I’m at my wit’s end and angry at the lack of a peaceful life. I moved twice because of very rude, ignorant and selfish neighbors and thought my last home would be the refuge I needed.
I have serious mental health issues, mostly due to trauma from former neighbors. I used to be woken up at 6:30am by very loud music above and below me. Arbitration did not solve the problems, so I had to move.
My second home worked well for a few years, until a neighbor retired and decided to “reserve” a parking spot for his 40 year old daughter until she got home. When she had to get home, he would rush to move her car so she could have a parking spot.
Eventually I had to have a disabled bay fitted by the council because of my disability, but when another neighbor (with Parkinson’s) started hitting my car every time he came home, I started to feel quite discouraged.
It took a toll on my mental health and I made many assassination attempts.
But then I moved again, this time out of London to a quiet cul-de-sac with a driveway leading to my detached house. It was bliss for a few years. Then the neighbors moved out and new people moved in. Nightmare. They park on abandoned curbs and block my journey. The town hall refuses to help me.
A new tenant next door has two kids who constantly hit my fence with their footballs. They even hit me in the face.
She is a young woman who has a “friend” who stays for “services”. She puts on loud music while mowing the lawn.
Her friend moves his cars so she has no problem getting out of her driveway. Yet he often blocks mine and is aggressive.
Will I ever find the peace and quiet and space to enjoy where I live? Or am I chasing after something that will never exist? All I want is to feel comfortable and relaxed in my own home without being interrupted by those ignorant and rude people.
I know it’s a widespread problem, but I also see neighborhoods where everyone gets along. I feel so sad that I didn’t make it.
I tried the friendly approach, but nobody wants to know. What is the answer?
This week, Bel speaks to a woman who says she’s been cursed by ‘neighbours from hell’
Your letter has a similar tone to the one I received from TN, complaining about the vindictive behavior of several salespeople and also mentioning suicide, sanity, pettiness, and victimization.
You and TN are asking for advice that I find almost impossible to give for fear of putting salt in the wounds.
Both situations are worthy of compassion, but also very frustrating.
It seems obvious to me that you both would benefit from serious professional help, because it seems that you carry the seeds of misfortune deep within you.
Thought of the day
We repeat our mistakes, she thought.
We know what they are, and we may even know why we do them, where we stumble, where we forget the lines we should say and instead say those things we know we shouldn’t say.
And so we repeat ourselves, making the same mistake over and over again.
from The Sweet Remnants of Summer by Alexander McCall Smith
Perhaps you know the story of the person arriving in a new place who is asked how the people were in the last town they lived in. She responds in terms similar to yours and TN’s: that people were hostile, selfish, mean. , bigoted, intimidating – utterly horrible.
Then she asks how are people in this new place.
“Oh, hostile, selfish, mean-spirited, bigoted, intimidating – utterly awful” is the response. Sure.
Do you see? Yes, it’s true that many people suffer with terrible neighbors who make their lives miserable. But your email is ringing warning bells.
These lustful words, “friend” and “favors” are unpleasant. How many soccer balls have you actually “kicked in the face”?
What superhuman sight makes you so sure that in those other places “everyone gets along?” Could they just strive to live and let live?
What if you were to move into such an imaginary place, would you still find your neighbors “rude and ignorant”? It worries me that you reject: “I have made many assassination attempts. It sounds like a vague plea for help in a letter full of it.
I’m sure you find neighbors difficult, but what do you mean by “I tried the friendly approach”? What form did it take?
The vein of anger and misanthropy that runs through your email is so strong that it is impossible for me to imagine how you would define friendship. Easter eggs for these footballers? A glass of wine with the “young lady” while you discuss parking issues with her and ask for a little help? A happy hello to her boyfriend, rather than a dark look?
I wonder if all your anger is really an expression of loneliness and if your dislike for others is (unfortunately) transferred from yourself. I’m sorry that discontent seems to follow you wherever you live, just as I pity the mental turmoil that feels so evident in that other letter, from TN.
But all I can suggest is that you both consider that the fault can be as much with you as with other people, so seeking proper counseling for these issues would be a step in positive front.
My friend is tormented by a serial groper
I have to help my (much younger) friend.
Sue was a carer and befriended an elderly couple when they moved into sheltered accommodation in our area about three years ago.
He is a nice person who would help anyone. So if the man phones saying he needs help or asking if she can come around, she helps in any way she can.
The problem is that his wife is in a wheelchair (she is 73 and he is 68) and I suspect their sex life is over.
He has already been warned by the director for inappropriately hugging the residents. The most recent incident was when he stood behind a lady, put his arms around her body and his hands “accidentally” went to her breasts.
He says he’s the cuddly type. Now he “accidentally” touches my friend and she says it gives her goosebumps.
Her teenage daughter does the housework for the couple and experiences the same inappropriate touching. I think he only does it when his wife isn’t around.
My friend takes him shopping when he asks and he often touches his leg.
She says he has crossed the mark and does not know how to deal with him. He told her how beautiful she looked “in the see-through cotton dress” she wore when it was hot.
The remark upset her as only the outline of her legs could be seen when the sun shone through the fabric.
She is attached to the couple (caregiver free) and does not want to disturb. But she knows she has to stop her behavior. What can she do?
What a painful situation – for your friend, her daughter, the other women in the sheltered housing complex and the caretaker.
But it’s also sad for the couple in question that you have to write. If the man’s wife is unaware of his behavior, she is doubly vulnerable, being handicapped and subject to shock if someone files a complaint.
Yeah, I’m also sorry for the sinner here because none of us know what might be going on in his life even though his behavior is pretty awful.
More Bel Mooney for the Daily Mail…
Of course, something has to be done. It would be immensely sad for that man’s wife if your good friend no longer wanted to help them because she was outraged by the man’s behavior.
But it would also be completely unacceptable for her to continue to allow her teenage daughter to be placed in a situation where she is exposed to unacceptable staring and touching.
So the first thing I would do would be to remove the teenager from the situation, for whatever reason. If the girl has a male boyfriend who would like some extra spending money to vacuum once a week, great. Now is the time for your friend to have a serious talk with the resort manager. Inappropriate touching, hugging and commenting is now a recurring pattern that needs to be stopped. I hope a very stern conversation will be taken to heart.
It would be immensely sad for the man’s wife to be deprived of help because her sexually conscious husband could not keep his eyes and hands to himself. The director must therefore intervene, unequivocally.
Imagine how awful it would be if Mr. Huggy ever became “disabled” with a woman who complained to the police. The caretaker may also ask him if he has any problems he cannot talk about or if he can take care of his wife at home.
At the same time, your friend must tell the man that from now on she will do the shopping if he gives her a list, but can no longer take her with her because each time she has a new arrangement to meet an old friend in the need with problems.
Presumably, the man’s wife is always home when she visits and so this slight change – along with her daughter’s removal and discussion with the manager – might do the trick. I hope.
And finally… a message that is good for the soul
Do you believe that the universe can send you messages? I do.
In early 2004, when I had finally had to accept that my long first marriage was over, I wandered sadly into the household department of John Lewis. There I was confronted with bright billboards proclaiming, Restore! Renew! To restart! The intention was to encourage the purchase of a new ironing board or a kettle, but I thought: “Yes, it’s true, it’s time to renew my life.
Bel answers readers’ questions about emotional and relationship issues every week.
Write to Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or email [email protected]
Names are changed to protect identities.
Bel reads all the letters but regrets not being able to enter into personal correspondence.
During a time of real crisis months earlier, at the gate of a mission in California, I was handed a little religious card that read, “Always forward, never back down.” The words meant so much that I still have that card. Since then, I’ve seen messages on the side of a bus or in a ray of sunshine…
Further encouragement came at the end of May this year, when I felt terrible about packing all my mother’s belongings.
I was so encouraged by a visit to my favorite museum, the Holburne, in the beautiful city of Bath. We went to see the new exhibition of David Hockney drawings (until September 18) and there, on the wall at the start of the show, was the message above – a glorious cry of pink positivity, in his own enlarged handwriting of Hockney. Ping! He entered directly into my soul, saying that since life is so short, we must cherish it.
The simple words made my heart sing. Even without this pink message, the magnificent drawings (made between 1963 and 1977) themselves sum up the artist’s joie de vivre. Brilliant Hockney is 85, still painting, seizing the times and displaying his own creative love in everything he does.