It is weird being haunted by people goggling at things on my sill, or my garden handiwork, though it does look nice! I wish it felt better being the focus of such attention from my neighbours. You might not question some people ridiculing my ways. I think you would wonder at the degree of this: I do. No-one has to like me, or to target me either. They can reduce contact, live and let live, and not go damning me for some nebulous thing, or imply things about me. That is not nice or normal, and creates tension for all.
Someone cast me into her Psychodrama, as being the only target near enough, and has drawn in her supporting players almost non-stop. I try to stay out of it all, as the thing is kicked off by her constant need to get a reaction, and it needs no further grist. It simply demonstrates what she can do to a virtual sitting target, because somehow she just has to. As another mentor would say: 'Gee, that's real pathetic.' I am inclined to agree there, and as I have already said, bullying, setups and all the rest can happen in the workplace too.
For those who cannnot wade through further, one of this peculiar pair got eaten up by the other who is a predatory female. Sound familiar? Black widow spider, though her partner may fare more favourably than some. Her plans for me or anyone who stands in her way, have nothing to do with being humane, rather wishing her adversaries to unravel like a skein of thread, or 'turn of the screw'. I can only imagine how the #blackwidow in question is really feeling within, because her behaviour surely stems from there and, I think, a fear.
Things are definitely afoot, much shoe leather getting pounded round and around. Much ado about nothing, I hear you cry, as if to imply little basis to all this. Hmm, maybe. On the other hand (or should that be foot?) I heard on the grapevine that it's all going to change - - - but let the details remain secret for now. Don't hold your breath, but do please cross your fingers when you can. I'll appreciate that. I am very tired from this continual game of homes 'n' castles 'n' hostilities. If someone attacks me and I withdraw behind my ramparts, the thing has nowhere to go. It's a wonder they kept at it so long, but they seem to have suddenly realised.
Obviously I see the point of patrolling one's own ramparts or boundaries, but why has this neighbour started patrolling mine, after a long year of giving me and mine such a wide berth? It is disconcerting. What I deplore most about the time and headaches through deflecting the hostile energies, is that I was unaware another neighbour was back in hospital. I need to ignore what is too close to home, get human again, and accept that some people love to smirk. Reminder to remember that word (along with 'chameleon'). I can add, with sigh of relief and widening smile, that the sound of neighbours unfixing fixings in readiness for removing themselves and belongings, is music to my ears. It is a dark cloud lifting.
If you find yourself in a standoff or atmosphere, it helps to get away with music, interests, what you believe in, a walk or bus ride, visiting a friend. I was fortunate in being able to get out on buses, have a wander, some retail therapy or eBay, books and DVDs for when the TV channels wouldn't work. I also had somewhere to spend time away. It was still hard and I lost sleep. I felt things would have to change sooner or later, but was giving up hope. I wrote notes to clear my mind, and bought more books. I had my training to fall back on, so there was a previous framework for ruminations. When the chips are down, theories don't really hack it but they are a place to start. What helps most people, is realising that others have been through something broadly similar. I hope some of this helps.
I developed a policy of staying out of the way until the neighbours went out, and latterly until they actually move, though it is inconvenient. I mentioned it to no-one, and will not - even when they are gone. However, I believe other people will clue me in with their views or information. I've had experience of something similar in workplaces, only some of which involved me. Sometimes people develop an animosity that beggars belief. See them six months later and they shrug it off as being nothing. And I recall bumping into a chap who never spoke to me in the work situation, yet now poured his heart out over being scapegoated, in a place where he had fitted and I never did.
During a varied working life I saw decent people targeted by those who should have known better, and I sometimes played a part in turning things around or diffusing focus. I observed how things could switch about with unexpected outcomes. Often people who had plans to move on, would be extra controlling or vicious, and one wonders why. I did several years of group dynamics training, and saw experienced facilitators stunned by what some people were capable of beneath the surface. Perhaps other factors come into play to send things off the scale, or some people have a natural propensity to do just that. It takes some combatting.
I do not have answers, but it seems best not to try to mediate or confront some situations, but also not to close every avenue. If you are careful and fortunate, things subside or remain an uneasy truce, rather than get into a screaming match, legal fees, or worse, violence and arrest. I jest not. What concerns me most is how someone for several years, comes across as pleasant, ordinary, empathetic, ethical. Then to learn it is for the price of an hourly fee and people spilling out their private life, or it is something else that the dubious party wants or needs. What did I miss? It does bother me. There are good professionals and volunteers out there, so take your time in finding help for yourself or someone you care for. When I burn the midnight oil with information on things people do that make others' lives harder, it is because I hate 'unnecessary' hurt. There are so many 'necessary evils'. Why on earth do people create more distress? We all make mistakes and cause hurt. What is important is to accept that, and be honest with ourselves so that we - or others - can move on.
As this 'whatever' situation nears an end at 12 months, I see with some hindsight: It breaks into 3 blocs of 4 months, each with characteristics. I do not understand and can prove nothing, but this is surely not her first undermining and/or infiltrating gambit, and I believe I shall learn more. It was not planned out exactly, rather that predators will try what they can. My guess is she found herself played out by my persistence, and my having some time to juggle. The price has been high, as I was too preoccupied to perceive others. If this type of scenario darkens my horizon again, I aim to recognise it sooner and stand back more. Now I see a thread of being thwacked each time I felt more confident, becoming unpredictable, or less likely for someone to categorise, control, or hurt. This was a situation where someone needed to hurt another in order to survive. It was OK in their book to criticise and take the mickey out of me, when I was on my own and vulnerable. When 'the foot was on the other shoe' as my friend used to say, the neighbours could not handle my poking fun and decided to quit, but delays nearly threw things for six. It was a fine line. Watch out Folks, if someone who seems concerned for your welfare has bigger issues of their own, cannot adapt any further, and feels compelled to persist and destroy.
Relationships have mixed elements and can work just fine for the parties, so there's no need to analyse them out of existence. But do be careful over who is offering help. A counsellor or therapist is expected to work on issues of their own, and admit to human weaknesses, gaining insight as they go along. The best ones do, and not just by paying lipservice to the idea.
I believe it is OK to admit defeat, or not to feel up to facing the battle that presents itself. This time for me, there were too many issues at stake, not least of which is that I hate to think of a con artiste taking advantage of my family members when they were not up to protecting themselves. If I can give some clues to others wondering what the hell's happening around them, and if they're going nuts or losing it, it has been worth it. Here are a few more:
a) She thought I would not notice her chopping and changing, and other tactics to confuse, but that I would be easily influenced to leave;
b) She thought she could get away with it all, and I'd be rendered unable to do anything to improve my lot, or even to withstand it;
c) If she could get me to challenge anything at all, it would be proof I was nuts, talking rubbish, causing trouble, and she could get her partner to move them out;
d) If I did throw in the towel and sell up, they could buy the property and knock some parts together. This would make sense for reasons I can't get into here;
e) She did all she could to gain control over some others in her life. I am particularly sensitive and resilient. Ergo she had to act destructively, and keep on or else she would be invalidated. Remember - it takes just one person to suss things out, and if that is you it's bumpy ride time!
f) Some people can keep the peace while seeing things for what they are. In other words, they act with diplomacy or they know when to let things be. Sadly I lack that gift, so I use the ones that I have.
g) Although I refer to 'sociopathy' elsewhere in this Blog, I am basically uneasy with using that or 'psychopathy' to label or attempt to explain people. You could check out Joe Navarro for further information. What I am happy to do, however, is say when I think someone is playing her face. This has been a prime example of someone playing her face off. Young children do it, teenagers do it. Most people grow up more and find better ways to get along.
This was someone who was nice when she wanted something, and the rest of the time it was Open Season. She thought me too dumb to notice. Now their departure is imminent, she initiates little chats like the old days. It helps me to see what I did not twig then. Perhaps she is scared I might hint something to others, and that would not be in her bees-knees self-interest. She really is 'something else', and an encounter with certain people can affect you for a long time to come.
I am pretty sure she has hinted plenty about me. Poisoning the well? Putting down the poison? Right. It is also cult-like, not because it happens to a large group, so much as influencing or controlling people one-by-one whilst keeping them apart. You could look up 'predatory alienation' for some analogies and links. Or call it 'stalking' or 'undue influence' or 'coercive control', however you can reach a way to combat it. I read a short book that said plant curry plants for getting a neighbour to move. I had actually just bought a couple of healthy specimens - coming into flower now - so don't knock it eh? Two words that stick in my mind to describe the experience are 'pernicious' and 'bizarre', and I'm sure you can come up with some for yours. Time and distance do not make me feel I got things wrong, or they weren't so bad; rather that they have indeed been determined and nonsensical.
For several years I have poked around on the Internet, and watched True Crime TV channels offering the chance to see cases unfold in unlikely ways. All this has added to stacks of books read long ago. My interest has been bullying, scape-goating, and people taking advantage or being deceptive. These things have always gone on, and the Internet and news media play a part in their spread, operation, and defences. Too often a lone or somewhat vulnerable person is targeted by a stronger person, a pair or a group. That is how it works. That is why it happens. It can be demoralising to even the strongest targets. Let's hope and work for something better!
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