Friday, December 09, 2005

Frustrated by Passivity

I am certain from the comments on previous posts that you understand the frustration I am feeling; it is as if I am a hostage in my own home. If Brian and Stephanie were aggressive, I think I could better deal with them. It is their passivity and refusal to respond to anything I say or do that makes this so difficult.

In physics, passivity is defined as “The tendency of a body to remain in a given state, either of motion or rest, till disturbed by another body.” Well, I am another body and I have been disturbing them regularly since the morning after they moved into my home and I found the $50.00 missing from my wallet. Yet, they do not respond; they do not move. Even the presence of a police detective asking them questions achieved no movement; just words such as, “We didn’t do nothin’” and “We don’t know nothin’.”

My rage Wednesday obtained the same passive non-responsiveness. In my fury, I even pushed and threatened to pummel Brian; his response was to cower away. I said to him, “So you can only punch a pregnant woman (Stephanie)?” He did not respond.

Through the years, as an army officer, social worker, therapist, supervisior, pastor, committee chair and organization president, I have come up against passivity in numerous forms. Usually I have found ways to challenge this passivity—at least to the point of obtaining some movement on the part of the passive ones.

With Brian and Stephanie I have unearthed nothing that works. Ultimatums do not move them; neither do threats or even the presence of third parties, such as the police detective and Tiffany. They simply ignore everyone. It is as if they have learned the process of passive (non-violent) resistance. I have used and even taught non-violent resistence as a means to to achieve socio-political goals. But I have never encountered anyone as skilled in its use as these two!

This morning I again confronted them with my demand that they leave my house. Brian's non-response was to walk away. Stephanie responded by saying she has an appointment with an agency next Thursday that guarantees to find them an apartment. When I countered that that was not good enough, that I want them out now, and that to move into an apartment one must be able to pay for the apartment—something both of them have demonstrated they cannot or will not do—Stephanie’s response was to go into the bathroom and lock the door.

I am frustrated! I feel as if my only option is to physically carry all of their belongings out of my house and deposit them in the street. Of course, I am physically unable to do that; they have too much rubbish stuffed into my bedroom. (See the pictures of my spare bedroom and Stephanie & Brian's stuff below). And so, I remain frustrated.


  1. That is unbelievable. Unfortunately it looks and sounds to me like they have no intention of going anywhere. What if you were to get a couple of really big boxes, put them outside, start carrying everything that's theirs and put it in the boxes. During all of this, I would be keeping a sharp eye on things that belong to you (and of course you never have your wallet out anymore). This is just unbelievable and even frightening---to think that in kindness you offered help and it's turned into such a complete nightmare. It's hard to believe that there are no options. Maybe you could even contact nearby shelters or something. Waiting until next Thursday just doesn't seem doable.
    I sure hope you find a way SOON to have life back to normal. Good grief.

  2. Wow, I am so sorry. You could call the police and tell them these people are now trespassing, but I understand how tough that might be.

    I'll keep you in my prayers. No one should be a hostage in his own home.

  3. I read your earlier post, and I disagree with the detective. It is your home, you can trespass them out, but you have to be prepared to press charges if they don't leave. I know there is a way for the police to help you.

  4. Oh.My.G-d. Seriously, these people did THIS to your home?? Pack it up, hire someone if you have to, then change the locks while they are out. Seriously. Who are these people???

  5. that's seriously way too ridiculous for me to even fathom.You may have invited them in but they dont get to dictate how long they stay there and trash your house and be so disrispectful.I agree with these other people,take action ASAP and reclaim your property and your life, gosh...

  6. I agree with the other comments. It is hard for me to imagine what you are going through. It is hard to believe that you have no legal recourse.
    I'll keep you in my prayers.

  7. Jay Are: I am afraid you are correct. Considering that they were evicted from a two bedroom apartment that cost them only $160.00 a month, including utilities, I don’t think they have any intention of leaving my home until I have them physically thrown out.

    I have talked to Tiffany about our moving their stuff out of the house on Monday. Of course, they will be expensive foe me, too, because I have hired Tiffany to do specific cleaning chores and my guess is that it would take us several hours to get Stephanie and Brian’s stuff out.

    They are, of course, using my household items. I noticed a couple of days ago that about three-quarters the new container of clothes washing detergent is gone. I have only washed about 4 loads since I purchased it last weekend.

    The idea that the agency Step0ahnie is talking about visiting next Thursday will help them is, to me, absurd. She talked about the same agency when Brian was faced with eviction by Boys Haven.

    Small Town Diva: Thank you for your concern. Of course, I have already contacted the police with negative results. I am hoping that my college chum, a circuit court judge and former county prosecutor, can come up with some alternatives.

    Brighton: Yes, they have done this—and more. I went into the bedroom this morning and retrieved my Bose radio. The room is in shoddier condition now than it was when I took those pictures: dirty diapers on the floor and half-eaten pieces of pizza on the bed.

    Brian is 21 or 22 and grew up in institutions: Brooklawn Youth Services (which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ) and Boys Haven (which is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church). Stephanie is now about 20. She lived with her sister, Sarah, in an apartment complex where I lived before I purchased my house 3 years ago. When her sister married, Stephanie moved back in with her mother; that lasted less than six weeks. Since then she has moved from relative to friend to relative, after each of them could stand her no longer. She and Brian have lived together in four apartments that I know of and have been evicted from each. I took them in because of their 16-month-old daughter and because Stephanie is seven or eight months pregnant. I have never known Brian to hold a job longer than 3 weeks; the last one he had lasted less than ten days.

    Sheeesh: Thanks for your comments. Yes, they do need to get out and I need to reclaim my home—and my life. I have a lot of other important matters demanding my attention at the moment and they being here is hurting me in numerous ways.

    Punkmom: I need prayers. I also need some legal means of getting them out. I haven’t the funds to hire an attorney and go that route. I fear that I will have to contact Stephanie's probation officer. I have been reluctant to do that because her grandmother has begged me not to do it because it may mean Stephanie serving whatever remains of the 5 year prison term she received for being in possession of thirty or so pounds of marijuana.

  8. Prayers for you Nick, you asked for that, and I can do that.

    This is all so sad and frustrating. I wish you were closer, I'd come kick their asses right out and have all that crap on the curb in less than an hour, I promise you. Then I'd personally drive that child to child protective services myself. Foster care would be far better than what the child is living with now.


  9. Milk Maid: Thanks for the prayers. I can use them! I wish you were closer. I don’t know where you are, but I think it is in Texas. When I drove to the San Antonio area 4 years ago to officiate the renewal of wedding vows of my #2 son, I think the one-way trip was about 1100 miles. That’s a bit more than an afternoon motorcycle excursion.

    At the moment neither Stephanie nor Brian has returned. Can I hope they have located another dupe to take them in?