The evidence we submitted to the House of Commons Reality TV Inquiry has been published here:
Following on from our work on neighborhood relations we are happy to reproduce this story reported by the BBC today. It says that research into personality disorders tells us that as many as 1 in 20 people may have a personality disorder, gained as a result of family stress during pregnancy or in our early years.
We welcome the study, published in the British journal of psychiatry for the following reasons:
- Its supports our view that approaching neighbours with problems and issues is a risk to be avoided, because their response may be unpredictable.
- It is easy to assume that all neighbours have a desire to get on with each other. Some policies concerning neighbours, planning and policing for example make that assumption, and some warn against approaching neighbours.
- While there are many types of personality disorders, responsible for many types of common behaviour, some ( a “dark triad”) are characterised by dark personality traits.
- Blaming the victim when a toxic relationship materialises, “for not getting on with their neighbours” is common practice but simply not appropriate, and yet this attitude is prevalent among police officers and council workers, for example.
- Airing an issue, or indeed sharing information with a toxic neighbour can lead to crime, conflict and victimisation where support is minimal due to lack of understanding.
We asked one of our case studies (case study No 2) to comment on the BBC’s recent report about the Victims Commissioner, Baroness Newlove and her findings on Anti-Social Behaviour which we welcome today.
Case Study 2 said “As a victim of Low level Anti-Social behaviour I get completely what Baroness Newlove is saying in her report. When I found out just how difficult it was to get a response from public services I decided to test all of them and keep the correspondence as evidence. I also studied high profile cases such as that of the late Fiona Pilkington who spectacularly brought anti social behaviour to the attention of the world in 2007 by killing herself and her daughter out of desperation at their unmitigated treatment by yobs in the neighborhood.
While racking my brains how to get a nightmare neighbour off my back I had to really work hard to study how I had become a victim. I became an expert by experience, enduring over a hundred incidents where I concluded that I physically had to confront the perpetrator myself in order to get “the agencies” referred to in the baroness’ report to respond. The police wasted countless hours sending two person patrols to cover these incidents and each time explained there was nothing they could do. I reported diligently to the police the multiple instances of outrageous insulting behaviour by a deranged and sadistic neighbour who was responsible for turning my back yard into a battle ground, and our neighborhood into a place of fear for my family, and inciting others against us. I tried to engage the community safety unit at Gravesham Council – eventually attempting to invoke the community trigger without success. I bear mental scars from the torment of this nightmare neighbour and he cost me approximately £200K in lost opportunities and devalued my home. When he went to court for assault he received a conditional discharge, but it was clear to me he had been stalking and harassing me for over twenty five years. No matter how I put this to the police they were incapable of taking it in. The CPS refused to acknowledge this and left me to complain to the police. Guess what? the Police investigating were the same police who I was complaining about”.
Here at Toxic Lives we agree, Britain is a lawless state which has de-skilled its public services. These now operate behind a rosy fascade of loveliness, gripped in a culture of denial – supported by the BBC and Press. (The BBC Reports today that the Local Government Association said its members do their best). We found that the Ombudsman is part of a complaint system which repeatedly states its case by shrugging its shoulders on behalf of the “services” instead of turning genuine complaints into service improvements.
None of this is acceptable of course, and for the Police Sergeant and Inspector who told Case Study No 2 that it wasn’t in the public interest to prosecute his nightmare neighbour the first time he was assaulted – but they work diligently to support people as a result of Fiona Pilkington – shame on you.
The police and their political masters need to get real. Our police and council workers need support and independent monitoring to do their job so they can stop all levels of crime.
We look to the police and not private agencies to achieve this, but of course you can now buy the type of support needed to beat this – if you have the money. Lets hope the commissioner is given the teeth to make some really biting social change for ordinary people who are being killed by sadistic, psychopathic, criminal neighbours while being ignored by community safety teams.
Stuart Dixon FRSA
A golden moment in the life of the toxic mind is scoring a hit. Bearing in mind toxic people are out to poison their victim I have called this short article Novichock in the name of the persistent nerve agent used in Salisbury in 2018 which after it crippled its intended victim, went on to kill and seriously injure more people.
The same can be said about toxic behaviour. One of the better known and easier hidden characteristics of the toxic mind is the ability to network and engage others in meeting their aims. This enables tyranny – ruling by fear, by victimising people who stand up for themselves.
Should the victim become a complainer for example, or challenge the “rules” he or she could easily find him or herself in more difficulty having been framed, judged and sentenced without ever knowing what is going on.
Once word gets around that a “misdemeanor” has been committed, no matter how true or false, victims will find themselves unable to work with colleagues who shun them, no longer colaborate and\or actively block their goals. They will find themselves bearing the guilt and shame, and in the community excluded from social situations.
Abuse of Power
Given that toxic people have this characteristic and when they also have power, its safe to say the victim will be treated differently to others, once he or she raises a voice in defence of a friend or colleague or makes a complaint about his or her own treatment.
The toxic mind may be the controller of services and responsible for invoking penalties for example. Once word gets round, no matter how guilty the victim is or what the truth of the matter is, the services become difficult to access and the penalties come harder. They can apply to the victim, where others are allowed leeway.
The Golden Moment
That golden moment mentioned at the start of the article is the pleasure of being able to damage the victim and brag about it afterwards.
The fear this brings to people is difficult to ignore as the damage is emotional, and the injury hidden.
Secret Council Black Lists A report from the Daily Mail.
Council Services under Pressure In this situation council workers are deciding which services to deliver and to whom.
This week I feel for one of our elderly case studies who has an open complaint about the way he has been treated by workers at Canterbury City Council. Within a minute of coming to the attention of a council worker for unloading his disabled wife’s scooter in a no loading zone, he was handed a ticket. When he challenged the ticket, by explaining the circumstances the official he was talking to said “I could do something, but you’re the guy thats taking the council to court”.
This also makes me think there isn’t an ounce of kindness in the way he has been treated. Something government are well aware of.
Predicting Human Performance
Driving a workforce against performance targets can be a risky but rewarding affair but how can we gauge success with reasonable confidence, and equip people to succeed?
According to one model attributed to H. Sanford known as the challenge and support model, the factors that determine human performance over time are the scale of the challenge, and the amount (and type) of support available to achieve the task.
Performance outcomes are predictable. Of the four likely outcomes to any task predicted by the challenge support model, only one scenario leads to complete success and truly great performance. This is called Growth.
Another scenario, euphemistically called Death, predicts breakdown and failure. Death is the consequence of too much challenge coupled with too little support. In the workplace, death is literally the end of the line for individual workers and can lead to poor health for many others.
In Death, stress, and burnout have regularly exceeded tolerable levels and have impacted on the person or persons assigned the task with predictable outcomes such as a high staff turnover, the potential actual death of a worker, and subsequent losses for the employer.
According to Belbin, good management practice is to support people by building well developed teams. A well developed team comprises people with various personality traits in enough abundance to sustain the activity and provide support for individual workers.
Positive Team Skills
Belbin names the six positive characteristics of team workers. Both the challenge and support model and Belbin’s approach have developed into defacto standards in leadership and management and in combination they form the mainstay of modern leadership training.
Any workforce or team usually has an appointed manager, in a hierarchy of managers, He or she is someone who not only drives the task but who’s role it is to maintain a productivity and performance.
Truly great managers learn to build teams and balance the level of challenge and support in such a way as to sustain a steady rise in growth. Happiness and pride in the product provide a degree of satisfaction.
Work (used to be) incentivised in order to recruit and retain skills, From the workforce, managers were selected and trained to understand not only their job, but the additional skill and workplace psychology needed to manage people. The entire workforce benefited in the long term by development opportunities which included training, promotions and social improvement which secured the future of families.
Truly great management is a mindset. It should be a satisfying experience for managers and workers alike.
It takes qualities such as empathy to bond people into teams, and to a job, and loyalty to retain them. Management is about supporting people and therefore depends on a particular mindset which in turn comes out in the selection process.
Alternative Management Styles
Managers nurtured in structured management systems, as described above, and people who come to work expecting to be treated fairly and have satisfying and rewarding jobs will struggle mentally in alternative management systems because of their different characteristics. Briefly one such alternative paradigm sustains growth by replacing burnt out workers from a steady supply of fresh, cheap labour who are disposable. In this unacceptable approach, the mindset required to manage people will disregard the human factors evidenced by the Challenge \ support model and Belbin Team skills and is more likely to mis-use them to get what they want. For the toxic mindset, satisfaction is something they crave – for themselves. This mindset brings different team skills into play.
Toxic management is the result of employing and idolising people who’s character traits align with the dark triad of behaviours and who don’t care for people – just results.
In the resulting tyranny, according to the late Dr Tim Field, anything goes as long as management gets what it wants. For example when a toxic boss doesn’t get what he or she wants – he or she will circumvent any agreed management process or contract and exploit fear backed up by increasing the level of challenge and removing support. According to Field, alternative management styles have a number of repeatable and highly offensive processes aimed at getting what the toxic boss wants.
This alternative management practice is prevalent, both in the workforce and the community.
What Works Wellbeing says its goal is to improve, and save, lives through better policy and practice for wellbeing.
A good starting point would be the policy that allows alternative management approaches to flourish. What currently prevents wellbeing from being realised is that power, in the form of budget and control is often in the hands of toxic managers and the results are hidden. No problem for a toxic mindset.
In the next article we will be outlining the criteria for fair management policy that supports wellbeing at work.
Attitude toward minorities by public servants.
While I was challenging the attitude of a planning authority toward a man struggling against malicious neighbours backed by overwhelming bureaucracy I came across a senior civil servant in power who sat on his hands when I appealed to him for help. We were talking about rigidly sticking to rules that were clearly disadvantaging my friend and how to change that in the UK planning System when he simply invalidated my friends rights because he is in a minority – “planning won’t change just for you – you’re in a minority.” I realise now why I felt so uneasy about this. Our rights were being trampled over as a justification for doing nothing to help. I persevered and later joined in with a public consultation on the topic which was more fruitful. See this link for a definition of what a Tyranny of the Majority is. I see this reflected in every day life; “There are only 55000 of us, we will never get a petition through parliament (which needs 100,000 signatures) etc”. A further concern I have is that my friend had his planning application refused by this local planning authority on the grounds that one neighbour might object to his proposal despite no objection. I conclude my friend is being punished by a tyrannical organisation who will go to any length to smite him without a fair trial on the say so of a bogus complainer.
I spoke to several of you today and wanted you to have a complete view of why I said what I said.
Firstly I don’t ask for much – as a 65 Year old veteran of more than one nasty little armed conflict, I certainly don’t want to go into conflict with you, when I turn up to dispose of my rubbish.
As a responsible citizen with more rubbish than I could handle; (five heavy waterlogged ex-comfy chairs, a waterlogged and filthy mattress and divan base, and a door,) I reviewed the safest and most economical way to dispose of them and hired a trailer large enough to do the job in the smallest number of trips. Keeping my carbon footprint down (A point in my favour yes?) as well as making it easy for myself after the physical wear and tear of military service.
When I loaded the trailer I was pleased. My own trailer was much smaller and using it would been much more difficult. Two days instead of half a day.
To get to the rear of my house and pick up, I had to negotiate an alleyway. The photo’s below show a couple of skip loads of mixed and bulky household waste which had been fly tipped on what is council property. This has been spoiling our community for several years. I first complained in 2016. See here.
Some of this is newly dumped and some has been there for years.
Some people who lived here before us tell me you (the council) regularly cleaned this area until a few years ago.
From our point of view, the right place for rubbish is in the recycling system. As you can see it doesn’t get there by itself and if you (the council) don’t move it, who will? Which is why I think the following is not acceptable.
It was colleague A who said “you can’t bring that in here – your trailers too large”. Beg pardon? I sized it deliberately from available resources. 8′ Long, 4′ wide and 4’6″‘ High. This allowed me to make two runs, One more than I would have liked (the latter with only an armchair and a door.)
When colleague B came over to reinforce this message, I didn’t take kindly to also being told to remove the trailer off the site and load the mattress into my car and bring it back. Couldn’t see the point of that.
Thanks for the advice but I hired the trailer to keep my vehicle clean. I was naturally disappointed to learn that the trailer was too big (IMHO it wasn’t big enough, but it was easily handled by one person.) That didn’t make sense. I didn’t see any notices about trailer sizes on the perimeter fence or gate. I was really disappointed when colleague A said I couldn’t come back in with the second load.
Does Size Really Matter?
Thankfully colleague C was a bit more helpful. In the spirit of Christmas he “allowed” me to unload and make the second trip.
What I didn’t say was this: When our back streets and estates are covered in rubbish do you honestly think it’s appropriate to give people grief for bringing stuff in, in a marginally over-sized trailer? We really need to be setting an example and getting waste into the recycling system efficiently and effectively.
Notes for Gravesham BC and Kent CC
Your re-cycling policy is failing. People are living in among other peoples rubbish. Your staff need to be able recognise and encourage responsible and ethical waste re-cycling. Its that or the street or countryside. Not acceptable.
About the Article
This short article is written by the campaign manager of the Armando Martins Campaign. During the campaign the author had to come from a position of little or no knowledge, to one of being able to challenge policies that were affecting Martins – and closing him down. Its not just him. Some of the things found to be affecting Martins actually affect all radio amateurs and citizens of the UK.
Because each of the organisations Radio Amateurs have to deal with, has its own views about what Amateur Radio is, this isn’t just a local issue.
Planning in UK drives the performance of amateur radio equipment for example, but planning law is vague.
How do licensed radio amateurs expect planning officers or council workers ever to understand that properly constructed antennas have no harmful effect whatsoever and compared to mobile phone masts their footprint is quite small – made for the back garden? Or also, that they actually support a healthy lifestyle, which is an aim both of planning policy and the NHS? Fortunately most neighbours get the point – but some don’t.
Fairness in Planning
Planners have views, council officials have views, industry has views, neighbours have views. National society’s have views. If all of these views were aligned with those of the end user and the organisation’s supporting them them the whole thing would be a lot less Fuzzy. That’s why we are calling for Fairness in Planning.
To aid this understanding we initially wrote a list of Frequently Asked Questions. See here.
The point is, planners talk about heritage but have no idea that Amateur Radio is actually a part of that heritage. This is a risk, because right now, were the telecommunications and lighting industry to realise they were trashing an international and national heritage, it might be a whole lot easier to tackle the issues arising, such as that of Noise Pollution on Medium wave and HF Radio. Nobody seems to see this for the threat it is to our heritage. This is a more of a risk to this heritage than people know because of the potential loss of our use of the ionosphere to human audio traffic and being forced into machine modes. To protect this needs simple communications between all parties. Adopting the same view would be simpler in theory to get simple answers to questions like “Why does my £1300 transceiver perform so badly?” Or what’s that buzzing noise drowning out Capital Gold on 1548AM?” these are global questions which require global action to abate. Individuals raising complaints often are fobbed off or face massive bureaucracy, ending up losing locally the facility pioneered by our ancestors which is why an organised approach is so important. (“Amateur radio? its not all its cracked up to be”.)
As Licensed Radio Amateurs who believe in the traditions of self training and supporting learning, the board of the Armando Martins Campaign has seen too many people put off amateur radio and hiding their activities from destructive people and people who frankly should know better. This is a waste of everyone’s time: The City Fathers, the RSGB instructors and those amateurs who encourage people into the hobby and work to retain them.
The article that follows is therefore aimed to align thinking while opening up a support group for people whose hobby may become blighted as a result of rumours, myths and misinformation circulating among neighbours and public servants.
In International Amateur Radio there is a legacy, which has grown from over a hundred years of developing radio communications between global communities.
The hobby is practised by a worldwide community of makers, scientists and technicians which began to develop in the late 19th century.
Through two world wars, and lots of small wars in between, the worldwide community has developed a self-training ethos which has sustained and developed communications on the battlefield.
It continues to support people in emergencies.
It brings trainees into industry via a well-developed training medium.
It brings the Space Programme into classrooms, and has been at the forefront of the satellite industry since its conception.
In the tradition of its community, today, Licensed Radio Amateurs continue to contribute to the development of Wireless Communications as they have done in many ways which include the development of a 21st Century training syllabus, the development of new modes of communication and digital hardware and software.
As a hobby it contributes to health and well being by providing stimulation for youth and elderly people, bringing communities and like-minded people together through activities. This is a legacy worth preserving, only one of many communities that open to us, and something to be proud of and celebrate.
As the world changes, Amateur Radio changes. What’s trending in the world affects it, both in positive and negative ways, these present both opportunities and threats. Trends like social media, the internet, industrial pollution of the radio spectrum by eager but careless telecommunications operators and the industrial use of technology such as solar energy and lighting products. It is affected both by austerity and prosperity but it isn’t just for rich people. Its part of our personal development – a way of lifting people out of low skilled jobs by self training.
The impact of change and how it is managed
Some countries have robust policy within their national society that enable them to counter the negative impact of change before they cause real issues (or harm) for people. As more information becomes available, it becomes easier to change long term problems. The most worrying trends are the deafening noise pollution smothering the communications medium and drowning out signals on the HF bands. Lack of visible activity on the amateur radio frequencies. Commercial gazumping of frequencies, Licensed radio amateurs being closed down or driven underground by anti-social behaviour, nightmare neighbours and flawed planning policy. As trends emerge there are gaps in the support available.
Filling the Gap in Support
Recently the Armando Martins Campaign sprang up raising 43000 signatures to deal with the impact of anti-social behaviour. The House of Commons Petition to Exempt Amateur Radio Aerials from Planning Permission wants to see the whole planning issue simplified. Both noted that UK planning authorities et al, can completely fail radio amateurs. Now a combined approach is being taken.
The RSGB provides services for its members, sadly it has not yet provided any for those hit by anti-social behaviour and/or who can’t get permission to erect an antenna because of it. RSGB services are good, but they stick to what they know best.
To fill the gap a new service is therefore being developed independently, as any support group would for people affected by what is essentially anti-social behaviour – a criminal issue. Initially the group will be known as the Planning Policy and Neighbour Relations Support Group (Amateur Radio UK) and will work alongside existing services to tackle cases where misuse and abuse are at issue.
It will also help people whose lives are blighted by similar issues outside of amateur radio as we see a common problem affecting almost anyone who owns or rents a home and just wants to get on with their lives. The service is currently providing support for four cases where Amateur Radio is being driven underground by the attitude of nightmare neighbours and council workers. It has a live Facebook page for the purpose of communications.
The 2018 annual report for the Armando Martins Campaign touched on the likelihood of neighbours going on the attack by describing the factors involved. Although it focused on a narrow part of the community, at large the report found the likelihood of a neighbour or work colleague singling a person for special treatment is high enough to cause concern. There are implications for the health and welfare of whole communities. How authorities respond to this behaviour is another concern. Victims are treated like dreamers. The amount of money at stake for both the victims and the authorities, were they to deal with nightmare neighbours properly, is high enough to have an impact on what the public (and mental health) services can deliver.
The problems nightmare neighbours cause is largely due to toxic minded people and these can be found anywhere, in schools, the neighbourhood or in a workplace mingling with ordinary citizens. The understanding of toxic minds is not developed sufficiently enough for people in positions of responsibility to understand and act upon appropriately.
For the purpose of this article therefore, bullying and intimidation is viewed as a process and focus is given to the points in the process where the victim has opportunities to take proportional countermeasures. These are summarised toward the end of the article. The main aim is to discuss the impact on the victim and the role of the perpetrator in conflict situations for the purpose of enabling the victim to decide what can help them.
WARNING: This article describes actions taken by victims of bullying when the police or authorities didn’t react. As far as the author knows he was right in taking those actions and they were proportional and appropriate. They were consistent with public safety training he received while in the NHS. See also here for an article on the topic of what to do in the event of an attack. You should always report crime to the police. Just because your local community safety unit don’t respond, bullying is nonetheless a crime and never acceptable.
The rules of Occasional Conflict
The occasional conflict between an individual human being and an acquaintance, neighbour or work colleague can be expected. It’s a normal part of daily life. Normally any bad feelings generated are easy to disperse by an apology, a favour, a few drinks, and/or a hand shake. Recovery is quite easy to achieve this way and these are the only countermeasures needed in normal situations. The normal rules of society are that regardless of any action by the victim that may have sparked a situation, to continue it, with another wrong, won’t make it right. People make mistakes or act criminally and the fair way to deal with them is for them to face a fair trial, own up, pay up and apologise. The right to a fair trial is enshrined in the human rights act.
Abnormally, if both parties don’t recover, something might be blocking that and it could turn into a continuing and persistent conflict. Often passed off as normal behaviour – various types of conflict exist. These are often explained away as spats, grudges or vendetta. In all of these, one of the parties will go on to become victimised or punished, usually outside the rule of law, by the assailant(s). Assailants have various motives and techniques for achieving their ultimate aim – to score a hit for their own pleasure by harming the victim. Usually they disguise this as normal behaviour.
In the worst case scenario in any type of conflict, depending on the mindset of the perpetrator, the victim can face the ultimate price – death. Kenneth Noye famously killed his victim,
Stephen Cameron, in a road rage incident (technically a spat). This happened near Swanley in Kent in 1996 while Noye was out on licence from prison.
Not all Injuries are Visible
Many people become victims of the extreme, abnormal and inappropriate behaviour of their assailants. Not all injuries are visible. For example Stalking, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP), is one form of extreme behaviour that a victim may encounter. They say that stalking can be triggered by the perception of the perpetrator, that the victim has somehow treated them badly or unfairly.
In stalking, therefore the assailant is responding by disrupting the victims life, coercing them with unwanted behaviour that the victim(s) will struggle to cope with. According to the RCP between 20% and 40% of victims experience symptoms of mental disorder as a result of being stalked.
How do you Respond to that?
According to one victim of bullying, this manifest in prolonged internal mental conflict about the situation that developed between him and a neighbour and how to deal with it.
Such a mental state is a very useful tool in the hands of a bullying manager or work colleague. Once the victim begins to suffer, sooner or later, depending on his or her own characteristics, he or she will eventually become unfit for work. This is due partly because of sleeplessness and partly because of mental exhaustion. Such is the level of harm caused by this trauma, it is likely to lead to a mental breakdown and for some victims, suicide.
Recovery is a specialist job and scarce health resources mean that the victim can be easily made unfit for work and without support from colleagues. At work, when their performance dips they become vulnerable targets for unlawful dismissal (which occurs despite the best occupational health and anti bullying policy.) Returning to work if the situation has not been dealt with, would simply put the victim back in harms way. Even if the conflict is manifest in the community, the victim is at risk from poor work performance.
Deliberately Engineered Toxic Situations
All of the above become useful weapons to a toxic mindset and they will very quickly take advantage of any mistake or action by the victim that can be used to deliberately engineer a toxic situation. This will provide the assailant with what they want from it – gratification.
Who is in the driving seat?
The characteristics of toxic mindsets are discussed elsewhere but if your occasional conflict at work or at home has developed into a continuing conflict with unwanted behaviour, then it is not the victim, but the colleague or neighbour turned assailant or perpetrator who is driving it.
The following plan was used successfully to counter a sadistic neighbour who perpetrated over sixty attacking incidents in 25 years against one of his neighbours:
- Realise somebody is driving the situation. One victim describes the relief of finding this out, assisted by the counselling of the late Dr Tim Field, as something of an epiphany. Firstly the knowledge that he was being bullied and what that was, was Something he could use to control the mental conflict which was preventing him from performing at work or at home. (Bullying isn’t a dream like some people would have you think.) Armed with this he set in his mind a simple mantra to deal with what bullies refer to as “overthinking it”. To block some thoughts he would simply use his internal voice to say “It’s not me”. He then focused on developing countermeasures aimed to stop the assailant(s) from engineering incidents, or if he could he would disrupt them. This victim said that his assailants found it difficult to recruit somebody into his post. A technique common in the NHS to deal with trumped up work performance issues. The victim is demoted by a back door process of appointing someone to take his job. It was difficult to recruit because the victim had met each of the candidates before their job interview.
- Counter Denial, Keeping Records and Writing Reports. The victims natural response to bullying is denial (part of the continuous mental conflict) once the victim has established what is behind his treatment it should become routine to log any incidents. No encounter between the victim and assailant should be “shrugged off”.
- Realise its YOUR perception of events that matters. Do not let the authorities “shrug things off”. If you are the victim, its your perception of incidents that matters.
- Make Time to Deal with it. Dealing with toxic people can be a daunting prospect in complex situations like the workplace. Effectively an assailant will triple your mental workload and divert energy from your lifestyle and job. Focus on the problem by devoting time to it. What happens at work, deal with at work. One victim excluded himself from other activities or gave them “back burner” status until after the bullying had been resolved. This episode earned him a lot of respect in the hierarchy for the way it was dealt with. While he “wasn’t performing as a manager”, he was letting the CEO know how he and colleagues were treated at work and how to improve that by developing anti bullying policy. Eventually in another job, this meant giving up his job, which had become unsustainable. Each situation is different.
- Create a fallback. The ultimate aim of an assailant is to hit you where it hurts. If he or she can get you into the mental state described above it will have the desired effect – an impact on your ability to work. Everyone who works should ask themselves if they are out of work, how will they survive? Make sure you aren’t the vulnerable person they think you are or want you to be. Not everyone can do this but everyone should. Putting aside a few months wages as a reserve will give you a choice.
- Take back control. Take control of any incidents. This can be achieved by noting when and and how they occur and the content. This will help in predicting where future incidents will occur.
- Get on with your life and live it the way YOU want to. Controlling mindsets will aim to limit the victims lifestyle. Sadists get pleasure from forcing people to obey their rules. By doing things that the victim is perfectly entitled to it and not complying with twisted demands, it will expose the mindset of the perpetrator and deny the controlling assailant his or her pleasure. It will also make them more determined and in turn they will increase the number of incidents, creating more opportunities for them to give away vital clues to the behaviour.
- Know the mindset you are dealing with. Take care to listen to what is being said by the assailant and study his mindset. Check against reality what he is saying to the victim and the authorities.
- Be alert. Hyper-vigilance is an illness which leads the victim to be alert to sights and sounds associated with attacks. While an illness, this can be very useful. One victim said he got a valuable warning that an incident would be occurring from sounds he heard in previous incidents just before an attack. While these sounds raised his levels of fear, they also enabled him to be ready to gather evidence and briefly prepare for the inevitable.
- Establish True Intent and Motive. Listening and recording what is being said by an assailant during any engagement helps to establish the assailants true intent. If you cant record it, make notes. Sort the lies and half lies from the truth and test them against reality.
- Expose the assailants lies and deception. A common tactic of bullies is to fool the authorities into believing they are the victim. See DARVO here. One victim said that observing the authorities reaction to his version of events and then hearing what the assailant had told the same people about it raised his suspicion enough to research DARVO and eliminate it from the process.
Keep in touch with your GP about your illness. He or she has access to medicines that help with symptoms of reactive depression and PTSD and the GP can give you time off work to take you out of the situation – if that’s where it is. In the workplace, use the Access to Medical Records act to tell your GP to deny your assailant information about your illness. The last thing any victim will need is an assailant that knows how effective his actions against the victim are. He (or she) will be judging their success by it. Unfortunately corporate occupational health departments have a habit of sharing your health information with workplace assailant’s.
Depending on their own mindset, the initial response of victims when they realise they aren’t in a friendly relationship can be an unpleasant Adrenalin rush or shock. This is caused by the fight or flight response being triggered. Varying symptoms of post traumatic stress will occur from that point on depending on the victims mindset. For the victim this is unpleasant but for the perpetrator it brings a moment of pleasure and satisfaction.
If you find yourself in persistent conflict and becoming traumatised, the best advice ever is to walk away early on in the process. If you have just moved into a neighbourhood, this will not be what you want to hear. Almost certainly if you have bought the property, its price will drop as you will have to declare neighbourhood disputes and problems when selling. All this is good for the assailant of course as he or she can weaponise it and use it to blackmail the victim.
While putting distance between you and the nightmare might seem to be a good idea, and will prevent abusers from getting at you, in the background there will always be a link from one place to the next. This can come in the form of references, or between neighbours, some of whom would go to the extreme of influencing your life and attempt to achieve that through destroying your reputation with stigmata that follow you to wherever you are.
Of all the countermeasures we have come across I have left the best until the last. Winning is highly recommended. A win, will prove the victims case and exonerate him or her. The bullying stops and whatever form it takes you get your self esteem back.
The right place for resolving disputes is through the courts, however, like the police their knowledge of the subject is limited and easily corrupted by money and power, gossip and lies. The type of “justice” bullies rely on in the community by spreading lies and rumours about people is never acceptable.
The victim in case three is an elderly man whose next door neighbour accused him thirty years ago, of interfering with her TV set. Relationships have never been good since this was resolved. He is well known in the community for his hobby, being a licensed radio amateur. His profile is quite high in the neighbourhood due to his garden antenna system. He gets on well with his other neighbours – most of whom support him.
Recently he has been the recipient of several types of unwanted behaviour as follows:
Type 1. False accusations of licence breaches delivered via secretive symbolic messages left on the doorstep of his home by an anonymous caller. The symbol used is that used by CB radio operators to accuse each other of causing problems by “improper” use of his radio, breaking the terms of his licence.
Editors Note: In common with other cases being compiled in support of Armando Martins, this feature implies the perpetrator has a need to torment the victim. It implies he is being observed breaking rules and the potential to involve the authorities. It is a veiled threat therefore. The same symbol has appeared several times in the last few years.
Type 2. More recently he received a malicious call about his hobby purporting to come from the authorities and telling him he would be in breach of the rules of his licence, if he didn’t act. This caused the victim to respond.
These incidents he thinks are pranks, however the frequency and numbers of incidents are building up and this is upsetting for him and his wife. Someone is “getting off” on causing them anxiety.
Type 3. The neighbour next door’s demeanour has never been good, but recently she has made a number of caustic remarks about him and his hobby containing threats to disrupt him by reporting him to the council. This attempt at coercive control was delivered over a number of incidents, one of which included complaints to his wife shouted through a communal wall, and accompanied by banging on the wall. This occurred while she was indoors enjoying TV and he was enjoying a session of radio operating in the shed.
When they eventually spoke, there was an allegation of TV Interference and the neighbour adopted a more threatening stance.
Despite his offers to resolve the situation, which mean accessing the neighbours TV to test it, she refuses and continues to threaten him saying she will have it stopped by the council. The victim takes the correct action and obtains a leaflet from the BBC and gives it to the neighbour. The neighbour insists she will do it her way.
NB. It is the BBC who have the technical resources to locate and prevent the interference. The council don’t have any (but do have enforcement officers).
She isn’t interested – she wants to invoke sanctions that close him down.
Anxiety levels are raised. Her attitude and demeanour imply if the victim doesn’t comply with her rules, he will face the “bureaucrats” at the council or some other judgement. As of today the victim awaits a call from the council and is in fear that they will act on her complaint rather than leave it to the proper authority. (A few weeks later there is a distinctly toxic atmosphere). While the victim said that he wasn’t losing any sleep it was clear now that he sees this as a threat to his livelihood. In his mind he is continually questioning the situation – racking his brains, looking for reasons why he is under attack, what the next steps may be and how to deal with it – fearing the worst.
In January 2019 the victim received a visit at night from two officers from Kent Police asking what was going on with his neighbour and for him to comment on her mental state. The purpose of the visit was vague although the victim links this with previous threats and false accusations.
NB. The behaviour of this neighbour bears a strong resemblance to that shown in Nightmare Neighbours Next Door Series 5 Episode 8. This has been screened multiple times on multiple channels of Freeview TV – ed.