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Poor Tom's Situation

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  • Poor Tom's Situation

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to NFH, but I've lived next to one for 4 years. But he's as convinced that it's me who's the NFH, and I'm worried that any one of you might be him!! I have dogs, fairly well-behaved. Naturally they bark sometimes, and when I'm out I don't know how loud or how long - except when I come home and the house is almost always quiet until they bark their greetings when they hear the front door open.

    In the 'good old days' when my NFH was still speaking to me, he complained about the noise, but would never give me details, just that they bark 'all the time' which I know to be untrue - at least a big exaggeration. And he refused to give me feedback on my anti-bark strategies (e.g. leave tv on/off; leave with chews, bones etc; feed in morning/evening) so I couldn't take action to minimise the noise. It was as if he wanted the noise so he could complain.

    Then - thankfully? - he stopped speaking to me. But has complained to Environmental Health about the dogs, the extension being built, starting our cars in the morning before we go to work, the smoke detector going off while we were away on holiday, Xmas 2001 (why didn't he call the fire brigade?!! - or ask the neighbour with a key to go in and turn it off?)

    I've tried going round to discuss things with him, but he orded me off his property, with 'I have nothing to say to you' (pity he didn't also think about listening). We've tried the local conciliation service, but he refuses to participate.

    And now he's complained to social services about our maltreatment of the baby, because he cries.

    We've never (yet) complained about the smoke from his barbecue sending our children indoors most fine summer evenings, nor about his cypresses which are encroaching on our front garden. Aren't we moderate and reasonable?

    But after what he's been putting us - and ourt children - through we could almost want to make our baby (18 months & good lungs) cry, just to annoy him!! Naturally, we try to stop him crying because we love him & don't want him to be unhappy.

    I guess - apart from needing to sound off! - I'm wondering how some of you expect things to get better, if all you do is talk about fighting fire with fire, unless you've tried everthing else. And can anyone suggest something for me to do? Talk to a councillor perhaps, as he's abusing the council's procedures? And no: we're not moving house!

    Poor Tom
    "Poor Tom shall lead thee" (King Lear)

  • #2
    Hello Tom

    Welcome to the NFH board!

    Don't worry, it's a very common occurrence that many victims of NFH, actually get called the NFH by the NFH! (Did that make sense?! )........

    In other words, the perpetrator blames the victim for the cause of the problems (that was better I think!).

    It sounds like you are living with a difficult situation and although your neighbour complains about certain disturbances from you house, he seems to be unwilling to give you more exact details (e.g. with the dogs barking, etc). I, as a responsible dog owner like you, would do everything possible to rectify a situation of noise with my dog, if someone complained (our dog is certainly not noisy though, occasionally though, like any dog). We actually actively ask our neighbours if they hear our dog when we are not at home etc, and the times we've asked, it's always been reported back to us that there are no problems or noise, etc.

    Can you visit your house sometime during the day when the dogs think you're out and just stand outside and listen? Hopefully, without alerting the dogs you're possibly there? Or maybe another neighbour can give more tangible evidence? You've certainly tried from what you've said to be a responsible dog owner and tried different strategies and you obviously care.

    Your situation sounds like it's degraded into a current one where it's not possible to discuss anything with your neighbour anymore, chiefly it seems, because he's ignoring you. I agree, you shouldn't move if you don't want to.

    We have many different NFH members, some agree and use the "fight fire with fire approach", other's prefer to use a more formal and 'legislative' approach and don't advocate the 'pay back with the same tactics'. We all have our preferences (and they all have their own merits) and I'm sure you have different tactics that work for you personally - thats what its all about really, personal preferences in dealing with NFH orientated situations. I can understand and appreciate all the different ways of dealing with NFH all board members have, in my opinion, there isn't a right way or a wrong way, it's what works for you and is a personal thing.

    It doesn't sound like your neighbour has actually made you previously aware of his 'concerns' (before reporting it to the EH) about the alleged noise coming from your house (e.g. smoke alarm, cars, etc)?

    You do sound reasonable most definitely, and from your post it certainly looks like you've made the first move and offered to meet him halfway to discuss things, unfortunately it seems he's not willing. Is there anyone else nextdoor you can approach instead who may be more reasonable? (e.g partner, other adult member of the household?).

    Anyway, that said, come back often ok!


    • #3
      Thanx for quick reply, April. A mid-terraced house. Cosy! Lots of party walls. But the neighbour the other side is cool, and we put up with their middle of the road loud music parties when they happen. That's what being a neighbour's all about. Unless we win the lottery & can afford a detached house with grounds...

      The time the EH came out was (apart from 20-minute school runs - on foot - , and those not every day) only the 2nd time in 6 months the dogs had been left at home. I now take the dogs on the school run & tie them up by the school gate while I go in & wait for the big kids.

      How do these emoticons work?I want to play with them...
      "Poor Tom shall lead thee" (King Lear)


      • #4
        Originally posted by Matthew@Feb 16 2003, 12:57 AM

        Can you visit your house sometime during the day when the dogs think you're out and just stand outside and listen? Hopefully, without alerting the dogs you're possibly there? Or maybe another neighbour can give more tangible evidence?
        Tried that, often: usually quiet, sometimes playing. Other neighbours say they can hear the dogs sometimes, but it's not a problem, even for the neighbour who's a shift worker.

        Perhaps I should send my elderly mother around to talk to him. Well, she scares me...
        "Poor Tom shall lead thee" (King Lear)


        • #5

          To me it doesn't sound like you've got a problem with the dogs barking then, all you can do is to actively keep monitoring the situation and you sound like you're really making an effort to minimise any small amounts of barking anyway (e.g. with taking them to school with you).

          There's a really good article on the NFH website, that may be of some use.


          • #6
            Hi Tom,

            From what you have told us I don't think you are an NFH. In my experience NFH would not do all you have done to try and appease a neighbour. It seems that your neighbour has the problem, perhaps he's over sensitive to noise. I'm sure everybody would agree that we expect a certain amount of noise from our neighbours and as long as it is not over excessive it's perfectly acceptable.

            It seems to me that you have tried your best to deal with complaints. Your other neighbour seems to have no problems. So firstly, stop beating yourself up thinking you're an NFH. Secondly, I agree with April's suggestion of writing a letter to your NFH. If you keep the tone conciliatory (and keep a copy) and don't get a favourable reply then this will prove that he is being unreasonable. Optimistically, he might respond in a positive manner. (but we won't hold our breath )

            Some people are not happy unless they are making other peoples' lives a misery, perhaps your NFH is one of them. Are there, perhaps, any complaints you have against him? Does he have any children of his own? Because any person with a degree of common sense will know that babies and small children cry, sometimes for reasons we cannot fathom. It's called being human, and most people will understand that. What we can't understand is miserable, selfish types like your NFH appears to be!

            "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


            • #7
              Hi Tom,


              so sorry to hear you are going through this, it can make you very paranoid when you have been accused of noise.

              If your other neighbour doesn't have a problem with the dogs then try not to worry,

              As a shift worker myself I get very irrated by noise, so if your neighbour hasnt heard any then there isn't any!!

              shift workers have super sonic hearing!!

              you sound very disillusioned at the moment, at some point we have all thought "this is never going to end"

              we remain positive for ourselves and our families,

              by fighting in what ever way we feel is appropriate keeps us busy and makes us feel as if we are proactively helping would be so easy to sit down and turn ourselves in to victims....we decided we would no longer be victims and fought the NFH, it was very hard work and very stressful, at least the stress was something we created and not the stress that the NFH chose to give us,

              every small victory wether it is just a reply from the council can give you a lift you need to carry on.

              we won over our NFH, during the time we were fighting them Matthew and I started this group, simply to be able to talk to others in the same situation, helps a great deal, makes you realise that you are not alone,

              we do not judge people here at all and it is unlikely that your NFH is here as he sounds like a bully and incapable of sharing his story with true sufferers!

              Please be strong for your family they are the most important things to you,

              come and visit often



              • #8
                Thanks, Beth and everyone

                In less than 24 hours I'm aware of not being alone: that's very valuable. And I don't think I'd even realised how alone I'd felt until now. (Well, alone as a family..)

                Don't worry, Misty, I haven't ever considered us as NFHs, just that we could be seen that way if you didn't know what our NFH is like - and that could mean the dogs or children being taken away.

                The conciliatory but firm letter sounds good. I'll see what my councillor suggests. Anyone have experiences, good or bad, of local councillors? I'm not holding my breath.

                Thanks for all your welcomes - I'll keep popping back to check up on things here.
                "Poor Tom shall lead thee" (King Lear)


                • #9
                  hey Tom,

                  glad you sound a bit happier!!

                  it is amazing how much better you can feel after venting a bit!!

                  The elections are coming up in May so you should get a good response from the local coucillors....they will do any thing for a vote!!

                  If you get no joy from them you could try the new candidates standing for election.

                  we have one guy who has been standing for 3 years now and has done more for the community than any of the councillors in our ward, hopefully this year he will get in.

                  in the worst case scenerio, if this guy carries on making these should look in to having him done for harrassment,

                  you could keep logs (they are not just for noise)

                  write down when he said your dogs were barking then ask the other neighbour if he heard them at that time etc.

                  see you soon


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the encouragement about councillors. The GOOD NEWS today is that social services have been and will put a note in our file that the complaint made by NFH (not anyonymously this time) is clearly malicious, and future complaints from him are to be ignored... They'll also write to him to say the same, but more politely.

                    See you all soon.
                    "Poor Tom shall lead thee" (King Lear)


                    • #11

                      that is good least you have one more person on your side knowing that NFH is a little liar!

                      I am very pleased for you, it must be a weight off your mind, to be accused of harming your own children when innocent must be truly horrible.

                      keep up the good fight!!


                      • #12
                        I second everything that Beth said. Good one, Tom

                        "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by E.Beth@Feb 17 2003, 5:05 PM

                          It must be a weight off your mind, to be accused of harming your own children when innocent must be truly horrible.

                          The only thing which could be worse would be the other way round: someone being found 'innocent' when they are actually abusing. But that's a whole nother ballgame, so let's leave that one just now. Point is that my children (all children) are more important than my pride, so Social Services are welcome to visit...
                          "Poor Tom shall lead thee" (King Lear)


                          • #14
                            good for you mate!!

                            It is good to know you and your family have that extra bit of support form SS through this horrible matter.

                            you seem to be "dealing" with a positive attitude and knowing in your self now that you are not at fault.

                            we have been there as well, our NFH told their landlord that we were making it all up and were liars because we didnt like them...well we didnt like them one little bit but it made us so paranoid,

                            I went to the other neighbours and asked them if we were noisey or if they had any gripes with us.....being good yorkshire folk we knew we would get a honest answer from them!!

                            In fact it just reinforced what we knew as the NFH had disturbed a lot of people in our street and the street behind us!!

                            and from that we had a lot of support with people asking us how we were getting along and were we getting any more aggro,

                            (they were also after a little bit of gossip!!)

                            I had people I sorta knew asking about the NFH as well!!

                            so and so had told so and so etc!!

                            hope this week is better for you!


                            • #15
                              Wow Poor Tom.... I haven`t been here long either but I`m really grateful to them all for being here and listening to our moans...For someone that is having problems with nfh, you sound amazingly cheerful and unruffled by your neighbours actions... I am so glad you are prepared to stay and fight the good fight.. I`m needing to take a leaf out of your book...Congratulations on winning your case...Nfh always make the victims feel like the guilty. They make you feel like that because they think that you have just to be quiet and tolerate their behaviour. And isn`t it amazing how a community will rally around a nfh...Obviously their guilt is so great that they go around looking for support making you feel that maybe you are in the wrong. Debz..