HOA Disputes and Egos

What causes seemingly normal people to go off the deep end when it comes to their homeowners’ association?  A WFTV News story out of Florida, describes a situation where a condo association president allegedly stalked a homeowner, made lewd gestures, and placed dismembered animal parts on her front porch.  What drives people to these extreme behaviors?

Two words: human ego.  Typically our egos flair up as a protective mechanism when we feel hurt, angry or violated.  Our egos are much more reactive when the issue involves our personal property.  From the minute we learned to say “mine” as a young child, we also learned to place a much higher value on what is “mine” over what is “yours”.

HOA Disputes and Egos are always a problem

If you have ever spent any time working in the customer service industry, you have certainly dealt with unreasonable people, perhaps downright crazy people. Why do we respond differently in the workplace?  The answer is simple:  because we don’t take it personally.  At work, it is rarely about protecting what is “mine”.  It is a job and we are expected to be professional.  While it may not be fun to be chewed out by a customer, we take it as part of the job and rarely lose sleep over the interaction.

However, when it is your neighbor that is expressing acute dissatisfaction and the issue at the heart of the dispute is your personal property (most likely the largest personal asset you own); the ego engages.  The ego manifests itself differently in each individual.  Ego can engage through yelling, passive aggressiveness, crying, voicing threats and the extreme desire to “get even” or avenge yourself in some way.  The biggest egos, will never be able to let go of an issue, they will avenge the wrongs they believe have been waged against them until the bitter end.  Unfortunately, there is a direct correlation between big egos and extreme unhappiness and dissatisfaction in life.

It is human nature to want to avenge yourself when your property is perceived to be threatened.  However, if you want to live a happy existence in your homeowners’ association, take a step back and put the situation into a different context.  For instance, pretend that this is just business.  This will be extremely difficult to do, but if you want to avoid sleepless nights and general unhappiness, you will need to do it.  Try to understand what is motivating your neighbor, what is driving their actions?  As the homeowner, if your property is being threatened, it may be natural to feel hurt or angry.  So instead, pretend that you are an objective third party.  Look at both sides of the issue.  As an objective third party, you have no personal property at risk.  What would you suggest as a solution to these two homeowners?  Now, put those suggestions into practice.

I guarantee, that if you do this… you will most likely not have to deal with lewd gestures and dismembered animal parts on your front porch.