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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Dear Dr., I have a neighbor who is an alchoholic or recovering

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Dear Dr.,
I have a neighbor who is an alchoholic or recovering alchoholic, not sure which, but he has accused me of hitting on his wife from an incident a while back in which I simply gave his wife some books that I was going to give to the salvation army store. He stated his accusation at my brother's wedding a few weeks later in front of everyone who was standing around nearby and I was completely shocked. I felt like I had to say something to relieve the tension or maybe it was just reactionary, but I said "Somebody's gotta make her smile!" It was probably an inflammatory thing to say in one respect, but I was just trying to make light of a ridiculous situation. I have no designs on his wife at all. they have lived next door for over 20 years and I watched their children grow up. I am by nature a generous person. My own mother will tell you that.
And I know from talking to people who have had experience living with alchoholics, that they will use violence and guilt to make themselves feel better. But still I wonder if I should apologize if it would help the situation. or should I not apologize as to help the situation. I only want to do the right thing, no matter what.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like your neighbor has a conflict with his wife, either because he is jealous or his wife made an issue out of you being kind to her to make him feel bad so he lashed out. Either way, your neighbor now is focused on you as the person creating the problem.


The best option in this situation is to apologize to your brother and to anyone who heard what you said. Say your sorry for what you said. Let them know you were caught off guard by this man's behavior. Then drop it. Don't say anymore about it or take the blame for your neighbor. He is responsible for his own actions and if you take the blame for what he did, it makes you look responsible.


Apologizing to your neighbor is ok, but most likely he will take it wrong and make an issue out of it. It is probably best to answer his accusation by staying away from him and his wife. Be nice and say hi when you see them but otherwise do not engage them in conversation or make attempts to go near them. There is some issue in their relationship or with your neighbor and anything you say or do will not change the problem.


I hope this has helped you,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It has been quite a long time since this happened (over 2 years), should I even bother with the apology for what I said?

In that case, I'd say forget it. Most people probably will not remember anyway. And even if they do, so much time has passed that they have explained it away for themselves and dismissed it. Plus your behavior since then has shown them that it was just a one time incident. We all say things at the spur of the moment that are not what we wanted to say so it's not unusual in any way. I would just forget about it and move on.





Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Dear Kate,
I got stupid and shortly after I received your answer, I wrote an apology letter to My neighbor and his wife. I simply stated that I apologize for invading their privacy in the past and I behaved insensitively and unthinking. " I realize now it caused more problems than it solved. The problem is that my parents 50th anniversary party is this weekend and they will be attending. they said hi to me the other day when I was over my parents house, (they are my parents neighbors not mine, but I used to live with mom and dad) and I think they are feeling confused about my behavior., they seemed to be forgiving, and wonder why I am apologizing. how do I explain the stupid letter I sent? Help me please..

Hi! It's good to hear from you.


It was ok to apologize. It may have took them by surprise because most likely they had already dealt with situation and moved on from it, but it's not like you plotted revenge and went after them. You just apologized. People can apologize years later for things that happened in the past. And if it bothered you that much that you felt you needed to apologize, then you were just dealing with how you felt.


And that is exactly what you can say to your neighbors if they bring up your apology. Just tell them that you felt bad about what happened and that you wanted to be sure that they knew you wanted a clean slate and to stay friends with them. They should understand that. As long as you don't make a big deal out it, then they will probably accept your letter and let it go.





Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks Kate, I feel reassured.

You are welcome! I am happy to help anytime.







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