What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Bored Men Are Trouble

by Anonymous

We have an old man across the street that acted friendly when we first bought our house and moved in. He told us he and his spouse had lived on the street for 40 years, and gave us information about the inhabitants of our house and other houses on the street. He had held a high up government position.

There was a younger couple living next to him. When the woman saw our dog off leash on our property looking at her smaller dog (also off leash but on their place) she got her husband and he proceeded to scream at us about our dog. We promptly leashed him and went over to apologize.

Next time we saw the old guy, we asked if the young guy usually screamed at people. He said no but didn't say anything else. The very next day, he and the young guy were working on a fence together between their properties and started hanging out with each other, ignoring us. A true neighbor, we felt, would have introduced us and tried to smooth things over...

Then they both started doing things to antagonize us, glaring, allowing their kids to go in our backyard when we were away, dropping garbage in the yard, coming on our property without permission, etc. I tried talking to them in front of their spouses suggesting we should try to get along as we were planning to stay many years. No change in behavior, except perhaps worse. My husband confronted the young guy one day after he'd had enough, and then called the cops. They came over and said for everyone to leave each other alone. The younger couple apparently got scared and ended up selling their house and moving.

Unfortunately, the guy who bought their house was not much better - used to be a big wig too but had a big chip on his shoulder, possibly due to divorce and having to downsize... Again we tried being neighborly and were rebuffed. He started off by throwing a frisbee for his dog so that it would land on part of our property, let her poop all over everyone's yards without picking it up, didn't call her back or apologize when she'd come yapping/snarling at us, etc.

We built a fence to keep the dog out of my vegetables in the front yard, which helped. Hubby also called the dog a "bitch" one day when she was coming at him in our driveway - guy called hubby an "asshole" and "a pussy." Both guys were about 60 years old and hubby invited him to come duke it out. Of course, the bully, being a coward, declined. He did keep the dog off our place after that though. He has a daughter that appears to be enabling him, even though she confided to another neighbor that he's a difficult person.

The old guy, meanwhile, had been spending the last couple of years doing copycat behavior - any time we'd come out the front door, he'd be out of his right after, letting us know he was watching - often it would be just me gardening. He also sent invasive stuff in the mail, came up with a newspaper article once saying he knew what we were up to (we publicly perform music), and occasionally screaming bizarre things at us. We very seldom see his wife come out of the house...

After he insisted on delivering some very poorly written pages to us, claiming that he almost hit my husband on his bicycle while backing up at a local store and saying that hubby got behind his car on purpose (like hubby would do that given the guy's behavior!), we went to a domestic violence agency and they said we should file a restraining order. At that time, we noticed that the couple's recycling bin had a lot of large wine bottles - we'd been avoiding that side of the street for years by then.

Since the old man was 82 at the time, the judge held a hearing first. Hubby had kept a very detailed log concerning all events as soon as we realized things were amiss (and we had a video from security cameras showing the guy coming on our property after he had been asked not to). I went first and rattled off three years' worth of representative stuff - it took me 45 minutes. Then hubby added a few things. As soon as the guy got in front of the judge, he told everyone that we did not know how to keep a log. Then the judge (who shared the same political party as this old man) asked him, "Have you ever screamed at these people?" The old guy said, "No!" So the judge ended things right there - we didn't get the restraining order but the judge did say for him to leave us alone.

That was two years ago. Things are somewhat better. We figure time is on our side, at least with the old guy. The guy with the dog is not quite as bad as previously. At present, we have a good police chief that doesn't mind sending out officers before violence occurs. We plan to keep standing up for ourselves.

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