I’d argue that deception is a way of life for a bully. Self-deception is how they convince themselves that their behaviour is acceptable. Lying is also a grooming method – how accepting is the potential target in terms of my reality? A BECTU member told me a story, that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear, is happening, at least once on every street! When she first met the neighbour, with whom she shared a party wall, they seemed very respectable; though something about the woman partner reminded her of the more spite girls she’d avoided at school – she should have stuck with that gut feeling.
The male partner said that the Bectu member was responsible for the fence, on both sides of her property – she didn’t mind she’d already chosen a fence and, at that time, was fairly well off. Later when the neighbour’s wall at the top of the garden needed replacing, my Bectu member ignored the unspoken expectation that she would pay.
One morning coming out of her front door, the Bectu member found the female partner was standing waiting by the dividing front wall, “Look what someone has done to your car?” She said, with what my Bectu member now recognises, was ‘Duper’s Delight’ all over her face. My Bectu member dismissed the damage – to one of her windscreen wipers – as childish spite and got it repaired.
Wind on a few years and late one night, my Bectu member could hear TV noise coming from next door, their upstairs extension. She knocked on the door, female partner answered it, saying that they didn’t have a TV upstairs however, it was then turned down.
The subsequent night the male partner answered the door, and asked where our Bectu was hearing the noise from, she indicated their upstairs extension. He said, “Sounds like us.” The noise was turned down. From that point onwards the couple denied that they had a TV upstairs. On one occasion the Bectu member was even invited in to check, whereupon she discovered the male half of our duo in the bed half-naked. There was a screen-shaped lump next to him, but my Bectu member said by that stage, the skin was crawling off her back and she left deciding to have nothing further to do with the couple.
A nasty everyday story but it happens – in short, keep relationships with neighbours formal until you know they are trustworthy and never automatically believe what anyone says. The couple took advantage of the Bectu member’s easygoing, generous nature. If you are exploitable there will be people who will exploit you. I’m not arguing that you should assume there are bad people all around, I’m just suggesting that it’s a good idea to keep your boundaries evident. Always listen to gut feelings you have them for a reason.
#thebullynextdoor #listentoyourgut #bullying #bullyingawareness #bullyingprevention