So last night was a tough night. I took a tablet that I know knocks me out, I usually only take half a tablet when I need it for pain, but…

A while ago I remember looking at websites for warning signs of psychopaths. I wanted to know what other people seemed to know, and more importantly, I wanted to avoid being drawn into abusive relationships. I need to avoid being drawn into abusive relationships. I have utterly reached my limit with them. A friend of mine asked me to compile a list of ‘tells’ that we could use to create a ‘safe space’ in a business that we are trying to set up.

I didn’t really know where to start. And then it dawned on me last night: I do. And I have the perfect example of it in operation. My neighbour is not a psychopath, but he is a thoroughly horrible person. Possibly an alcoholic. definitely a grade A arsehole. For the last two years I have been slowly indoctrinated in to ‘how to be a perfect neighbour of 32’. It’s only over that last several months that I have realised just how bad things have been, and how traumatic the experience is having to relive the kind of oppression and abuse that I used to have to live with as a child.

We don’t want to make the links; we close our eyes; but there comes a time when our eyes are opened for us. There comes a time, where a series of events forces your brain to acknowledge the severity of the situation you are living with. And once opened, they can not forget what they have seen. This is where I am. Tackling historic neglect and abuse, while trying to manage it in my day-to-day life. It’s exhausting. But the thing I realised last night, I am an educated grown woman, with a voice. I can change my circumstances. I can unlearn ‘learned helplessness’. There is help and I am going to take it.

Here is how it works. I’ve told you all before, I’m sure… Your silence is a pre-requisite for continued abuse. Now listen here, before you go all victim blaming on yourself. It is not your fault you have been silent. It’s not my fault I have been silent, say it with me. It is not my fault I have been silent, but now I realise I have been silent, I will not be silent anymore. You go and you find that person that will listen AND help you move out of victimhood. We don’t live here, not any more. We have new rules to live by, and they are made by us, not them.

I called the police today. When the neighbour pulled up in the car, he got out of the car and called me a something ‘shit’. I just picked the phone up and called the police. They asked me what had led up to him calling me a something ‘shit’ and I said, ‘my front door is open’. When the police officer asked me in that disbelieving tone of voice, “what else happened”, I didn’t own that and think oh god they don’t believe me. I thought, I barely believe it myself mate! And I live next door to it. When I replied calmly and clearly that the door being open WAS the provocation, he asked me further questions. I was then able to tell him about the harassment order.

There is a new thing now, they ask you how you feel. How does it make you feel. Well I barely know, because I’m not used to being able to give voice to my feelings, as and when they happen. I’m not used to taking positive action in the moment. That kind of thing would have led to all manner of idiocy in my childhood days. But I am not a child. And I am not a victim. I am a person who is being intimidated, by another person who has his own reasons for acting like the very devil.

How do I feel? Right now, I feel focused and empowered. I feel future focused and slightly energised. I feel ready to take this man on, and push back those boundaries.

How did I feel at the time? Intimidated, nervous, on edge, anxious, frustrated… I know there will be some people out there thinking ‘brush it off’. ‘Sticks and stones’, but with this type of harassment, no out right display of physical violence or aggression is necessary, he already set that up two years ago.

He proved that he would drive his car at me in the street, the message being clear, “I will run you over”, “You will be punished”, “This is my street”. I once heard his visitor ask him how I got in and out of the house, and he told her that I used the back door, she just said, “oh”, and accepted that. I almost did too, it seems reasonable, doesn’t it? I park here, because she uses the back door. The truth is a little different isn’t it. I use the back door because I do not want to be driven at. I use the back door because I have been threatened with violence if I am seen in the street and he is in his car.

His bullying days are numbered. I AM going to use the front door and use the street, and if he drives at me, I WILL report him to the police. I will report every incident, from the vile words, to the door kicking and on. I will list and log every incident. I will not ‘only tell people of the worst of it’ I will tell of every look and glance designed to threaten, control and manipulate me. He cannot bank on my silence anymore. He can not control my life any further.

There is a new boss in town, and it’s me.

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