My Bully Wants Shelter from Aliens

Categories Aliens

Dear Impractical Advice: For as long as I can remember, I have been preparing for society’s downfall. I built and stocked a large underground bunker and spent many weekends practicing survival situations so that I could be prepared for the inevitable disaster. When the aliens invaded our planet last month, I was ready. My bunker has been protecting eight other families in addition to my own.

Here’s my problem: before the invasion, some of my neighbors used to publicly mock my preparations. One particular neighbor was especially abusive. Of course, as soon as spaceships started blowing up our cities he changed his  tune, and now he’s been sheltering with his family in my bunker. I let him in at first to be the bigger person, but I just can’t move past the anger I feel about his past persecution whenever I look at him. Would I be out of line in telling him that I don’t want his family living in my bunker any more because of this?

– Prepared For Disaster

Dear Prepared,

Relationship histories always complicate survival situations, which is why Impractical Advice plans form a survival group of complete strangers each possessing a useful and complementary skill.

Let’s start by acknowledging that your feelings are legitimate. You have every reason to feel resentment toward this myopic moocher. The occasional snarky comment would certainly be understandable. But the question is: will this baggage you’re carrying going to help you on your survival journey?

Telling someone to abandon your bunker essentially sentences them to death. A decision like that needs to be based on a thoughtful consensus on how it would enhance the survival opportunities of the remaining members and not based on the hurt feelings of one member. Those remaining would start to fear that your mood may target them next. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, etc. In other words, it could blow up in your face – possibly in the literal sense of the word.

So how do you move on and try to form a productive, healthy relationship? One approach is to try to move past your feelings on your own. His comments were more about his own issues and ignorance than they were any kind of accurate indictment of you personally. If he were smart enough to draw informed conclusions about you, he wouldn’t have had to come begging for space in your shelter.

But, let’s be honest, living in a confined area with this shortsighted leech is probably not going to give you the space or time you need to move past this on your own. You need some closure now and that’s going to require a genuine apology from him.

The next time you are out scouting for supplies with him, start a conversation about how his comments made you feel. Focus on how the behavior made you feel and not so much on the behavior itself. Your goal is to help him understand how what he did affected you without making him get too defensive. If he has any instinct for decency (or survival), he will apologize and you can move forward from there. And if he refuses to accept responsibility for his actions, maybe the “aliens” end up vaporizing him while you’re out.

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