Bee Stings, Bullies and Where Blame Really Belongs

While I have heard you can catch more bees with honey than vinegar, I have to wonder about the life of the person who stated this because it is not always wise to be sweet as I have learned time and time again in trying to tolerate, maintain or repair relationships. Not all ships are created equal and not all relations are deserving of our loving kindness. This does not mean cruelty is in order either, simply that setting healthy boundaries or walking away is often the best choice to save ourselves. Staying in a situation that is unhealthy for us is the worst kind of punishment we could exact on our own psyche and well being but sometimes we find ourselves trapped in situations we could never have foreseen.

While I could include and discuss many relationships today I am going to talk about bullies. Where do they belong in our social system? Or do they belong at all? I say they are social misfits who do not belong near healthy people until they learn to behave with respect. My ex spouse, two sisters and their adult children are all perfect examples of bullies, they bully you shut, bully your opinion away and bully you into doing or saying what they want or they will go to greater lengths of abuse to try to make you pay for what is not even yours.  I will save all the details of those experiences for my book on complicated relationships and how easily we humans can become stuck in the same troublesome patterns, trying again and again when the result is always the same: no good for us at all. A troublesome bullying neighbor is my subject in this piece.

Over a year ago a woman who speaks six languages fluently and was featured in magazines for her award winning interior design work in her youth moved into the apartment next door to mine. I was pleased because I figured she would make a great neighbor from the landlord’s description of her. On our very first meeting she gave me a clue to her personality by telling me “I don’t think the landlords know about your boyfriend.” I was shocked and sputtered out, “He does not live here, he only visits and yes they do know because they welcomed him when I moved here.” What I should have said was, “Oh. So this is who you are. Mind your own business and keep away from me.” I didn’t.

Instead, I tried to “overlook” things, be patient, kind and tolerant. The more patient and kind and tolerant I was, the more invasive she became. She is a hoarder of junk and all things junky looking which she tried to pile up on my patio shortly after moving in. I had to involve the landlord who told her to take her stuff off my patio and don’t put anything there again.

Things seemed to settle for a while after that until she left on a three week cruise last winter. All of her windows were open and I told the landlord. I did not tell him that when she calls me over to show me her latest junk acquisition the heat is excruciatingly high and yet all of her windows are kept wide open all the time. The landlord found her heat jacked right up, turned it off and closed all of her windows. Immediately upon returning home, she told me the landlord stole her rental agreement and some other things when he went in to turn down the heat. I knew the landlord would never do this but there was no convincing her.

Not long after this she was upset about her car being “keyed so badly it is big gouges on the whole side up and down from front to back.” She yacked it all out in a 45 minute exchange with me. That is another 45 minutes I will never get back. I tried telling her they did not, would not do that, that they have cameras all around the house and I suggested she involve them because maybe they could look at the tapes and see who did it. At this time I did not look at the car. She told the landlord who informed me there was a hairline scratch on her car not even the length of his hand and it could have happened anywhere, she may have even accidentally done it herself.

Still, foolish git that I am, when her dog was recently attacked by raccoons, I could see she was very distraught and loving my rescued animals as I do and have in decades past, I gave her a hug. The dog survived. And then her stuff slowly started inching further and further back over onto my patio.

She asked for help with a cover letter for a part time job and I did it. It was easy to write because in my late twenties I once owned my own business doing documents, resumes and cover letters. She offered money but had recently given me a huge jug of dish soap she found herself allergic to so I said we are even now, no worries. When her car was stolen from the staff parking at that work place, I listened because, again, I felt sorry for her. From working in the justice system I knew these cars are often stolen for a joy ride or to do some illegal deal or other and I told her it would likely be back in a week or so. It was.

She has to pass by my door to get to her apartment and in the fair weather I keep the screened door open for fresh air. She would say hi every time she passed and often stop more than once a day to talk. I began saying very silly things like “my kettle is boiling” (who knows, maybe my “inner” kettle really was, haha) just to get rid of her. She stepped in one day when I was using my washroom and I yelled at her, “I  am using my bathroom!” She left but later came back to tell me some nonsense or other that I had no interest in. She has proven completely and totally impervious to normal social cues that would have the average person backing off instantly.

When I returned from a recent few days away for a family reunion she pounced on me at the laundry room just outside my apartment. She told me the landlord yelled at her while I was away and said “You women down there are evil! You are white trash and you don’t even deserve to live in my house.” I did not believe her and told her I find that hard to believe. What I believe now is that she was trying to incite me in the two-faced fashion of master manipulators to align me against the landlord. She failed.

She listens for me to open my door and runs out to talk. She hears me doing laundry and races out to talk. She plays her TV so loud that the junk TV talk shows I hate echo straight into my place, people onstage yelling and screaming at each other while the host eggs on the drama. Hard to believe that garbage is still on TV in my opinion and I’d rather have no TV than listen to all those time wasting dramatics. The last people I lived beside here for over a year just said hello in passing and never looked in my windows. She comes down the stairs in front of my place looking into my living room door and window the entire time, she doesn’t even have the courtesy to turn away or just pass without being nosy. I put up a curtain that sees me receiving less light than my already limited light down here and she just looks around it anyway.

At one point recently when her “visits” reached four times in one day, I told my boyfriend that I have to do something about her, I can’t take this for much longer. She interrupts my rest, my reading, my writing, my chores, my self care, she triggers my PTSD and my recovery time from her “Drama Queen” hurricane episodes. Not yet sure what to do about it, I aligned myself with the landlord who had expressed irritation at her stepping on their toes, painting the once soothing apartment a bunch of loud funky colors she did not have permission for among other things she has done to offend them.  I told them I was going to be speaking to her about her invasive ways. They said I have their support.

Well. Just a couple of weeks ago she started inching still more of her crap back over onto my patio. Then a few days ago she said, “Look, I have this nice table you can use if you want to, I will put it against the wall outside your window there.” I told her I don’t really want it there. I said I like to look at the wall of green I have created and I don’t like things cluttered up. But I don’t have room for it, she said. Well, you should give it away or donate it then, I said. She ignored all I said to put the table on my patio. It was on wheels so I shoved it back over on her patio and then pushed all of her encroaching junk back there, too.

When I arrived home from errands she was waiting for me. She came to my door and said, “Did you move my stuff?” Yes, I told her, I didn’t like it and I don’t want it on my patio. Well I can’t even get in there now on my patio, she said. You need to get rid of some stuff, you have too much stuff, I said. To which she retorted: you have a lot of stuff, too. Nothing like you do, I told her and I am not trying to absorb your patio to store my junk either, you are. She said, I will put it all back. If you do, I told her, I will shove it all back on your own patio. I don’t care, she said, I will put it back, I will put it back, I will put it back! Well then, I said,  I will involve the landlord. She said in a very telling statement common among bullying social misfits: “I don’t care.”

In the typical unaccountable methodical fashion of sociopath behavior meant to manipulate us into meeting their needs, she began blaming me, telling me “you are depressed, you need help!” Having had a lot of experience with this oppressive tactic from unhealthy people in the past, I told her, “You are so messed up, it has nothing to do with me at all. You need to stop being so pushy and listen for once in your life. Stay away from me, I am not your social life!”

She continued calling me names, attempting to make her abuse my fault and I told her she is going to get herself evicted if she keeps this invasive, disrespectful behavior up. At one point my boyfriend thought she hit me and stepped out on the patio to tell her to stop abusing me, told her that she needs to stop bothering me all the time. She denied it and he told her “I’ve seen what you do, you need to leave her alone.” It was actually her dog that jumped at me and knocked my sunglasses out of my hand. Still, she just shouted back, “You don’t even live here!” No recognition or acknowledgement of anything reasonable that is being said to her is certain proof of how messed up and disrespectful she really is.

In addition to what I said to her I told her I do not want to ever again hear her two-faced talking about our landlords. She denied doing so. I cited the examples listed above and told her not to speak for me to them either, I can speak for myself just fine. She said, I didn’t! Yes, you did, while I was away you complained about something and you said “we both” and I didn’t even know anything about it, I told her,  I just don’t want to hear anything about the landlords from you ever again, do not include me in your wild imaginings.

She continued to tell me I was at fault in many ways I don’t need to list here, said she has learned what an awful person I am. Such are the abusive patterns of those broken individuals who can no longer use, abuse or manipulate us into doing whatever it is they want us to do. My last words before I came back in my apartment were: Stay away from me, I am NOT your social life.

Today is the first day of peace for me since she moved here. No back and forthing to my door. No bothering me when I did my laundry this morning. No jumping out her door as soon as she hears me exit mine or when she hears me coming down the stairs when I return home. No going up and down the stairs just to get another look into my place or talk without invitation and use up my precious life minutes.

If you know me at all as all of my long time friends and healthy, loving family members do since childhood, you know I am a loving, kind person who is all about the people and relationships. I am even considering changing my blog theme to focus on human relationships of all sorts because whether poetry, short story or a piece like this, it is always winds up being all about the people for me.  Still, whether there is mental illness, abuse of any sort, sociopath patterns or meddlesome two-faced manipulators, I have learned I need to guard my kindness and save it for those deserving. A famous psychologist named Phil McGraw says “People tell us who they are.” They sure do. If we are listening.

Sometimes sugar and honey just turn the bees more aggressive so they sting you harder and more often. Know who your bees are before you feed them anything at all is the best thing I can think of to do. Off to enjoy more peaceful uninterrupted time to myself. Now that sounds really sweet to me. Ahhh, peace and quiet.

Hope to see you again soon.

(c) Janni Styles



22 thoughts on “Bee Stings, Bullies and Where Blame Really Belongs

  1. thank you for a thoughtful and insightful offering. it helps to think of some people i’ve been dealing with as bees without boundaries.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    As long as we have a body and mind and are mired in duality, we must use our discrimination to protect our fragile relative selves…be sweetness and light when it is appropriate, and roar like a tiger when you are bullied or harassed – keeping quiet does not serve anyone, either the victim nor the abuser. Thanks, Janni!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. She is in a bad way psychologically and will not mend without help. However, that’s not your problem. Your problem is all the shit she’s dumping on you. I wish I could suggest a solution beyond a visit from ‘Me, ‘Arry, and The Boys’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So agree she is in a bad way psychologically. Feeling sorry for her is part of what kept me enmeshed in her dramatics for so long. Pity can lead the nose astray though lol. Why do those who most need help project their crap on others instead of seeing the human relationship wreckage behind them for what it is, always too busy pointing the finger at others. Escapism at it’s finest if you ask me. In this instance didn’t need your boys. Yet. Who knows what she might try next though, will bear you and your boys in mind, Marie. Though I did tell the landlord if she bothers me again I will call the police. We shall see.


  4. Hi, Janni. I popped over from Mira’s reblog. What a nightmare you endured with this woman! It sounds like she has borderline personality disorder, which, in my experience, is much more difficult to deal with than sociopathy, because a borderline person lacks self-understanding. I swear, I broke out in hives reading this. And I breathed a sigh of relief at the end. I’m glad you took the reins from her and hope you’re still enjoying peace and quiet ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks kindly for the read and your comment 😊 Mira is always so kind to me and I always learn a great deal from her. Take “the reins back” Is so apt. I believe she has multiple issues because the deviance of her two-faced manipulations is so blatant and indignant she can’t see or, rather, won’t see because that would mean having to change her ways. Whatever her issues are they won’t be mine any more. Holding fast to the reins.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoyed the read, Janni…. Here’s hoping…! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, here’s hoping! Day two of peace and so far so good. So thankful, too, she was taking a greater toll on me than I even knew. Glad you enjoyed the read, writing it all out helped me see it all more clearly, should have written it all out sooner 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hee hee. So interesting really. Fascinating in fact. But don’t beat yourself up re your first response. It is always our usual initial response to do what you did. I knew day one the old bat who moved in downstairs to us was gonna be trouble but the Mr said, this was just me. Boy was I right and the best thing was to tell her where to go one day, not very politely either and that is what everyone else round about has found ou, that the best thing is to tell her that. Count yourself lucky doll, you have one neighbour like this. I have two sep ones, one the old bat who appeared to think she owned our house and garden and two next door who is the never off the doorstep, always crying on my shoulder kind I have fortunately managed to get to arm’s length with. Folk aye??? xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh! I feel for you Shehanne! Not one but two, jeepers creepers. I prefer neighbours who just keep to themselves save for the occasional hello or brief exchange. I befriended one I met crying over the fence about a broken relationship. How long was it? Two months she said. When did he break up with you I asked? Ten years ago but it was very intense. Well I should have seen it coming but no, we stayed friends twenty years until I left my 32 year marriage due to his multiple addictions and she slithered in to bed him all while feigning friendship to me. She wound up physically assaulting me and she is RN with martial arts. The charges were dropped because he and she lied to police but I wrote the nursing college and she was suspended for six years. Long story short, I also met some wonderful neighbours who became dear friends for the past 40-50 years. It is the luck of the draw. We have to be so careful and discerning to keep the toxic ones at arms length. Glad to have my peace and privacy back from this one. Hugs to you dear Shehanne, hope you can keep those annoying neighbors at bay ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is indeed the luck of the draw dear. In many ways these neighbours are nothing. I wouldn’t know where to start. I mean routinely I would have folks asking me how I could and what was it like living next door to the folks we lived next door to for night on 30 years. There were routinely cues at their door of folks wanting to belt her in the gub, so I don’t think it’s me when it comes to neighbours. You may also know that when the police arrested the bloke round the corner for following her off the bus one day and propositioning her– a day that quit entertained us all if you had seen this woman–
        he admitted it straight off and said, plainly he needed help. But they did provide us with magnificent entertainment . We had what we called the ten greatest moments of Christine (her name) . Finally we did reach an understanding. But also there it was like living in a commune. People just could not leave you be. So really what I have now is a piece of cake. Sorry for all your trouble my darling . Very undeserved. x

        Liked by 1 person

      • So glad what you have now is easier to cope with. Always glad to read your stories. Entertaining though it now sounds I am sure it was trying at the time. There should be a book out there on proper neighbour ettiquette. Problem is those who most need it would never even read it lol.


  7. I’m so sorry you have had to deal with this. At least you recognize her for what she is and you can see through her manipulation. Eventually her bad behavior will catch up with her. Just continue to set limits and take care of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • For sure, Tricia, keeping the boundary firm. Even when I move again as I am trying to do one day, not in any hurry to say more than a passing hello to any neighbours lol. You are so right about taking good care of the self. I did not realize what a toll she was taking on me until it ended. Now I feel so free, free, free and it is only day two lol


  8. Yikes! I had an invasive neighbor once, but even she wasn’t that bad! (I did have to make sure I shut and locked the door if I had to use the wash room, as she would just come right in my house…grrrr.) Hope your problems with her are over!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that is terrible. Glad it is behind you. I don’t think mine will be such a problem anymore. My landlord is drawing up a formal complaint and has asked me to sign it, too. He says three warnings and she is out. No more of her shenanigans, they have had enough, too. He says your home should be safe and peaceful, your sanctuary but it doesn’t feel like it with her here. I agree. They allowed her to have her dog and she has taken to leaving the dog’s waste on their beautiful lawn. No respect for anyone or anything. Anyway, I think she better behave or she will be gone soon enough.


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