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Accosted by Disturbed Religious Zealot

 
 
dupre
 
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 04:59 am
Hi.

I've just moved in with my mother and she lives in East Texas.

Yes, it's true. I'm an atheist living on the buckle of the Bible belt.

My mother's housekeeper has decided to make a Christian out of me.

Despite my repeated requests to her not to discuss religion, she literally cornered me in my small office and confronted me. I could not pass her without physically pushing her out of my way. I'm uncertain that if I had asked her to let me by whether or not she would have. Is that false imprisonment?

Last time she did this, I finally countered her arguments with mine. I hated to do it. I don't care if she continues to believe. It's nothing to me. I have done a signigicant amount of research and have come to my own conclusions and do not wish to discuss it with her or anyone else. I have other things to do with my time. Frankly, when I countered her argumentst, she didn't want to discuss the matter further.

However, I am certain that she will arm herself with a new tactic and be back.

Once I provided her with transportation back to her church compound where she lives and was bombarded with her rants the whole way. Even though I repeatedly asked her to stop. I wanted to pull over and let her walk the ten miles home. I am no longer available to take her home.

She is accosting me where I live.

Can I threaten to take her to court?

How do I get out of this?

She's obviously disturbed, I can tell. I probably should be more understanding, but I'm doing her a disservice to allow her to think her unwanted proselytizing is appropriate behavior.

I'm likely to encounter the problem again. This neck of the woods is full of them.

Help!
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:10 am
how good a housekeeper is she? You sort of wield the final decision to her annoying habits.

I find it all the time and for the first several minutres its fun, after that , it gets rather old really quickly.
dupre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:16 am
@farmerman,
She's my mother's housekeeper.

Actually, I've offered to clean the house naturally! To save my mother the money, and I do.

I guess my mom wants her privacy for the back part of the house, and she wants the housekeeper to do her ironing.

I've offered believe me.

It's not my decision, this is my mother's house after all, as long as she can manage it.

I'm here to help, but I can't interfere in those decisions on behalf of my mother just yet.

dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:18 am
@farmerman,
It's the mother's decision...it's her house-keeper.

Would your mum back you by ordering this woman off of you?

I think the behaviour outrageous, but if she won't listen to you, I only hope your mother tells her to do so.

I do wonder if the buckle of the bible belt is really for you!!! However, I assume you have your reasons for being in such a spiky place.

dupre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:21 am
Thanks.

No. Mom won't interfere, and I want to handle it myself--of course with all of you guys advice! Ha!

Give me real language and actions that are so graceful and so definitive that it would call off the most ardent Crusader.

dupre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:24 am
The format has changed since I've been here.

The emails aren't coming to me and I can't figure out what those darn thumbs are for...?
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:32 am
@dlowan,
Obviously if you need to get a restraining order to keep the woman away, the whole employee/employer relationship would have to be reviewed.
It may be your moms housekeeper but does your mom not want you to be comfortable? I dont see a real problem at handling this. It can all be done tactfully and with your moms interests at heart, but youre living there also. SO unless you can softly threaten MAria about her annoying proselytizing and make it stick , she may have to go with the trash.

dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:36 am
@dupre,
What have you said so far?

0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:36 am
@farmerman,
"Maria, my mom is aware that youve been disturbing me with your religious views. She has let it up to me to handle, so, MAria ALl I can say is that if you dont stop bothering me with your religious views , I will be forced to seek another housekeeper for mom, I really dont want to do this , but really, its all in your hands. SO whats it gonna be Maria?."
dupre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:44 am
I don't know what the laws are...Can't I tell her that she is accosting me and that unless she stops I do have the legal right to file suit and to ask a judge to make her stop.

Something like the following:

"Of course, I don't want to do that, but since I have asked you nicely and forcefully, and now have informed you that it IS my legal right as a citizen in the United States to not discuss this matter with you or anyone, and I understand that YOU are a law-abiding citizen and appreciate your legal rights, too, and that now that we have brought this out in the open and have thoroughly cleared the air on any misunderstanding regarding my wish to not discuss the matter further, now or at any time in the future under any circumstances, in case there was any doubts before, that now I do expect you to refrain yourself and honor my request. If you can't refrain yourself, I can assume that you are either somehow out of control or that you are choosing to break the law. In either case, an intervention and some counseling from a judge sitting on a bench could provide you with helpful information regarding other people's rights. I'm certain it won't come to that, will it? You WILL be able to refrain yourself, now, won't you? You DO fully understand my request, right?"

0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:44 am
@dupre,
I am shocked that you would even put up with this nutjob. Think about it. She is your mother's servant, for Pete's sake. She is being way out of line, and behaving totally inappropriately with you.

I would have nothing to do with her. If your mother wants to keep her, fine, but don't get involved with her in any way. Tell her that she is not permitted to go into your bedroom, office, etc. Also, tell her that you have nothing to say to her, and that you insist that she keep her distance. Don't be afraid of insulting her. If she persists, indicate that there would be severe ramifications if she does not stop this behavior.

Do not attempt to counter her views. To a zealot, this is giving them more ammunition to spread their "word". It also shows that you are being defensive, which you should not be.

I have a stepson who is a religious nut, but thankfully, he is intelligent. Once he started in on me with his proselytizing. I told him that if he would stop talking about his religion, I would not discuss my philosophy of life with him. We shook hands, and have not had another incident subsequently. I would suspect though that the housekeeper is not at my stepson's mental level.

What really gets to me is why your mother would insist on keeping this housekeeper, when she knows that the woman is causing you such grief. You might want to explore this with your mother.
dupre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:46 am
@farmerman,
Thanks, farmerman. I can't fire Maria, I can only try to replace her as Mom learns to trust me.
0 Replies
 
dupre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 05:58 am
@Phoenix32890,
Hi, Phoenix. Long time no see!

There aren't that many people out here to choose from when it comes to hired help, and Maria has been with Mom way longer than I have at this point.

How about a simple, firm, loud, "BACK OFF, Maria!" coupled with a firm gesture with my hand forward, palm facing Maria.

That's pretty to the point, and would clear my path, too. If needed.

And I LOVE telling her no entry into my rooms. AT ALL.

Last time, Mom had told Maria not to worry with this side of the house, including the kitchen, restroom, den, my room, etc.

But Maria couldn't help herself. She plodded through anyway. And then she criticized ME for not having the kitchen clean.

I clean the kitchen several times a day. Every time I go in there, but, you know, then we go in and use it. So, Mom had just cut a peice of cake and there were some crumbs, some crumbs that surely could have waited till my next pass. Maria likes everything to be perfect when she leaves, but when you clean the house as you live in it, there usually is a brief moment when there might be say, something on the carpet that can wait till the next time you vacuum, for instance, unless you vacuum nonstop every moment.

She came into my office under the guise of "consulting" me about cleaning my part of the house. After she counseled me about her religion and then didn't want to talk about my perspective, she led me into the kitchen to dicuss a cake crumb. I felt like a kid going to the principal's office.

I did ask Mom if she had sent Maria in to give me advice as to how to clean her home. I thought orginally that this might be Mom's way of getting me to do a better job or something, but Mom said that she hadn't.

Anyway, I'm a very thorough housekeeper. I had a commercial janitorial company at one time with over 50 commercial accounts and fourteen employees. I've cleaned way more than Maria could ever hope to.

There are only two thousand people in this town. Most are over 70.

Mom's is comfortable with Maria, for the most part, but not always.

0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 06:07 am
Quote:
But Maria couldn't help herself. She plodded through anyway. And then she criticized ME for not having the kitchen clean.

I clean the kitchen several times a day. Every time I go in there, but, you know, then we go in and use it. So, Mom had just cut a peice of cake and there were some crumbs, some crumbs that surely could have waited till my next pass. Maria likes everything to be perfect when she leaves, but when you clean the house as you live in it, there usually is a brief moment when there might be say, something on the carpet that can wait till the next time you vacuum, for instance, unless you vacuum nonstop every moment.


Dupre- This is getting crazier and crazier, and you are feeding into Maria's craziness. This is your mom's house, and by extension, yours. Why in the world are you allowing THE MAID to dictate to you how to keep the house?

I understand how it is with long term employees, but I think that Maria is assuming an authority that she does not have. The only reason that she is able to, is that you (and probably your mother) has permitted it.
dupre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 06:11 am
@Phoenix32890,
You're right. I just didn't want to step on anyone's toes. I'm the outsider after all. I'm the newbie.

And this woman IS disturbed. I want to be kind, but I don't want to be badgered for my efforts, either.

Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 06:16 am
@dupre,
Quote:
You're right. I just didn't want to step on anyone's toes.


Maria obviously, is not concerned about stepping on YOUR toes!
dupre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 06:23 am
@Phoenix32890,
I don't think she can help herself. Really, she can't. She IS disturbed and I mean that in a quite literal mental health way. She's probably only marginally functional.

I want to know though what the legal definition of "accosting" is. I want to know what my legal rights are. For the future. It's bound to come up again in this town. Church IS the town. That's where all the community finds others of their own skin color and socio-economic status.

It's unfortunate. The area is economically depressed. The schools and libraries suffer, but the churches are big business here.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 06:31 am
@dupre,
dupre- I am not an attorney. Saying that, I don't understand why you are talking about legal rights. She is working in your home, (even if the house is owned by your mom, it is your home).

Personally, I think that your problem is not with Maria, but with your mother. I don't know what your circumstances are, bout it sounds to me that you are taking a lot of crap from Maria, because you are concerned about geting into a brouhaha with your mom.

At some point you may have to make a decision about whether the comfort of living with your mother is worth the aggravation that you get from not only Maria, but living in the sort of environment of which you are caught in the middle.
dupre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 06:43 am
@Phoenix32890,
Yes, you are right. Nevertheless, I am determined to make it work. I am positive that I can maintain my dignity and other people's dignity, too, given time and understanding.

This twice-a-month-upset is nothing compared to the bliss I otherwise feel being here. Thank you for your concern.

I am in a new culture. A small Bible-thumping town of impoverished people with little education, little hope, little energy. Yes, I could move, but I do intend on staying and experiencing all the warts and bumps of living in a small town. Perhaps contributing a few of my own. Perhaps making a difference in a small way.

That does mean exposure for a few hours every month to a Maria's wart.

So be it.

I'd love to know how to handle this situation with grace.

Learning how to handle awkward situations with grace is important wherever one lives.

Running away from it isn't necessary.

Forcing my mom at her age to take a stand is uncalled for. SHE shouldn't have to deal with it.

It would be easy for me to be rude to Maria and get my way. I wouldn't have had to post here for those kinks of ideas. I have plenty of them myself and they are tempting.

It would be far more interesting to me to be able to be gracious toward Maria AND to get my way, and possibly enlighten her, too.

That's really the kind of advice I was hoping for.




boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 07:03 am
Enlightening her isn't going to happen; she thinks she's enlightened and she's trying to enlighten you.

Put a lock on the doors you don't want her to go in and be out of the house when she comes.

Does your mom share the housekeeper's religious views?
 

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