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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

A Neighbor Gossiping Is Evil

by Adria
(Eden Prairie, MN, USA)

I use to consider our neighborhood to be wonderful and constantly would beam about how fortunate I was to have such wonderful neighbors. We started to know each other and became friends shortly before COVID, but grew close during COVID by hanging out together everyday.

The neighbor kids, parents, and I would often do races, chalk drawings, play games, or go on walks. Myself and another neighbor (who eventually bullied me) used to regularly shovel the driveway of one of our neighbors in her mid 80s, and we shoveled her driveway together. The neighbor girl next door used to call the other neighbor girl and myself her best friends.

I, myself, particularly love feeding birds and animals, have autism, and was the big kid on the block. I often would talk to the birds, pour cold water with ice cubes at the end of the driveway during hot summer days for the birds to drink and bath in, and I even befriended a wild neighborhood bunny who we named Hopper.

Since my neighbors saw how much I loved animals and were around me, they also started to join me by also putting out water for the birds and they were also able to experience the bond I had with Hopper and also able to bond with Hopper themselves.

I remember how when the neighbor girl was also able to come within 5 feet of Hopper the bunny for the 1st time and how the dad (who is also the neighbor I used to shovel with before he bullied me) took photos of his daughter with the bunny.

His wife (who was my friend before she started to gossip about me like a mean girl ) fed Hopper spinach which was how I found out that Hopper liked spinach. I used to think it was so cool how everyone was so supportive of my love for animals and felt so lucky. I often beamed about how lucky I was to have such wonderful neighbors to them and compliment them.

However, all this changed one day after the neighbor girl (of the two parents who eventually became bullies to me) saw a crow kill a baby bunny one morning while I was still sleeping. I woke up to texts from the wife telling me what her daughter saw and how her husband had to dispose of the body. After seeing this, I go outside to talk to her and hear more about it.

Instead of being friendly like she normally was, it was almost as if she was blaming me for the baby bunny being killed and told me that she thought the animals were becoming too friendly and as a result, more animals would also get killed in the future, and said to me that from now on, she would gently chase away the neighbor bunnies if she, her husband, or daughter saw them again so that the bunnies wouldn't be friendly anymore.

I felt devastated, shocked, hurt, sad, all at the same time but I walked away saying nothing. Nothing would ever be the same again after that day. Although her and I still talked and acted friendly, I still felt some tension between us. Now, keep in mind, when we were friends, she would often gossip about problem neighbors such as one neighbor who never picked up their dog poop and would let their loud car run at night for half an hour as well as a few other neighbors.

She would narrow in on one neighbor who she would gossip about to me and other neighbors until that neighbor moved. Then she would find another neighbor to gossip about.

At the time, I didn't realize it since it seemed like she had legitimate reasons to complain and gossip about these neighbors to us. This was how she would bond with us and we all joined in and believed what she said not realizing that she was actually being mean to whichever victim neighbor she was gossiping about. So with that in mind, a few months after the baby bunny crow incident, she had convinced another neighbor to complain to me about the squirrels.

Both of them are on the association board and this second neighbor warned me that they might pass a law against bird feeding. I was again devastated, crushed, shocked, heart broken, etc. This was the lady in her 80s who's driveway I used to shovel in the winter.

Fast forward a few months later, eventually one day the husband of the gossiping neighbor who blamed me for the baby bunny being killed randomly started to bully me. He bullied me about how there was bird seed in the snow one day randomly out of nowhere.

Then he continued asking to speak to my boyfriend. I offered to get my boyfriend to come outside so he could talk to my boyfriend about this, but he was already calling my boyfriend and then accusing my boyfriend not having any time for him because my boyfriend was in the middle of a work meeting and couldn't respond at the time. Then the conversation ended with him sarcastically calling me a great neighbor before I could get inside. I told my boyfriend after he was done with his meeting and right after hearing this, my boyfriend confronted the husband neighbor about the situation.

Things went downhill from there. In a nutshell, I started to avoid hanging out with the neighbors in general knowing that I would eventually either see the wife or the husband who were being mean to me. At first I would hang out with neighbors but abruptly run inside whenever the wife or husband came around. Then, eventually, I stopped hanging out with the neighbors altogether and self-isolated. I had too much social anxiety and other personal issues I was going through myself.

A week after the husband neighbor bullied me, I remember backing out in my car in the driveway, and I saw all the neighbors hanging out together along with the husband who was glaring at me, and after driving away from them in a panic, a few minutes later I started having a panic attack in the car.

Months later, the husband bullied me again for pouring water out at the end of the driveway which he also used to do with me several times and he asked me whether I knew for sure if my other nextdoor neighbors were ok with me pouring water at the end of the driveway. I ran into the car before he could say much more as I panicked trying to get the car started. I drove to the grocery store and sat in my car crying.

There is so much more to the story but I spent so many hours crying, running away from them, going out of my way to avoid them, etc. Eventually the wife had gossiped about me and my boyfriend to the point where pretty much the entire block have now turned against my boyfriend and I. I recently moved away a couple of months ago but I still visit my boyfriend in the neighborhood nowadays. Last week I heard the wife passed a law that put restrictions on bird feeding making it more difficult to feed wildlife even though I am gone.

Additionally, she knows I have autism, is a therapist for children with autism, yet in her personal life has manipulated adults with autism, aka me. Maybe this is mean of me to say that about her, but she knows how much I love birds and she has caused me to feel so sad and have more anxiety as a result of her gossiping. It's very obvious that she sees how much this hurts me by observing how afraid I am of them now since I would run inside whenever I would see them out of fright. She knew how much I loved animals and obviously she knows about the psychology of autism and the common things people with autism would struggle with.

Therefore, I would guess she is aware of how she has made me feel and react and she should know better not to gossip or treat me that way knowing that it would hurt me. She also knows how vulnerable I am because I have autism. However what hurts most of all is that she tried to take away my cheep cheeps or the thing I love the most, birds and animals.

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