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Harassed and excluded by villagers(191 Posts)
Hoping to get some perspective from writing this down and to hear some other insights. At the moment the only solution seems to be to move house.
We live in a small village and another local family have been harassing us for several years. It began with a falling out over a shared right of way. They attempted to claim it as their own but we were able to prove it is shared. That came to a conclusion a year ago, but the other family seem unable to move on.
They have continued to harass our family and our children. There are verbal attacks, shouting/name calling, verbally abuse towards my children, following and watching us. No opportunity is missed; if we see them, they react.
We avoid them where possible, but there is a playground nearby which we all use. Avoiding them entirely would mean avoiding the playground and my children missing out on playing with friends.
The other family have developed friendships with our other neighbours and those neighbours are now frosty with us. Not all our neighbours, but a small handful.
The police take the view it's a civil matter.
I would have thought the verbal harassment, following etc would be a police issue? Maybe start keeping a diary or perhaps speak to a solicitor to see if a ‘cease and desist’ letter would be appropriate.
Otherwise just completely ignore until they get tired of it, and perhaps make it known in a strictly factual non emotional way around the village that you are legally correct regarding right of way and consider the matter closed.
I'd keep your head down if you want to sell. You'd legally need to disclose this if its ongoing or recent
The frostiness of other neighbours is not something you can do anything about- just keep being polite and things may settle down.
I would have thought following you etc would be a police matter though.
Get a camera for your car and another on your doorbell for evidence of harassment. And then just smile it out by being reasonable to all you meet.
Sadly I don't think they will get tired of it. They seem to enjoy intimidating us. I'm aware they are circulating a narrative that paints us in a very negative light.
I've begun to dread leaving my house or going to the playground - especially if they are there with the group that have sided with them. I struggle with the hostility and the anxiety it brings.
Honestly, I'd move.
My parents had something very similar also over an access issue. It got so bad that they installed CCTV and had them on camera all standing staring at the house and even spray painting (they believed part of my parents land was theirs deposits a surveyor proving otherwise). Aggressive and up in my dad's face (bearing in mind my dad is in his 60s and he was in his 30-40s). The police wouldn't get involved. My dad ended up with time off work with the stress (never once has he had this before in his working life). Thankfully they moved and seem so much happier. I've no idea if they've sold it or rent it out (I know that sounds daft but they kept changing their minds and I haven't wanted to bring it up on case it stresses them out).
All the nearby neighbours took the other blokes side as my parents had not long moved in. The atmosphere was awful. They couldn't even sit outside in back garden without being talked about.
This sounds awful. Tbh I would move as well.
I would move.
These people will never relent. They are bullies. They get a kick out of keeping this going. Is it really worth the stress and anxiety?
I know moving is very stressful in itself, but this situation is not going to change and even if they moved away, they've already turned others against you. They are despicable.
Definately move.....it’s not worth the aggro
I wouldn't move. But that's because I'm a determined woman and there is no way I'd be chased out of my own home - provided it was a home I loved and not just a stop-gap - by neighbours who have decided that the right way to get their own way is by behaving like arseholes. My home is my sanctuary, a place I love and am planning on staying in for a long time. Were things otherwise I might feel differently.
But, if you feel otherwise do bear this in mind:
I'd keep your head down if you want to sell. You'd legally need to disclose this if its ongoing or recent.
That's true, and good advice.
This can happen anywhere, but I think it is harder in a village. They are not going to change. Make your peace with your lives being like this, or move.
I'm wondering what they could possibly be saying about your disagreement that would make people take their side?
They denied you use of a right of way, and you were forced to legally prove the entitlement.
And as an adult I have seen several sets of friends and neighbours fall out. I nod and listen if someone is grumbling but ultimately I take people as I find them. If you are unfailingly polite and friendly, people will come to suspect the integrity of their narrative.
@use147, that sounds awful for your parents and a very similar situation to this
@rawlikesushi, Broadly speaking they have suggested mental illness and that they are being harassed by us
I know that over time people will see them for what they are and suspect some do already question the integrity of their narrative, but here and now there is hostility and we are unhappy living here.
Just the neighbor family(unless anything reaches criminal level; then you notify police; or if children are bullied at school, you tell the school), Be polite and calm to other neighbours and DO NOT GOSSIP or tattle tale to them. In village/rural life, your own behaviour makes your reputation. People work out for themselves who the liars and nuisances.
@2bazzookas, I agree and we have avoided talking about this to anyone in the village. Unfortunately they've taken advantage of this and spread their narrative to quite a few existing and new residents.
I don't want to talk to anyone else. It would feel like we're pitching ourselves against them and encouraging people to take sides. I really don't want that kind of atmosphere where we live.
Do you think over time other villagers will witness the harassment of you, eg at the playground?
I think keeping a diary of what happens is a good idea. It sounds so frustrating.
Honestly, just move. We had neighbour issues and I dreaded returning home from being out (going out I could check the coast was clear). We put the house on the market mid Sept and were sitting in our new house by Dec 1st. Life's too short.
In a village people know who the nutters are and if they sustain this level of harrassment I bet you're not the first family to have been on their sharp end. Keep your head down but be polite and friendly to as many other people as possible so they can work out for themselves that you're not as nuts as the other lot.
When schools go back you'll have chance to meet other local families and this will broaden your friendship group.
Agree with quietly filming them with hidden cameras or your phone and then going back to the police.
We also love in a village and it's a nightmare our nextdoor can't stand us because "my partner is a black c*nt " there words,we also had a silly woman that needed 5 other woman to confront me over a matter that she wasn't even involved in threating to slap me infront of my children! Screaming over my 5week olds pram!! I've stuck this out and not one of them can look at me 2years later!
I can see why you want to keep quiet but I think you are playing into their hands. I would very slowly start making the true facts known. I'd also keep a record of what they do because harassment is a police matter, they will just need pushing to take action. Good luck.
Keep the moral high ground: don’t discuss them with other people and just hope that they are seen for what they truly are.