Ok, so you’ve tried talking to your neighbour, even offered mediation, all of which has resulted in rejection by your NFH or, more often, your NFH claiming that all the problems have been caused by you, even when you tried to be reasonable with them. You have a Neighbour From Hell.
Firstly though, we make no apologies for repeating that “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”.
“YOU ARE NOT ALONE”. There, we did it again.
It made us feel so good that we’re going to say it again. No, we’ve got a better idea. We’ll say it together but in the first person…
“I AM NOT ALONE” Three more times please.
Above all else remember this. At the time of writing the NFHiB board had reached nearly a thousand members, and this is on top of the thousands of hits the board receives every day from non-members. This is a big problem in society so do not think that you have been unlucky. In fact we’re pretty confident that the abbreviation NFH will soon become part of the Collins English Dictionary.
However with all the talk of mediation etc. and trying to reach an “amicable solution”, we know that the words “reasonable” and “amicable” are wasted on most NFHs. Their only goal in life is to try and cause you and us as much misery as possible.
But after visiting this board, you’ll see that we emphasise the importance of playing by your rules and not playing the NFHs at their own game. To model your behaviour on your NFH invariably results in the situation becoming worse. Plus as NFHs operate on a different level to you, you wouldn’t be any good at it anyway. And, as you will see, that’s just as well.
So what can we do? We log all the harassment and intimidation, try and ignore the NFH, but is there anything we can do to fight back?
Well, actually, yes there is. There’s a lot you can do and equally a lot you DON’T DO. But if you’re looking for ways to act illegally, then this is the wrong place for you. And we suggest you visit a site run by Neighbours From Hell themselves. Funnily enough though, we’ve never found one of those. But as it involves a modicum of intelligence, we won’t hold our breath.
We tried looking under Ar*eh*lesoftheUniverseUnite.com but found nothing. It may happen one day. Can you imagine the messages?
“Dear fellow a**eh*les. My neighbours are fine, upstanding and friendly folk who have always been kind and honest whilst respecting our privacy. We think it’s about time we taught these self-righteous do-gooders a lesson. In fact only the other day their pet hamster looked at me in a FUNNY WAY……etc and so forth”
But it’s a safe bet you’re here because, unlike your NFH, you actually have some intelligence and want to deal with your NFH in a sensible way, rather than the ranting, raving, furtive and cowardly approach that your NFH takes against you. Let’s face it; your NFH has probably spent years perfecting the art of being the scourge of decent households whilst you’re probably a complete novice. And that’s how we want you to stay.
As Yoda, the Jedi Master in Star Wars said, “Fear, anger, aggression. Forces of the dark side are these. If once you start down the dark side, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.” Or something like that. If you want further information on the dark side and good side check out this link. OK we know Yoda was just a puppet with Frank Oz’s hand up his backside but we reckon even with that problem he was still right. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan you’ll see some of your NFH traits in there.
And this shows your intelligence. No we don’t mean the Star Wars stuff. You want to know what drives your NFH.
Why do they act the way they do? For you, it just seems like totally irrational behaviour. Well, why should you care? The NFH doesn’t care about you so why should you about them? Well, we think it’s important that you do know what drives your NFH and we’ve seen enough stories on NFHiB to see some common traits. As we hope you’ll find out, when you see what drives your NFH you’ll be better equipped at dealing with them.
You don’t need to care about the NFH; you want to know what motivates them. We should point out that none of us are professionally qualified in psychology or psychotherapy. What we do have is far better, tons and tons of experience.
That’s not to say we haven’t drawn on professional research where necessary but we hope to bring it all into a coherent whole for you, the victim of Neighbours From Hell. Anyway on our quest (quest! We like that word. Sounds like we’re on a journey to seek the evil power source of the NFHs) we’ll try and find out what drives the NFHs and how to deal with them on your terms, not theirs. We should point out that though we refer to the NFH in the masculine gender, that this covers both. So, first of all…
2. WHAT MAKES A TYPICAL NFH?
Well, let’s turn the question round. If like 99.9% of the people in the country, you have to live next door to neighbours, it’s a fair chance that at some time you’ll have a disagreement over something or you or your neighbour will have done something that the other party wants put right or changed. Most normal people would discuss the situation and either reach a compromise, agree to disagree or put right whatever was done wrong. And if it was you who had done something wrong, then you would be more than happy to see the error of your ways, put things right and move on.
Oh and before anything else. “I AM NOT ALONE”. Had you forgotten already? Don’t worry; by the end of this article, you’ll probably be repeating it on the way to work. You may get some funny looks from strangers if you shout it out, but that’s ok, we don’t mind that.
Anyway where were we? Oh yes. Normal neighbour situations. There are tons and tons of examples, but let’s take three that often spark off problems with NFHs. It all boils down to a single issue but we’ll get to that, but see if you can spot it in advance.
Firstly, an application for planning. You’ll see on most council websites that they make a special point of recommending to applicants that they discuss their plans with their neighbours. OK, so you or your neighbour do this. You either agree, compromise or disagree and just let the planning process run its course. Whether you or your neighbour win out is left to the planners and you both let their decision be final without the need for you to fall out. You just move on.
Secondly. Parking. One day you inadvertently park in a space reserved for your neighbour. Your neighbour comes round asking you to move the car. You agree to do so. Your neighbour asks you not to do it again to which you agree. You both move on.
And thirdly, and probably most common problem of all, noise. Your neighbour plays their music loud one Saturday evening. You call round and ask them to turn it down. They agree and that’s the end of it. Usually accompanied by you both agreeing that if there is any more excessive noise that they will let the other know.
So three fairly typical issues. But what’s the common thread?
We’ve all had disagreements in the past, starting in the playground, where perhaps we dealt with it in an immature manner, but as time goes on we learn from it. We progress to the workplace where we also have disagreements but we act reasonably. Or try to. And we’ve all seen those who never act reasonably. Ever wondered why they fail to make the grade? Or if they do, it’s because they’ve trodden on everyone else to get there.
Alright, alright, we can already hear you saying. “Flippin’ heck NFHiB! Where did you get the rose tinted spectacles from? What airy, fairy world do you think we live in?”
OK! OK! We know that that they may be some, if not heated, then slightly warm exchanges involving the above but the majority of folk wouldn’t want a permanent rift with their neighbours and would patch things up pretty quickly.
And even when things did get out of hand, most of the rest would be willing to try and go to mediation which is usually provided by your local Council. We’ve often heard of some difficulties with Councils taking the problems of NFH seriously but we’ve also heard of the mediation services sorting out even the most intransigent of disputes.
Whilst the main thrust of this article is about dealing with the situation when your NFH refuses mediation, we should emphasise here (and we’ll be doing it again) that you should never, ever refuse the offer of mediation whether its offered by your neighbour or by someone else such as the police. Of course you know that your NFH will never accept, but should the matter ever proceed to court, the court will want to know whether mediation was offered and who accepted and who rejected it.
NEVER REFUSE MEDIATION.
And if the thought of sitting down with the NFH fills you with dread, you do not have to meet the NFH face to face. The mediator can liaise between the parties.
But, for the purpose of this article, a typical NFH will never want mediation because it entails several things which they cannot tolerate. So, really most NFHs who accept mediation, we don’t really class as NFHs. We know there have been exceptions but generally speaking a true NFH would never accept mediation as it involves….
Having to speak to someone who adopts a reasonable tone.
Mediation may involve having to see the situation from your point of view.
Mediation involves having to bring to an end all their harassment and intimidation of you.
If the mediation was successful this may allow you to live your life normally without interference from them.
You may be seen as winning by your NFH.
Again it all boils down to the inability to be reasonable.
So what makes a typical NFH? I’m sure you could find a few choice words, most of which couldn’t be printed here, but in essence a typical NFH is someone who maintains the position of being UNREASONABLE.
We’ll see why this is the case soon.
3. WHAT DRIVES AN NFH?
Before we start, you know what’s coming?
That’s right. “I AM NOT ALONE”.
By now you’re probably getting all teary eyed at this. That’s one of the things we’ve found on this board when people first visit. That they thought they were alone in experiencing problems but they quickly find out that many people are also having to go through similar problems.
Ok, so we’ll give you a moment to compose yourself.
Come on, come on, pull yourself together, we’ve a lot to get through.
So what could motivate the NFH? When most people you know are perfectly reasonable, your NFH seems to make a life career out of causing you as much bother as they can.
And this is where we start to enter the dark and murky world of the NFH so better brace yourself. Bring your cloak and shield. Oh and a thermos and a few sandwiches wouldn’t go amiss. Well, we did say it was a quest. What’s a quest without a few dark murky bits along the way?
You may be thinking by now, “Quest? Sandwiches along the way? I don’t think these guys are taking this NFH thing seriously.”
Well let us assure you that we do. We take the problems associated with NFH very seriously indeed. But one of our chief weapons has always been analogy. Comparing our situation to other events has proven to be one of the most effective strategies in dealing with NFHs. Have a look at some of the avatars and signatures our members use in the forum boards.
But yes, we’ll freely admit to having the odd laugh along the way. Most of the moderating team are still having to live with NFHs and there are still moments when we want to throttle our respective NFHs, as long as these thoughts are kept in your head, but equally when you see some of the stupid and ridiculous things that our NFHs get up to, we’ve had the odd giggle. And again, we hope this becomes a vital weapon in your arsenal. Once you realise how the NFH works, you’ll be a long way to forming your own strategy for dealing with them. But we’ll cover this more later.
So what motivates the NFH? Well, it could be whole host of things. Unhappy experiences in childhood, being set a poor example, envy, chemical imbalances in the brain. The list is endless but ultimately, we think it boils down to a single issue.
The NFH hate the world around them, but most of all the NFH hate themselves.
Yep, when your NFH wakes up in the morning, the thing they hate to see are themselves in the mirror. They are truly the most miserable and sad people on the planet. Of course there’s a bit more to it than that but we’ll expand on this later.
“OK so why would this affect me?” We can hear you asking. Well the NFH live in a world of hate and misery, so when they see you forging ahead, with a positive outlook, dealing with your own problems and tragedies and emerging the other end, they cannot bear to see you inhabiting a happy and positive world. Above all, you can’t be seen to be better than them
However for years it may well be the case that they will, on the surface, get along with you fine, but all the time they will be looking for and waiting for a single reason to fall out with you and what they then want to is to drag you into their own world of hate and misery. If the NFH perceives you as being superior to them for whatever twisted reason they will have perceived many in their world as being responsible for their failure and lack of achievement and whatever it was that you did wrong, in their eyes you are now and forever will be a part of their evil world.
“Now hang on a minute NFHiB. Lack of Achievement?” I’ve heard of NFHs who live in mansions with acres of land. Hardly a failure.”
Having a large house, expensive cars and a pool doesn’t make you a success. We need to define failure.
A failure is the inability for a person to live with him or herself. That, our fellow NFH sufferer, is your NFH. And that is what drives them.
4. NFH ATTACKS – WHY ME?
So why should this affect you? The NFH hates himself, so what?
Well, from our own experiences NFHs largely have what is known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We’ll be covering more on this later. (“More stuff later? This is all beginning to build up into a hell of a lot of stuff later”. Don’t worry; it’ll come into a coherent whole)
It’s a long word we know and it comes from the Greek fable about Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection. Actually this Narcissus bloke was a bit dim and as he leaned over to kiss his own reflection, he fell in and drowned. Yes, we know what you’re thinking but keep those thoughts in your head.
“Now just hang on one doggone minute NFHiB. You were saying just a minute ago that NFH’s hated themselves. Now you’re saying they’re in love with themselves? Make your flippin’ mind up”
That’s a good point so glad to see you’re keeping up. NFHs are in love with the ideal image of themselves. We don’t want to quote too much from other sources, but we probably will, but this extract from an online article about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is as good as any:
“As Freud said of narcissists, these people act like they’re in love with themselves. And they are in love with an ideal image of themselves — or they want you to be in love with their pretend self, it’s hard to tell just what’s going on. Like anyone in love, their attention and energy are drawn to the beloved and away from everyday practicalities. Narcissists’ fantasies are static — they’ve fallen in love with an image in a mirror or, more accurately, in a pool of water, so that movement causes the image to dissolve into ripples; to see the adored reflection they must remain perfectly still. Narcissists’ fantasies are tableaux or scenes, stage sets; narcissists are hung up on a particular picture that they think reflects their true selves (as opposed to the real self — warts and all).”
And that’s the crux of their problem. They hate their true selves so they have conjured up an image of themselves that they want the rest of the world to see. The problem is that this exists only in their mind. So when you see your NFH strutting around the area or estate acting as though they own it, chances are that in whatever fantasy they are living out, it’s exactly what they do think.
Now when you act in a way, it can be big or small, that threatens the NFH and his own perfect existence then you are immediately and forever more banished from his world. Here’s a tip. If you want to get along with your NFH then worship the ground they walk on. Let them know that you think they’re wonderful and you are a mere mortal who isn’t fit to lick their shoes and you’ll get along famously. As it turns out this is a solution, but we’ve yet to find a victim of a NFH who has adopted this approach. However, you’re more likely to have seen it with the NFHs family. They will have learnt, after years, that to get along with the NFH they need to do just that. Worship him.
But you? You will have done something to upset the NFH. He’ll be thinking that you don’t worship him, you don’t ADORE him so therefore you are evil. Pure and simple.
And the bottom line is that you live next door to your NFH. It wouldn’t have mattered who lived there. At some point an issue would have been raised about a boundary, fence, extension, noise, anything really. But eventually something would have triggered off the NFH to react against you. This is why for years many members find that they get along with the NFH perfectly ok, but looking back many members also find that the NFH was a bit too intrusive into their lives. All that was happening was that the NFH was using you for his worshipping supply (narcissistic supply).
So why you? Well, it wouldn’t have mattered who lived there. We’re afraid that it was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sorry, but that’s the simple and brutal truth. Yes you can try and put right whatever was the initial issue that upset your NFH. But by this stage, it doesn’t matter what you do to pacify your NFH.
You’re in his evil world and that is where, as far as he’s concerned, you stay. So once one issue is resolved, he’ll immediately be after another issue to harass you with. Again and again. His static image of himself unfortunately includes you in his “evil” world.
5. UNDERSTANDING THE NFH
“Understand him? We just want this proverbial pain in the wotsit to leave us alone. Why the hell should we understand him?”
Perhaps we should have written that title “Understanding the Behaviour of the NFH” but that kind of detracts from what we’re trying to achieve here. We want you to get inside your NFH’s mind and find out what makes him tick. As we hope you’ll see, once you can do this, you’re well on the way to formulating a counter strategy against him. Things are going to get a bit technical from hereon in so go and have a break or make yourself a tea or coffee.
Ok, are we all sitting comfortably? Right then.
As we mentioned earlier we believe NFHs have what is known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or its close relative, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). And before anybody thinks “Oh, the poor NFH, with their disorder.” Let us reassure you that merely describes a pattern of behaviour. The NFH knows what they are doing is wrong and that they are causing you difficulties. However bear in mind that it is estimated that about 1% of the population has this disorder.
Chances are that most of them live next door to somebody else and you’ll see why Neighbours From Hell are such a problem in our society. Sadly for us, the victims of the NFH, most of the resources on the internet relate to finding a treatment or providing an analysis of NPD. Occasionally there’s an article about those who have to live with NPD but it’s rare to find anything to cover the likes of us. We care less about finding a cure for the NFH and more about how to stop them harassing us or at least, a way for us to handle it.
But lets have a look at the traits of those with NPD and see how many relate to your NFH.
- Lying (the most common complaint about NPD)
- Need for admiration
- Lack of empathy – Impossible to overemphasise this
- Always blame others for their problems
- Exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Talk about work, life, family as if no-one else exists
- They are the “star”
- They want your sympathy and admiration
- Able to present a decent front
- Live in their own little worlds
- Everything they do has to be seen to be better than anybody else
- Expect automatic compliance with their wishes
- Use other people to get what they want
- Envious of others or believe others are envious of them
- Treat other people like dirt
- They feel threatened and enraged by trivial disagreements, mistakes and misunderstandings
- Contradict themselves in the same sentence
- Have mastered the ability to construct a story to fit the available facts
And the list goes on and on and on, but you’ve got the general picture by now.
This is where the Narcissistic side of things comes into play. They are transfixed by this “perfect” image of themselves, almost as if the real self doesn’t exist. As we’ll see later, this can be used to your advantage.
Their ideas of themselves and the world don’t change with experience. They’re frozen at a vision of themselves when they were 16 or so; so when you’re wondering why your fifty something NFH seems to be behaving like a brattish or bitchy teenager, now you know why. Because that’s where they’re frozen. Its also been suggested that NPD can run in families and experience on NFHiB would seem to suggest that this is the case. So that’s why NFH problems will often be accompanied by their sons and daughters acting the same way as them.
However remember that your NFH needs to be worshipped so he will, over the years, have literally driven any sense of self out of those immediately around him, his family. They will have learnt that its far easier to give the NFH his narcissistic supply and bow to his every wish or whim. That, unfortunately, includes harassing you.
The lack of empathy is a key feature in understanding your NFH. They have no better side so trying to appeal to it is fruitless. Like many members of NFHiB, you probably ended up in a dispute over a trivial matter and cannot believe their casual dishonesty and cruelty so when you tried to reason with them you may have got angry. To the NFH this just justifies to them, why they are right to treat you as they do. With contempt. In discussions with normal people so much depends on the context and tone (now you know why so many chatrooms end up as flaming wars). NFHs don’t understand context, only the words. Morally they are at the stage of a 6 or 7 year old. The difference being that most 6 or 7 year olds grow out of it. Your NFH will not.
And so it goes on. If you want an in depth look then go here….
…but by now we think you’ve got the general picture. See! We said you would need a cup of tea.
“But hold on NFHiB, I’m not being targeted by just one NFH, I’ve got a whole gang of them.”
Well this is also a typical NFH problem. It largely relates to the psychology of bullying. Go here if you want an in depth look at that.
The situation is that your NFH will use their remarkable ability of presenting a decent front to other people and also use their ability to concoct a story from the available facts. They will also sound totally convincing. Ultimately though your NFH is a coward, and being frozen in time as a 16 year old with the morals of a 6 year old, they will think nothing of mobilising whatever people they can find to act against you. As bad as they are, doing this by themselves is not something they relish. They need their narcissistic supply of willing believers who will back them up.
Sadly, your NFH will know exactly which people to approach. It will be those who he knows will be gullible enough to believe what he tells him. And what his allies will be told is that you are the devil incarnate and it has been you causing all the trouble.
Simple question to ask your self is, if you were able to show 100% that it was your NFH who had caused the trouble and was lying, would the gang back off? We think it’s likely that they would.
Another factor to consider is that your NFH will know full well that he needs to keep up a decent front to everyone else. This is why much of his behaviour will be carried out furtively and without witnesses. In fact his spell on others will be such that you’ll probably be finding that he will be obsessed with conjuring up witnesses against you. He needs to be believed above all else. He will love getting eye contact with you and knowing that his antics are provoking a reaction. You, the NFH sufferer, are worthless to him and you aren’t fit to lick his shoes and he wants you to SEE that you KNOW it.
Your NFH will only be satisfied by seeing you totally and absolutely defeated. And he wants to see it. But don’t think that this would mean the end of the NFH problems. No sir. This would just make him worse. If he was hitting you and you said “Please stop, that hurts”. The NFH will turn around and do it again, only harder and, we’re practically quoting verbatim from the articles above, they’ll be thinking “I’m a good person and I can do no wrong; therefore I didn’t hurt you and you are lying about it”.
If this is sounding pretty terrible, well, in a way its supposed to. But bear in mind that having an NFH is as nothing compared to living with one. To have to live with someone when you have no sense of self worth and can’t be seen to have sense of self is a living death in our opinion and pity the poor souls who have to live day in and day out with your NFH. Grim? Well yes it is, for them.
“Flippin’ heck NFHiB, this is all sounding a bit depressing. So he has a personality disorder that doesn’t sound as though he will ever be cured. So how does that help us?”
Hold on, hold on! You’re getting ahead of yourself. We’ll get onto how this will help you later but lets have a look at some of the NFH/NPD weaknesses. Yes, yes you can rub your hands with glee if you want.
NFHs/NPDs are pathetic and naïve. No, they really are, despite their superficial appearance. They will gripe on and on for years about the same old thing. To the extent that others will be sick of hearing of it. In fact they’re so out of touch with what goes on that they are subject to exploitation and often won’t recognise when someone is making a complete fool of them. They’re also in love with the image of their ideal selves which we know doesn’t exist and they want to know that people adore them or in your case, be intimidated by them. NFH (we won’t keep putting NPD as well. You know what we mean), have a weird sense of time. They’re almost frozen. So they have a very poor memory. So when your NFH says one things and then later on says something completely contradictory, its not as though they’re lying.
They genuinely can’t remember. Even when they’ve written it down. They will often concoct a story about some events totally believing that it is the truth. That it was their ideal self who carried out the events exactly as they describe them. The real self being almost totally suppressed.
NFHs will also cling to authority figures as they know they don’t think very well so all of their opinions will be based on those they perceive to be knowledgeable on a subject. These people are also geniuses at “Come closer, so I can slap you”. If your NFH suddenly appears normal again, do NOT trust them. Ever! They’re softening you up for something else. Something really nasty.
NFHs also think that the rest of the world is like them except they’re honest and we are all hypocrites, in that the world will casually exploit them as much as they try to exploit you. The appearance that the NFH wants to give the rest of the world means everything to them as their self-hatred knows no bounds. Their real self, in their eyes, is totally suppressed and hidden away. They’re ashamed of their real life. They’re impulsive so they often don’t consider the possible consequences of their actions.
So. Do you think you now understand your NFH more and why they act the way they do? We hope you do because that leads us nicely onto the bits you’ve been waiting for. How to defend yourself against the NFH and how to fight back against the NFH.
We’re hoping now that you’re seeing your NFH with a veil having been lifted exposing all the greasy cogs and workings underneath. Or maybe you’re visualising that evil power source of the NFH we mentioned earlier. A swirling mass throwing out tentacles which embrace others to engage in their revolting behaviour or trying to exterminate others by spitting out its venom. But we’ve spent enough time analysing these specimens. Now the innermost workings of your NFH have been exposed, its time for us to throw a few spanners in his works.
6a. DEFENDING YOURSELF AGAINST THE NFH (SECTION 1)
Oh and before we forget…ok, OK so you didn’t forget. That’s the spirit.
As we’ve already looked at our typical NFH characteristics, you should now realise that above all else he wants a reaction, he wants eye contact, ultimately he wants you to know that you’re being intimidated by him.
We’ll be covering some strategies to cover these in a moment, but we’re willing to bet that there’s a fair chance that your NFH’s strategy has already been working to some extent. He probably is intimidating you and getting a reaction from you thus causing you more misery. Well, why else would you be here?
But while we can come up with strategies to combat your NFH, we want you to go much, much further. Our goal at NFHiB is that we want you to be able to go outside in your garden, or walk down the street and be able to pass straight by your NFH within inches, without you being in the slightest bit bothered by it. We accept that there will be occasions such as when the NFH is making a lot of noise but rather than you being upset at this, you will be more likely formulating your next move to combat your NFH.
Now one of the most common issues we have had to come to terms with on NFHiB is when our members have called the police after they have been threatened, sometimes even attacked, or had their property damaged. You’d have thought of all the organisations we have in the UK that the best source of defence would be your local Police Force.
Sadly, however, our experience on NFHiB has shown that whilst the police will attend such incidents, we have come to the conclusion that most police forces are institutionally opposed to getting involved in neighbour disputes, even when the evidence is quite clear. This isn’t to say we are anti-police. We can cite several examples on this board where the police have become actively involved but usually this is when things have gotten way out of control, far more than they should have been allowed to. We should also point out that we would be very happy campers indeed if any member of the police came onto the board or e-mailed us in order to cite evidence that we have, in fact, got our wires completely crossed and that they take Neighbour From Hell situations as seriously as we think they should. We eagerly await a response.
To be fair to the police, it’s also often the case that your NFH will know exactly what they can and can’t get away with. This is why much of their behaviour is cowardly and furtive and much of the harassment takes place when they are sure there are no witnesses to their activities. Whilst the media love to get hold of CCTV footage showing a lot of ranting and raving by NFHs, this is surprisingly rare, and as we know, NFHs can be very, very clever at playing the system having done so for years. If you do make a complaint then they will immediately make a complaint against you making you out to be the villain. They also know full well that the police have to play a balancing act as they won’t know the history of the situation.
In fact with most NFH situations, things have usually got to become worse before the police will take an active involvement. In some respects, this does work to your advantage. Often the police are called out at the beginning of the NFHs antics when we are least on guard and liable to react back exactly how the NFH wants us to react with a few choice words and us losing our temper. The police do recognise that things are said in the heat of the moment. Hopefully though, the police officer will have visited you both and offered the mediation services of the council.
NEVER, EVER REFUSE MEDIATION. There, we told you we’d be saying it again. Your policeman will be making a report and he will have noted who was prepared to accept mediation. If or when your situation reaches court, this is a huge plus in your favour and it’s the first thing we are now pointing out to use as your defence against the NFH.
The secret here is that your NFH plays a series of short term games. He’ll try and rile you one way. The, when that fails, or succeeds (in his eyes), he’ll forget about the first incident and then dream up another way to have a pop at you. He won’t be bright enough to realise that gradually its all building up into a bigger picture. This is why it is VITAL you log every incidence of harassment, intimidation and threats using the log sheets provided on this forum. Also you need to keep meticulous records of any correspondence between you and your NFH. It’s usually the case, however, that any correspondence sent by yourself to the NFH should be kept to a minimum or nil. If you do receive correspondence from your NFH which you believe to be part of their harassment behaviour, then you should either run it by a solicitor, or come to have a word with us on NFHiB. Give it a few days and we’ll have formulated the correct way to respond if at all. If you do, we can guarantee it will be brief and to the point.
Additionally if you haven’t got legal insurance on your home insurance then get it. This is usually an option on most policies nowadays and often only costs a few pounds each year. There is usually a caveat that you can’t use it within a certain time limit of taking it out. E.g. 6 months or so. But it’s worth it for peace of mind, believe us. At the time of writing we’ve only just recently been suggesting this so we’re still assessing the insurance companies’ ability to respond to this sort of problem but the early signs are good.
However bear in mind that insurance companies will only take a case on if they have a reasonable chance of winning so this is why you must take every step to ensure that the case against your NFH is as strong as possible and that you have taken every opportunity to resolve the situation (remember about mediation?).
It’s often the case that if you do receive a letter from your NFH that this will usually be written in very poor English and will often contain threats. This is why you should never, ever respond to a letter you perceive as harassment without seeing a solicitor or us. Most certainly, you should never be tempted to write a similar letter back. Well, OK, its alright to be tempted, but don’t actually do it. The thing is that as soon as you do, your NFH will be able to use this against you. We actually recommend that you never write anything to your NFH direct. Always do this through a solicitor. Whatever you do don’t engage in pointless tit for tat letters. Some members have often written what they’d like to write on our forums just to get it off their chest, but don’t send it.
If your NFH is stupid enough to put threats or intimidating comments in writing, and our experience would seem to suggest that most NFH’s are, these are huge weapons in your arsenal for the future.
The NFHs we seem to have come across will often think that they are cleverer than they actually are. Again its all part of the ideal image they have of themselves which we looked at earlier. They’ll have a perception that they’re being wonderfully clever by writing to you. In their mind, YOU aren’t clever enough to have thought of writing a letter. No sir. Your NFH will think that if he puts his thoughts down on paper then this somehow lends them more legitimacy. The problem for the NFH is that they have a habit of letting their thoughts run away with them so rather than just sticking to facts, they’ll find it very difficult to resist telling you exactly what they think of you. But its one thing to think something, its quite another to state this as fact and your average NFH won’t be able to distinguish between the two as, to the NFH, how could his ideal self be telling lies?
Actually your NFH will have a point that his letters will lend the situation more legitimacy. But should the matter ever come before a court, it won’t be as he expects. He’ll be forced to justify his written statements and actions. And that’s where he will be unravelled. Often spectacularly.
This is why you must be resigned to a long term game with your NFH. He’ll be digging himself into a hole. It’s up to you to let him carry on digging.
“Yes, yes NFHiB, but the biggest problem with my NFH isn’t letters, it’s the day to day stuff. Being unable to go outside, even in my own garden because as soon as we do, the NFH radar detects us and out he comes, often with others.”
Well, the reason we wanted to touch upon written correspondence first is that the same principle applies to other NFH behaviour. Like a bully your NFH craves one thing above all else.
He wants a reaction.
He wants to see you react by shouting out or speaking or getting something as simple as eye contact to know that you’ve heard him. Ultimately he wants to see you broken. Should any of these ever occur then your NFH will have accomplished his goal but that evil power source needs constantly feeding so he’ll be back for more as sure as eggs is eggs. If he can obtain people to act as witnesses then so much the better
But what we’ve found on NFHiB is what infuriates your NFH most of all is seeing that you aren’t affected, leading a normal life and him being totally and utterly ignored.
“But if it infuriates him, won’t that make it worse?”
Well, to some extent, that’s possible and we do know that there are occasions when this happens. But while you are ignoring it on the outside, you must continue to log every single incident of harassment using the log sheets we provide you with. As your NFH gets more and more infuriated, he’ll be driven to more extreme and usually illegal methods of harassing you. He’s after that single reaction. It’s a one round game to your NFH. What he will continually fail to see is the bigger picture. He’ll try one way, see it hasn’t worked, then forget about it and try another. But, like a poor boxer, he won’t last the full 12 rounds.
But the more you ignore him, the more he’ll be thinking that he’s failing in his attempts and this threatens the very essence of his soul or his ideal self. He won’t be wanting this ideal self to be continually losing so at some point, he’ll realise that this self is being threatened and he will do anything to protect it.
6b. DEFENDING YOURSELF AGAINST THE NFH (SECTION 2)
Now this next bit is hard to come to terms with, but if your NFH sees you continually ignoring and being unaffected by his harassment, he will see you as winning the battle. What will most likely happen is that, like all bullies, he will withdraw. Not totally, but he will be admiring or be envious of your behaviour. And being a winner, he will think that he has to do the same, by pretending to ignore you. Thing is your NFH won’t understand the meaning of this and this is where he starts to unravel, again. Often it’s the case that if he can’t get a reaction from you that he will turn on those closest to him.
What you are actually doing is depriving him of his narcissistic supply. You won’t feed him so he will need to go to other sources to feed him. This is why your NFH, like a school bully, will often start forming a gang who he sees as admiring his ideal self. Once recharged then this is where you will often find that other neighbours will begin siding with your NFH.
NFHs have the ability to lie very convincingly and like bullies, they will make out that they are the victim. We’re afraid that it’s the way of the world that there will always be others who will, at least initially, believe the NFHs version. This needs to be defended differently because its one thing to know that your NFH is slightly deranged, its quite another to find that people you once thought of as friends will suddenly, if not be hostile, though some are, they will be siding with the NFH.
“So NFHiB, because you’re saying I should ignore the NFH, now I have a gang of them? Hardly a result!”
True. Dealing with a gang is more difficult but NFHs will be doing this anyway, regardless of how you react. If they can find anyone to give them their narcissistic supply, then they’ll use them, whether you ignore the NFH or not. NFHs love to bad mouth you to other people.
And it can come as quite a shock to suddenly find other people suddenly believing all sorts of rubbish about you. Its also easy to fall into the trap of bad mouthing the NFH to your neighbours. Don’t do this. That’s playing the NFH’s game. If you bad mouth him, the other neighbours will see that, actually your NFH may have a point. Our goal is to show the other neighbours that your NFHs allegations are untrue. Again it’s all part of our long term strategy.
That’s a lot to take in though for the moment so we’ll get onto tactics to tackle the group scenario in a moment.
What you may be wondering is “How can I ignore my NFH?” We realise the difficulty of this as the obvious problem is he’s NEXT DOOR. How can you possibly ignore him?
Well, while we can’t reduce your exposure to 0%, there are steps you can take to reduce it substantially and we’ll look at those now.
If your garden allows it then erect a 6 foot fence between you and your NFH. If the NFH owns the fence you are perfectly entitled to erect a fence on your land adjoining the NFH. You usually can’t do this at the front of the house as there are different laws governing this but we’ve had several members who have put up 6 foot fences to find it changes their world. As the saying goes, “Good fences make Good Neighbours”. We would also recommend that you use concrete posts cemented into the ground.
The sunglasses trick. Your NFH will want to make eye contact with you whenever possible. When you’re outside simply wear a pair of sunglasses. This maddens them no end as they can’t find out what they desperately want to know. That you’re being intimidated.
Ignore, ignore, ignore. Your NFH will make a habit of making comments whenever you walk by or are in earshot. However tempting it may be to react, don’t. Log and record the incident. Your NFH will love nothing more than to see you’re being affected by his comments. If you want to do anything then just smile or laugh but we’ve found its difficult to do this convincingly so we advise do nothing, say nothing. And if you’re caught without your sunglasses, ignore him and avoid eye contact. Many members find this difficult to start with but it does get easier with time.
A similar approach is if you need to walk by your NFH. Our advice is the walk straight by and blank him. Don’t go another way or cross the road. In fact if your NFH is on the other side we’d recommend that you cross over to the same side, but only if you’re going that way.
All the time you do this you are depriving your NFH of his narcissistic supply. Remember this is someone who has probably gone through life trying to intimidate people. Chances are you’re the first person he’s come across who is not only ignoring him, but doesn’t seem that bothered.
This threatens the ideal self of the NFH. His perfect image is being broken by you. And, as we’ve already said, he will do almost anything to protect it so you’ll find after a while that he will avoid contact to avoid being humiliated.
If you do react, in any way, this would make your NFH’s day and he will just get worse. If you don’t react, this churns up his tiny mind.
Now we accept that there may be an occasion when you will need to speak to your NFH. Always be polite and civil and preferably call them by their surname. Mr or Mrs NFH, NEVER by their first name, even if you called them by their first name prior to the start of the NFH difficulties. This adds an air of formality to the proceedings that they will not be comfortable with and it does shake them. Almost as if they’ve been called to account by you. A small gesture but an important one.
As for gangs this is more difficult but the same rules apply. Ignore any provocation and be civil. Chances are your neighbours just want a quiet life and will listen to the NFH spout on and on about you just to keep him quiet but most people will tire of your NFH. They will also have heard how you have been the villain throughout. But if you don’t react or gossip, your neighbours, like normal people, will soon see the situation for what it is. And we can guarantee that your NFH will be relentless in his trashing of you ad nauseam. Whilst people won’t actively fall out with your NFH, you’ll see them drop away or have minimum contact as they will be sick of it and they will probably find your NFHs antics embarrassing.
NFHs with NPD believe the rest of the world is like them. Fortunately for us, they’re not, but your NFH can’t see this.
Again this will be a huge blow to your NFH. All of a sudden, those who he thought were believing his perfect self are disappearing out of his life.
Again we reiterate, it’s a long term game plan for you. Our intention is for your NFH to be backed into a corner where you have logged and recorded everything. The other neighbours see the situation for what it is and your case against him builds up.
So in summary, to defend yourself against the NFH:
- Never, ever refuse mediation.
- Log every incidence of harassment, threats or intimidation.
- Keep records of correspondence.
- Avoid putting anything in writing to your NFH. Use a solicitor or ask NFHiB first.
- Obtain legal insurance on your home contents policy.
- Ignore, ignore, ignore your NFH and their harassment.
- If possible, erect a 6 foot fence between yourself and your NFH. On your own land if necessary.
- Never bad mouth your NFH to the other neighbours.
- Avoid eye contact with your NFH. Use sunglasses wear possible.
- Never avoid walking past the NFH (difficult we know, but it gets easier).
- If you ever need to speak to your NFH always be civil and call them by their surname, Mr or Mrs NFH.
- Remember most people aren’t like the NFH. The NFH thinks they are but in reality they aren’t. The other neighbours will eventually see the truth.
- Deprive your NFH of his narcissistic supply by not reacting.
- Visit NFHiB for support.
One of our members has suggested that you operate your own reward scheme. So every time you do not react to the NFH, you place £1 in a piggy bank to positively reinforce this and reward yourself every month or so. We think that’s a great idea if it works for you, but not reacting to your NFH will be driving him mad which you may think is reward enough. We’ll leave that up to you.
This leads us nicely onto the penultimate part of this article.
7. FIGHTING BACK AGAINST YOUR NFH
First off, for those of you who came straight here without reading the rest, go back and start reading again. Much of what we’ll be discussing will be meaningless unless you know the background.
OK? Everyone here who should be here?
So, fighting back. Well, the good news is that if you adopt the policies mentioned in the previous section you’re already fighting back against the NFH. He’s being deprived of what feeds him and he has encountered an adversary who, probably for the first time, refuses to play by his rules.
But is there any kind of direct action you can take? Yes there is, but we repeat that this can only be done legally. Do not fall into the NFH antics of harassment or threats.
If you want a detailed look at narcissists – this website is useful: Detailed look at narcissists – and we’ll be using some of the information contained therein.
But before we delve into fighting back, we need to look a bit closer at your NFHs personality and his weaknesses.
Every NFH situation is different to some degree but we hope we’ve now been able to put in some sort of order how your NFH operates.
NFH’s believe they are clever, far above anyone else. All part of their fantasy ideal self. What we need to distinguish between is the reality and your NFHs fantasy.
This is why it is absolutely vital that you arm yourself with unequivocal 100% true information. As we’ve pointed out, narcissists are superhuman in their ability to concoct a highly plausible story based on the available facts.
But the psychological pillar on which they stand is very fragile and its very easy to break a narcissist. They believe that everyone should cater to their whims.
Should you ever have to deal with your NFH in a legal framework, then if your evidence is absolutely incontrovertible then your NFH will react with rage and a desperate attempt to re-establish his ideal self will expose facts he had no conscious intention of exposing.
Also any insinuation that your NFH isn’t special will make him lose control. If you say he is boring, his needs aren’t everyone’s priority, no special concessions will be made to him, that the court can decide what to do with him as you can’t be bothered to deal with it will all drive him into a rage.
“But if all this drives him into a rage, then won’t this make him worse?”
It could do, but the intention is to deter the NFH. NFHs live in a state of constant rage, repressed aggression, envy and hatred. As they believe everyone else is like them, they are paranoid, suspicious, scared and erratic. To act effectively, one has to strike repeated escalating blows at the NFH, until they let go.
If you react to his provocation them you are letting him know that he is important. The trick is to let him know that he isn’t important, he’s an irrelevance as far as you are concerned. As we know the NFH will play a series of short term games to try and provoke you. Each time you don’t react, his rage builds up until it gets turned in on itself and his ideal self is seriously under threat. If you won’t defer to his ideal self then he will do what he can to protect it and withdraw.
Should your friends or neighbours ever be drawn into a conversation about the NFH, treat it as a minor annoyance. “Oh you mean Mr. NFH next door? Well, he’s not that bad. He’s only a (insert career here). Shame he’s not succeeded in life…If he only realised what we know about him”. That sort of thing. But don’t engage in a full blown character assassination. And only raise it if the other neighbours raise the issue first.
You can also drop hints that you are in possession of information that will finish him off. “Well if we ever got to court, we’ve a mountain of evidence to use, but no big deal”. As long as you maintain a casual air, that you aren’t in the slightest bit bothered by your NFH, he will feel threatened. Of course all of what you say won’t all get back to the NFH but as he is so suspicious and paranoid, he will be wanting to see how you react.
Another way to attack if you’re having vandalism problems is to make out you’ve installed CCTV. NFH’s are so paranoid that they won’t want their antics exposed so will withdraw. How you do this is up to you. By using a fake sticker or fake cameras for example. But make sure these are pointing into your property only. Of course you can always install real cameras. Have a look at the guidelines we have on NFHiB.
You could also do this with noise. If your NFH is playing loud music outside then set up a fake monitoring equipment arrangement. A few wires and speakers out of a briefcase in the garden would probably do. Again your NFH will be after a reaction so he’ll be watching you. In his paranoid mind, if he sees you with what looks like expensive monitoring equipment monitoring him, he’ll withdraw.
What we need to point out is that most of the drama takes place in the paranoid mind of the NFH. His imagination runs amok. He finds himself snarled by horrifying scenarios, pursued by the “vilest” certainties. The NFH is his own worst persecutor and prosecutor.
You don’t have to do much except utter a vague reference, make an ominous allusion, delineate a possible turn of events. Your NFH will do the rest for you. He’s like a little child in the dark, generating the very monsters that paralyse him with fear. Sounds like we’re back on our “quest” again!
As you will now know your NFH better than any of us, we’re sure you can think of other methods to deter your NFH. But make sure they are legal. We cannot emphasise this enough.
We hope you’ve now been given the insight to know how your NFH operates but if we go into Lord Of The Rings mode, with this knowledge comes great responsibility.
There are of course, the usual ways of fighting back such as contacting the Environmental Health Department of your local Council and calling the police. The police, as we’ve already mentioned, will often not want to get involved but it’s important that you make them file a report and give you a reference number. Should you end up in court, this will be vital.
If your NFH or a gang is involved in any kind of violence against you, call 999 immediately.
8. KEEP A COOL HEAD
It’s easy to become totally engrossed in the antics of the NFH but we’d like to conclude by saying that whilst your NFH will be paranoid and your reaction, or lack of it, will be dominating his every thought, its important that you get on with your life.
We hope we’ve provided you with the understanding and the tools to combat most of your NFH problems.
Our ultimate aim at NFHiB is that you can recognise that you’re not the only ones to be suffering at the hands of NFHs and ideally we don’t want you to have to visit NFHiB at all. Make sure that you make the time, most of your time, to be with your friends or family or doing what you enjoy. Your NFH should occupy only a small percentage of your life. If you do feel the need to rant about your NFH, then that is what we are here for. To offer advice and above all to listen knowing that we know what you are going through.
You now know how your NFH operates so hopefully you’ll be better prepared to deal with him.
“I AM NOT ALONE”
Ok,OK; so you did remember!