Beyond Mediation

Beyond Mediation - Part 6 (Section 1)

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6. 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.