A man in a blue hoody holding his hands over his ears

Dealing with Intimidation

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Sometimes I feel so wretched. I know I have come a long way in terms of developing my character and learning to deal sensibly, maturely, and confidently with the challenges that life throws up. I have a very good psychotherapist to thank for that.

But it seems to be God’s will for my life, and for all our lives, that we are continually stretched and tested. We meet with new challenges that aren’t like our previous ones, and we are always made to feel aware of our frailty and dependence on God by events and situations that arise that threaten our peace.

That was a very general introduction to this post, so let me be a little more specific about what’s troubling me. I hope you’ll indulge me for a couple of paragraphs if I talk a little about a personal situation I’m struggling with.

Antisocial Behaviour

I live in a flat within a house that is connected with mental health services in my area. I have experienced serious mental health problems over the past decade which is why I ended up living here. In this accommodation I benefit from affordable rent, as well as regular support from a mental health charity who have a contract with the housing association I rent from (my landlord). There are many blessings I enjoy living here, and I’m always thanking God for providing for me in this way.

However, as I wrote about in this article, I’m experiencing ongoing problems with the neighbour who lives in the flat adjacent to me. The problems have been going on for a few months now. Without listing everything antisocial that he does, I’ll just say that he uses bullying and intimidation as a matter of course, and one particular way this manifests is he plays music at full volume with the bass turned up for about five hours a day. It’s not easy to ignore.

Having tried the obvious response of asking my neighbour to turn his music down on a few occasions, I tried taking things a step further and told him that I would have to report him to the housing association if the loud music continued. He responded very aggressively to this, insisting this would make me guilty of some kind of betrayal.

A few weeks ago I took myself to A&E in the middle of the night because my neighbour’s behaviour was really getting to me, and I felt it was seriously impacting my state of mind and mental health. The following day I had a meeting with the housing manager from the charity who support this property, and I totally divulged everything that has been going on and how it has been making me feel.

The Follow-Up Meeting

The housing manager arranged a follow-up meeting with him, myself, and a representative from the housing association to whom I pay my rent. We had that meeting yesterday. We spent about an hour talking things through and the other two felt it was certainly necessary to take firm action. The housing association representative explained she had extensive experience of dealing with similar situations, and would begin by writing a letter to all tenants in the property outlining our obligations to obey the terms of our tenancies. The letter would be general, and would not implicate him, but if he failed to change his behaviour, then further action would be taken.

How this is Making me Feel

Knowing my neighbour as I do, I have a strong feeling that when he receives the letter from our landlord in the next few days he will immediately suspect I have reported him. Judging from past experience, it’s very likely that this will prompt an aggressive response. The kind of thing I’m expecting is him hammering on my door, shouting and swearing at me, and quizzing me about what I have said to the housing association.

I really don’t know whether or not I’m doing the right thing. There is a strong part of me that feels I shouldn’t have told the landlord what’s going on, because it’s very likely to make the situation significantly worse. Maybe in situations like this it’s best to ‘lie low’, count one’s blessings, and simply be kind and patient. Is reporting him really going to lead to a happy outcome?

I’m not looking forward to the prospect of an intimidation campaign from my neighbour that may well end up with the police involved, and potentially a court case, in which he would most probably lie about everything and try to make my life as difficult as possible.

True, I am envisaging worst-case scenarios, and I certainly believe in an infinite God who is in control of this situation, and I don’t believe there’s any reason why He can’t bring about a happy resolution, perhaps in an unexpected way. I will certainly continue to pray for that. But my thoughts are currently filled with the threatening behaviour I may face in the coming days and the words I will have to speak to my neighbour and the phone calls I will have to make if things get serious.

Thank You for Your Support

This blog is primarily focused not on my personal life but on big ideas about God and faith and life and truth. Check out the archives and that should be clear enough. I haven’t published philosophy and theology posts for a while because I am in the process of releasing an album of songs I’ve written, and that’s taking up a lot of my time at present. And of course I have the neighbour situation absorbing some of my attention.

The community here on WordPress is like a group of friends; people who I feel I can trust with my fears and insecurities. So I hope you’ll forgive me for once in a while writing a post like this where I share what’s on my mind and the struggles I’m going through.

Even though I don’t presently identify as a member of a particular faith community, I still really appreciate prayers (I believe there is one God over all creation), and I know many of you do pray for me, because you have told me. If you do pray for me please ask God to protect me and guide me and help me to deal with this difficult situation in the best way possible. Thank you so much!

Life GOD is a great teacher, so I’ll try to remain optimistic and believe I will come out of this situation with gratitude and joy in my heart. And may my neighbour experience a breakthrough in his life that will encourage him to act with greater humanity and kindness. I have no idea what he has been through in the past.

Blessings upon you all!

Steven ❤️

59 comments

  1. Yes you did the right thing. If he presents with intimidating behaviour don’t open the door just call the police. You are a musician, you have recording equipment, you can record his abuse with your lovely sensitive condenser mic. You can also get a sound meter and record how loud it is and show the council

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m sorry you’re going through that. Although it’s scary to think what will come next, at least the situation won’t remain stagnant, and it sounds like you have people on your side. Good luck and blessings, Steven!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s always challenging to deal with (and anticipate) the common tactics of those who bully, intimidate and provoke. I’ve surely experienced that (and I imagine others who’ve commented here have, too). I do believe that genuine, heart-centered prayer support helps, so I’ll include mine in the beautiful prayer-stream coming your way Steven. It seems that you tried to reason with the fellow and didn’t have much choice but to mention it to the housing manager, etc. It’s reasonable that you did mention it; after all, you pay your lease to live there, too. Do they plan to include a variety of the rules/guidelines (or perhaps they are) in the letter, so that it doesn’t seem specific? May Divine Grace flow your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bless you and thank you so much for your warm and thoughtful comment, I really appreciate it. Yes, I was assured the letter would mention a variety of examples of anti-social behaviour. So there is some hope he might not take it personally (although we do of course hope he takes it seriously!). Thank you so much for the prayers, it means a lot! Stay a blessing! 😊

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  4. Conflict is so difficult! And when you’re dealing with an unreasonable person, it becomes so much more daunting. Just keep praying that God guides your every step. It wasn’t that long ago I was in conflict that lasted a LONG time and did involve the court (custody of my granddaughter). I dealt with being cursed at, lied about, etc. It’s so, so hard. But stay true to who you are in Christ. We’re never promised an easy road but we’re never alone while walking it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your empathy, Stephanie, sounds like you went through quite a battle. I appreciate the words of wisdom and understanding! God bless you and well done for getting through the court experience, must have been really tough. Blessings! 😊

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  5. There is no reason you have to talk or explain yourself to this guy if tries to bully you. I am finding that no answer is often the right answer with some people. Walk away as soon as you feel uncomfortable. Don’t try to defend or explain yourself if he accuses you. And call the police if you need to. Notice the temple has a wall around it. Boundaries are important.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. PC, I can relate to your personal anxiety about this matter. No one wants to be label a “whiner”. But in life, you need to Stand up for what is right. It has nothing to do with “Pride”, it has more to do with principles. If you don’t draw the line in the sand, then it’s going to get worse over time. Yes God did say you must turn the other cheek, but he also didn’t say for you to become a doormat for someone. Take courage Warrior!, for your angel is with you and the Grace of Almighty God shine upon you to give you Strength and Wisdom. Amen

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You’re doing the right thing. I can’t promise the outcome will be favorable (look at Job, Jesus never promised it would be easy here on Earth) but you are doing the right thing. You’ve been in contact with him directly, and when that failed you took it to the next level. Whatever happens next, you are in the right.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember when you brought this up before, and you restrained in not reporting what was going on. I think that took great strength and patience. For that reason, I think it was important you bring up now that it has not stopped. Who knows, maybe someone or others were afraid to bring it up but by you reporting it you are helping them too. 🙂 I will be lifting you up!!! Protection, assurance, and peace be upon you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi T.R.! Thanks for being so understanding. I’m pretty sure that others will benefit and be relieved if his antisocial behaviour stops. For example, I’ve had postmen coming to the door and commenting ‘how do you put up with him?’ because the music is so ridiculously loud. And I know the guy in the flat downstairs has felt like complaining too. Thank you so very much for the prayers! Blessings! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree. You did the right thing… but that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard. I’ve been in similar situations where I have made the difficult choice to do right and things seemed to get worse before they got better. Hang in there, Stephen! You can count on my prayers!! I’ll be praying like crazy for you, for your emotional and physical safety, and for a positive outcome that will include a better situation for you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate those words so very much, Lynn! I am going to try very hard to stay positive and get on with my life, and take things one day at a time. Knowing that you’re praying for me is a great encouragement! Thank you for always being so kind, Lynn! God bless and you’re in my prayers too 🙂

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  10. Wow, so many good comments here! Don’t want to repeat what’s been said but will add: this guy feels empowered tormenting neighbors. Definitely believe in building a case with recording, that is godly. God hates when the guilty go free, Proverbs 17:15. For those surrendered to the Lord, the spiritual question is, what does the Lord want to work in my faith? “How will You, Lord, reveal Yourself thru this?” Let Him speak thru His word into your heart.
    Pray for this neighbor to come to godly sorrow and shame that leads to repentance. At the same time, document and build a case against him. Praying for you, Steven, keep us posted!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your insights and encouragement, Lisa! You’re right, he feels empowered by tormenting others. I have been keeping detailed notes of his behaviour, and will definitely consider making some recordings. Thanks so much for the prayer support, too, you’re a star! Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh Steven! Ugh. This is such a difficult situation, I understand. I believe you have done the right things. Sometimes the right thing doesn’t always turn out the way we expect or desire, but at least at the end of the day you have a clear conscience knowing you did correct. If your neighbor shows up I personally would do one of two things. 1) don’t answer the door plain and simple. 2) (which also works if he sees you outside your flat) turn your phone to video and record any confrontation. This works in two ways, one it is recorded and two most people will back down when they know their behavior is being videoed. Much care to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tara! Thanks so much for your understanding and thoughtfulness. I appreciate the suggestions! The letter will probably arrive in the next couple of days so I’m bracing myself… Hope things are well with you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. From my point of view, you did the right thing.

    Think on these lines. A girl gets raped by an older boy in the neighborhood. She resorts to reporting the incident to the boy’s parents only to feel guilty about her decision.

    You and I know that’s the right thing to do.

    Let me reiterate here that you did the right thing. Reporting him to the appropriate authorities rather than taking laws into your hands was a matured way of handling it.

    Have no fears else you’ll open doors to mental torments which isn’t good for your health. And your family would miss your blog posts.

    Sometimes, our fears aren’t even real. Be strong in God.

    There’s a God who loves you. He’s able to keep you safe even when you think you’re sinking.

    You’ve done your part. He’s committed to doing His.

    In addition, it’s okay being vulnerable. You may never know how much this blog post has encouraged someone.

    Happy Sunday!🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Faith! Thank you very much for your encouragement and words of wisdom. I’m feeling pretty depressed right now, but will be spending some quality time in prayer today and I’m so grateful to be a part of such a supportive blogging community. Will keep you posted! Happy Sunday to you, too 🙂

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  13. My temper would have got the better of me by now and there would certainly not have been a polite response. My heart reaches out to you and although my faith is not in God, I still pray that you find solace with the situation. As hard as it may seem you have to take care of yourself. Take responsiblity for your own feelings but remember it’s how you respond to them that counts. May your faith keep you strong, you have done the right thing, if your neighbour is upsetting you, just think how others feel. You have been brave enough to speak out. You haven’t done this through malice, but thought. Others though fearful will appreciate your bravery.
    Dee

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dee, that’s such a lovely heartfelt comment and it has really encouraged me. I feel really sorry for his son who he certainly bullies and his cat who I hear him shouting at and growling at all day every day! So you’re right, it’s not just me. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for sharing your heart Steven – I will be praying for you. Standing up for what is right is not always easy, but if there were more people like you the world would be better for it in many ways! Keep fighting the good fight of faith – and tough love! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Your spirit is so gentle. I can literally feel your heart through the words in this post! I think it’s beautiful that even after uneasy encounters with your neighbor, you still wish the best for him, in hopes that this situation would unharden his heart. That shows your true character & just for that, you will come out of this with just what you prayed for! I understand your concern & the amount of worry this could possibly bring. – I’ve been there! I pray God gives you a peace of mind & for your neighbor, a change of heart, going forward.

    So glad I followed you!! I soo look forward to your posts!! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, friend! Thank you so much for your empathic and supportive comment – reading your words warmed my heart! So sorry to hear you’ve been in a similar situation, but I’m grateful that you can relate to what’s going on. God bless you and I’m very grateful for the prayers! 🙂 Keep in touch! 💚

      Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s good to share your burdens with others! As long as you keep praying for your neighbor and the situation, God will answer and his timing is always perfect 👌. Sending prayers your way for you to feel his strength and peace during this time 🙏.

    Liked by 1 person

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