Sometimes I feel so wretched. I know I have come a long way in terms of developing my character and learning to deal sensibly, maturely, and confidently with the challenges that life throws up. I have a very good psychotherapist to thank for that.
But it seems to be God’s will for my life, and for all our lives, that we are continually stretched and tested. We meet with new challenges that aren’t like our previous ones, and we are always made to feel aware of our frailty and dependence on God by events and situations that arise that threaten our peace.
That was a very general introduction to this post, so let me be a little more specific about what’s troubling me. I hope you’ll indulge me for a couple of paragraphs if I talk a little about a personal situation I’m struggling with.
I live in a flat within a house that is connected with mental health services in my area. I have experienced serious mental health problems over the past decade which is why I ended up living here. In this accommodation I benefit from affordable rent, as well as regular support from a mental health charity who have a contract with the housing association I rent from (my landlord). There are many blessings I enjoy living here, and I’m always thanking God for providing for me in this way.
However, as I wrote about in this article, I’m experiencing ongoing problems with the neighbour who lives in the flat adjacent to me. The problems have been going on for a few months now. Without listing everything antisocial that he does, I’ll just say that he uses bullying and intimidation as a matter of course, and one particular way this manifests is he plays music at full volume with the bass turned up for about five hours a day. It’s not easy to ignore.
Having tried the obvious response of asking my neighbour to turn his music down on a few occasions, I tried taking things a step further and told him that I would have to report him to the housing association if the loud music continued. He responded very aggressively to this, insisting this would make me guilty of some kind of betrayal.
A few weeks ago I took myself to A&E in the middle of the night because my neighbour’s behaviour was really getting to me, and I felt it was seriously impacting my state of mind and mental health. The following day I had a meeting with the housing manager from the charity who support this property, and I totally divulged everything that has been going on and how it has been making me feel.
The Follow-Up Meeting
The housing manager arranged a follow-up meeting with him, myself, and a representative from the housing association to whom I pay my rent. We had that meeting yesterday. We spent about an hour talking things through and the other two felt it was certainly necessary to take firm action. The housing association representative explained she had extensive experience of dealing with similar situations, and would begin by writing a letter to all tenants in the property outlining our obligations to obey the terms of our tenancies. The letter would be general, and would not implicate him, but if he failed to change his behaviour, then further action would be taken.
How this is Making me Feel
Knowing my neighbour as I do, I have a strong feeling that when he receives the letter from our landlord in the next few days he will immediately suspect I have reported him. Judging from past experience, it’s very likely that this will prompt an aggressive response. The kind of thing I’m expecting is him hammering on my door, shouting and swearing at me, and quizzing me about what I have said to the housing association.
I really don’t know whether or not I’m doing the right thing. There is a strong part of me that feels I shouldn’t have told the landlord what’s going on, because it’s very likely to make the situation significantly worse. Maybe in situations like this it’s best to ‘lie low’, count one’s blessings, and simply be kind and patient. Is reporting him really going to lead to a happy outcome?
I’m not looking forward to the prospect of an intimidation campaign from my neighbour that may well end up with the police involved, and potentially a court case, in which he would most probably lie about everything and try to make my life as difficult as possible.
True, I am envisaging worst-case scenarios, and I certainly believe in an infinite God who is in control of this situation, and I don’t believe there’s any reason why He can’t bring about a happy resolution, perhaps in an unexpected way. I will certainly continue to pray for that. But my thoughts are currently filled with the threatening behaviour I may face in the coming days and the words I will have to speak to my neighbour and the phone calls I will have to make if things get serious.
Thank You for Your Support
This blog is primarily focused not on my personal life but on big ideas about God and faith and life and truth. Check out the archives and that should be clear enough. I haven’t published philosophy and theology posts for a while because I am in the process of releasing an album of songs I’ve written, and that’s taking up a lot of my time at present. And of course I have the neighbour situation absorbing some of my attention.
The community here on WordPress is like a group of friends; people who I feel I can trust with my fears and insecurities. So I hope you’ll forgive me for once in a while writing a post like this where I share what’s on my mind and the struggles I’m going through.
Even though I don’t presently identify as a member of a particular faith community, I still really appreciate prayers (I believe there is one God over all creation), and I know many of you do pray for me, because you have told me. If you do pray for me please ask God to protect me and guide me and help me to deal with this difficult situation in the best way possible. Thank you so much!
Life GOD is a great teacher, so I’ll try to remain optimistic and believe I will come out of this situation with gratitude and joy in my heart. And may my neighbour experience a breakthrough in his life that will encourage him to act with greater humanity and kindness. I have no idea what he has been through in the past.
Blessings upon you all!