.

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I have to wonder if the 2 incidences you know of were the only 2 cases of her interference. She didn't tell you about the trees, and it took you several years before a newbie told you about it. What else have your neighbors been putting up with, without mentioning it to you?

 

And it's not like this is off the wall behavior for her. She has a history of alienating others. I'd stop her from doing the work on your property and try to get her involved in something else.

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I would continue to tell your mom, "Sorry, but no." I grew up next to neighbors who were nothing but trouble -- total sue-happy trouble-makers. Because of that, I try to have a very distantly friendly relationship with my neighbors. I fully understand the need to avoid neighbor conflicts at all costs. It sounds to me like your mom wasn't being brave and righteous like another poster suggested (no disrespect meant to said poster) but that she was being nosy and trying to cause trouble. You said she has engaged in this type of behavior in her old neighborhood. Some people are just like that. I would remain firm in your decision. You gave Mom a chance, she blew it, and she knows why. You don't need these neighbors getting mad and taking revenge on your family and property which, sadly, often happens.

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it's really that she cares more for trees and animals than for people.

 

Wow, that must really hurt you--you are implying here that you feel she really cares more for trees and animals than for YOU. :grouphug:

 

It sounds like there's history here between you and your mom. Perhaps in setting your boundaries, you could explore your feelings of hurt. (See what years of therapy will do? Makes you want everyone to "explore their feelings!":D)

 

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry she behaved hurtfully. I think I'm with Ria on this one--it would be good for her to go volunteer somewhere...else.

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With all due respect, I think you overstepped your bounds, and please listen to why I think so. From what I can gather from what you wrote, your mother was put in a position where she knew it was wrong of these neighbors to cut down the trees. She knew the right thing to do and she did it, regardless of the penalty. She likely did not want to upset you, but you put her in a hard spot: you or the law. Her willingness to do the right thing is a trait to be admired, actually. Now if she did it maliciously, I don't know, as you didn't mention her reason for turning them in, only that it is against the law to cut down trees so one could surmise she did it based solely on the law. The story of Daniel and the Lion's Den is coming to mind, basically because you've asked her to do something, but she's stuck with her conscience telling her to do xyz (report them)... I don't know, if I were you I'd ask her to forgive me and welcome her back to continue doing what she loves.

 

I am not a tree killer.

But if it's MY property - I will do what I want.

It's not against the law to kill the trees - it's against the law to do it without a permit!!!!!

The tree is still dead. The neighbors lost money. The city will do what with that money?

 

In my opinion, the mother broke her promise.

If the mom wants everyone in the hood to hate her, so be it. But not at the dd's!!!!!

She should mind her own business.

She has neighbor issues everywhere she goes.

Nosey neighbors are the WORST kind.

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