Being a newcomer to the NFH site, here’s my story, but will start near the end. The condition no doubt so many of us who have endured NFH’s get to before discovering this great site.
A few days ago my wife and I were reclusive gibbering wrecks. We live in our own lovely detached house on the Isle of Wight, but this was our prison. Back curtains closed, garden avoided, windows shut even when hot, garage and car standing only visited if absolutely essential. My wife washes the car in the garage, rather than go outside. I was booking a third appointment with the doctor for stress directly caused by our NFH, and we were seriously considering moving from our lovely house.
As a Managing Director of own business and service as Royal Navy Chief, I became a pathetic shell of myself. My wife is more the quiet retiring type, she was also suffering from the antics of our NFH. The latest NFH stunt was to erect a huge tatty 1.5M aerial level to our bedroom window and about 10 feet away. Spoiling the ambience of our garden; and view from every back window of our house. We knew this was just another example of our NFH doing what he likes, and to hell with anyone else. We both feel we’re good people that wouldn’t deliberately antagonise anyone. How on Earth did we get to this stage?
On discovering the NFH website, and reading through the vast amount of tips and stories was a revelation. The ‘Beyond Reconciliation’ area of the Help menu, explained what we were dealing with, an insight of what makes your NFH tick, but more importantly a strategy for dealing with the situation.
Changing your life to suit the whims of a nutcase is not the way to go! And that was exactly what we were doing. We’re no longer recluses, we now confidentially strut our stuff out the back of our house to reclaim our life. The sunglasses tip is a great help. Wife and I recently walked back from a couple of quiet drinks on the beach, hand in hand past our NFH’s house to access our back garden entrance, this simple act will no doubt annoy our NFH, but he is now an insignificance. Shortly we will wash our car outside, not in the garage, we can use the council owned roadside area, formerly commandeered by our NFH. Incidentally we found that it’s useful to decide the route to take, prior to venturing out, and proceed regardless where the NFH is located.
He may at some point again do his worst, but we now feel strong enough to deal with anything he slings our way. Ignore, ignore, ignore is the way ahead.
On the forum I’ve seen all sorts of accounts of NFH nightmares. It occurred to me that what NFHs get up to is almost irrelevant - take any necessary official action if they’re breaking laws, log significant incidents, keep any evidence, but beyond that ignore your NFA and crack on with your life. The rest will take its course.
When we moved into our own detached house a few years ago our NFH neighbour is an elderly man (mid 70s I believe) . He lives with his wife in a tiny bungalow. We share a common courtyard, he has a garage, and we have a garage and car standing on our land. Legally the courtyard is part of his bungalow land (potential for problems), but we have full rights of access for all purposes, and all times.
Anyway here is what I nickname my NFHs ‘Bonkers List’:-
On moving in, NFH immediately complained about our removal van being on ‘his land’ (the shared courtyard, he ‘let us off, just this once’.
He introduces himself by saying he runs the road, everything goes through him, he knows everything, and similar such claptrap - bizarre as he had only just moved in himself. Referring to the removal van incident, he says ‘Could have been worst, you could have been blacks’. He’s clearly a vile racist, but also this comment was designed to put us in my place.
Day after moving Sky Van arrives to connect TV. NFH complains van shouldn’t be ‘on his land’ (i.e. the shared courtyard); he will make an exception only for businesses he recommends. Not wishing to make trouble we ensure nothing (including our own vehicle) was ever parked on the shared courtyard. However this drives our NFH wild, on one occasion he rants and says we were not allowed to park on the road anywhere near his house. On this occasion we were 50 yards away from his house, and never ever parked opposite his house out of politeness.
A few months’ later things appeared to settle, largely down to our one way compromises. We duly park car in garage, and utility vehicles can park on our car hard standing. Our NFH was putting on the charm, but instinctively I felt he was entwining himself in our lives too much; moving our bin to be collected, opening our garage door for us etc. that sort of thing.
All that changed when our NFH deposited a caravan a few feet away from our car hard standing area. I calmly and politely requested to NFH to move the caravan back to allow access to our car area. He immediately went into an aggressive intimidating rant consistently pointing his finger from my forehead. How I kept calm heavens knows, military experience and former life as a DHSS Civil Servant certainly helped. His rant revolved around the theme ‘it’s his land’ and he can do whatever he likes. He also dumped his wheely bin adjacent our back garden. We’re the ones who have to look and be inconvenienced by his eyesores, as they are placed opposite our back access, not his bungalow.
Too many things to mention over the next few years, most significant was using the caravan for semi-permanent accommodation for a relative of his, and running an outside mains electrical cable attached to our garage (without our permission of course) and bridging our car hand standing area missing our heads by about 6 inches. Health and Safety was conspicuous by its absence.
Then the old bangers arrived, four permanently on the courtyard, up to six worked on at once. These were worked on by various Chav type youths, all linked to our NFH. Reversing out of garage was an inch perfect manoeuvre; in fact we found it easier and less dangerous to reverse in. Our NFH of course never ever used his garage, he left his 4x4 on the public road, reducing access to the courtyard and forcing us on to the wrong side of the road on a blind bend whenever we had to access the courtyard to our garage.
Due to his aggressive and unreasonable nature, we never complained about any of this, but of course worse was to come. The works on the old bangers became more outrageous, and access to the whole garage courtyard could be totally blocked. A car was seen on blocks in front of our garage (a foot away) making access impossible. However the whole operation was largely clandestine, we saw these atrocities when we changed our normal routine, on a days off from work for example.
It didn’t take much to work out that our NFH was monitoring our activities to pick the times he thought we were out. We had categorical proof one Thursday morning when both my wife and I were on a day off work at the same time. From my kitchen window I saw our NFH enter our back garden, look through the back garage window, and then around the garden looking through each window of our house, the final window he looked through was our kitchen window. When he saw my wife and I, he immediately looked shocked, turned around and legged it off our property. Enough was enough; the police had to be contacted and action had to be taken regarding the tatty old bangers making access to our own garage unpleasant at best, impossible at worst.
A complaint was submitted to our Council regarding lack of access to our own car areas and the suspicion an illegal business was going on. During enquiries of the deeds, I was staggered to learn that our ‘It’s my land I can do What I Like’ NFH was in fact a tenant! Our NFH spun a story to the council that it was only his grandson working on his car; which contradicted the number of vehicles (up to six) seen simultaneously being worked on by up various youths.
Regarding the police, I must say were very helpful, they examined the situation in the garage courtyard area and agreed it was not reasonable. We also learnt that they were already examining other matters connected to our NFH, this blog is not the place to mention these. Police spoke to our NFH, and their landlord. We also spoke to their landlord, and although it was apparent he was a ‘friend’ of the tenants, he was reasonable regarding the legal obligations, and unlike our NFH suggested compromises. Agreeing we should have reasonable access to our car hard standing, should not be blocked in our own garage, and that the old bangers would be removed early in the New Year 2014.
The youths connected to our NFH (we learnt they didn’t even live in the area, but in a nearby ‘rough estate’), made a habit of using our path from front to back garden as a thoroughfare, leaving all our gates open in the process. The police helped in this regard as well, and recommended security gates complete with combination lock to circumvent this particular problem.
Enough was enough, we decided not to speak to our NFH, but the one mistake we did do was changing our routine and avoiding the back aspect of our house like the plague. Looking back we were lucky we didn’t engage in tit for tat or retaliation of any sort; we genuinely just wanted to have a quiet life. Heavens knows what our NFH has being saying to our other neighbours in the vicinity, judging by the dirty looks and blanking - plenty. It appears that everyone our NFH is in contact with is our enemy, and we’ve never had the chance to speak to them. We actually know more people half way up the street (out of NFH’s range) than adjacent to us.
Of course things don’t end there; our NFH has taken over a small strip of council land that was communally tendered. This is now a monument to tat (gravel, pretend beach, tacky signs etc.), and a focal point to the car repair activities, that continue albeit relocated due to landlord/police/council intervention. Certainly not out of the goodness of his heart.
His most recent act was erecting a huge TV aerial roughly a couple of metres from our Main Bedroom window and dominating the view and breaking a few planning laws in the process. This aerial is on the back of his garage which backs onto our garden, so just a few feet from fence. It is not even the ideal position for TV reception.
Having read the NFH site we now understand why he behaves like this – he has the traits of a classic Narcissist. We’re now psychologically prepared by ignoring him, reporting any significant transgressions to the relevant authorities, and cracking on with our own good lives.
Edited by John - Isle of Wight, 05 July 2014 - 03:56 PM.