Neighbor Issues - Need Ideas! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 08-19-2012, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just a few days ago someone moved into the rental house in our neighborhood.  We share a backyard fence.  There is at least one person living in the home, a man who clearly has some type of mental disability.  For 3 days now we have heard him in his backyard or inside the home with his door/windows open.  He goes through these noisy sessions frequently throughout the day.  They go one for about an hour and every few minutes he makes some loud noise.  The sound varies from a loud growl, grunt, cry out or guteral (sp?) laugh.  At first I thought someone was being tortured but yesterday I saw him in his backyard doing some tae-bo looking moves as he was making the noises.  Since it is summer we have our windows open so we can hear when he makes noises whether he in or out of his home.  It is starting to grate on me.  I think it is especially hard because sometimes it sounds like he is in pain.  My kids have been a little creeped out and I've explained that he has something different with his brain that gives him a need to make those noises.  

 

I am a stay-at-home mama and we homeschool so our home is where we are a lot of the time.  We have a backyard that we love to spend a lot of time in, gardening and playing.  I know when winter comes we probably won't hear him as much with our windows closed and less time in the backyard, but it is hard to imagine that this is the reality. 

 

I feel a lot of compassion for him as I think he deserves to live in a comfortable home with access to outside, as opposed to a nursing home.  At the same time I think we deserve to spend time in our backyard without constant noises.  

 

I am curious if anyone else has experienced a neighbor like this?  Did you find anything that helps? 


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#2 of 11 Old 08-19-2012, 08:41 PM
 
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"I feel a lot of compassion for him as I think he deserves to live in a comfortable home with access to outside, as opposed to a nursing home.  At the same time I think we deserve to spend time in our backyard without constant noises. "

 

My first reaction is shock that you would say this.  And I'm not sure you do get time in your backyard, outside, without constant noises.  You don't want loud obstrusive noise waking you up at 3 in the morning but that's not what's happening.  

 

It sounds like you're scared of him and are reatreating into entitlement instead of treating him like a person.  An equal person.  Just b/c something makes you uncomfortable doesn't mean it's someone elses fault.  

 

Have you gone over and introduced yourself to the new neighbor?  Maybe that's not something you would do anyway, but it looks like you're going to have to do something to at least lower the mystery factor and help you guys feel more confidant.  

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#3 of 11 Old 08-20-2012, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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faithstuff, thank you for responding.  I know sometimes it is hard to convey feelings, intentions, etc. thoroughly through posting on a forum, but I am trying my best. 

 

I am not sure exactly what you mean by "retreating into entitlement."  I do think of our new neighbor as an equal person which is why I stated that he deserves (has every right, however you want to phrase it) to a regular home (as opposed to a nursing home) if that's what he prefers.  I know many times people with his type of issues are put by their families into some sort of institution without much access to privacy, freedom of food choices, outside access, etc.  I don't think that is their first choice, but often they can't voice their choice or their families aren't able or willing to provide them with the special care they may need at their home. 

 

I understand what you are saying about constant noises.  Yes, prior to our neighbor moving in there were other noises in our backyard.  I didn't mean that it was completely silent...the sounds of birds, squirrels, someone mowing their lawn for an hour, 15 minutes hearing someone with their weedwacker, fire engine driving by once a week, neighbor dog barking for a minute or so, my kids playing.  Noises come and go but I haven't experienced a noise that has been so constant.  If a neighbor dog was barking constantly for an hour, five times per day that would also be hard to take.  If fire engines were driving by every few minutes all day with their sirens on that would be hard to live with.  I think I am a reasonable person who can tolerate/accept/expect the usual noises of daily life going on around me.  I haven't experienced these type of sounds on such a frequent basis...when it sounds like he is in pain that is hard to hear.  I want to be very clear about what I mean.  It is not hard for me to hear because I am annoyed...it is hard to hear because it hurts my heart.  The sound of someone in pain is uncomfortable for me to hear.  I think many people would feel this way.

 

These sounds are a new experience for me and I suppose they will become more normal as time goes on.  I haven't yet introduced myself to our new neighbor as they moved in just a few days ago.  Since we share a backyard his home is on a different street, not right next door.  We do know many of the neighbors on our street and we knew the person who previously lived in his home.      


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#4 of 11 Old 08-20-2012, 02:33 PM
 
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I honestly wouldn't make an issue out of it. It doesn't seem like that big a deal, from what you've stated. If it bothers you that much, shut your windows. He's a person...not a dog barking. Do your kids scream or yell or talk loudly/happily when they're playing outside? Mine sure do, I hope people in my neighborhood aren't upset by it either. 


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#5 of 11 Old 08-21-2012, 10:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sleepypeanutsmom View Post


  I do think of our new neighbor as an equal person which is why I stated that he deserves (has every right, however you want to phrase it) to a regular home (as opposed to a nursing home) if that's what he prefers.  I know many times people with his type of issues are put by their families into some sort of institution without much access to privacy, freedom of food choices, outside access, etc. 

 

What does this mean?  Do you know for a fact what his issues are?  Maybe he just likes to do things differently than you.  People of all sorts live on this planet and it's somewhat rude for you to tell your children things that may not be true about him.

 

I think it may take some time to adjust to having your new neighbor.  Go along with life as you normally do because he totally has a right to make noise while exercising, just as your children are perfectly all right to scream and laugh while chasing each other in games.  After a while you won't notice so much.  If it does turn out that he has "issues" then it's a great opportunity to teach your children compassion and tolerance for other people.


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#6 of 11 Old 08-21-2012, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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andisunshine,

You are right, I do not know for a fact exactly what his issues are.  I just know what I have heard and just that I have never had a neighbor who made these types of noises.  My intention is not to be rude in trying to explain to my children why he is making these types of noises.  But when they were standing in front of me asking why I did the best I could to answer them.  Of course I do not know exactly why he is making these types of noises, but I was doing the BEST I COULD to explain to my children in the moment.  We are all just doing the best we can given the information we have.  My intention is not to be rude or unkind.

 

You are right, I guess I just have to learn to live with these sounds. 


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#7 of 11 Old 08-21-2012, 11:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sleepypeanutsmom View Post

andisunshine,

You are right, I do not know for a fact exactly what his issues are.  I just know what I have heard and just that I have never had a neighbor who made these types of noises.  My intention is not to be rude in trying to explain to my children why he is making these types of noises.  But when they were standing in front of me asking why I did the best I could to answer them.  Of course I do not know exactly why he is making these types of noises, but I was doing the BEST I COULD to explain to my children in the moment.  We are all just doing the best we can given the information we have. 

I think "Because he is exercising" would probably work as an explanation.

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#8 of 11 Old 08-22-2012, 08:37 AM
 
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Maybe it would help to separate the actual sound from the interpretation ("like he is being tortured", "like someone in pain"). I personally can't stand kids screaming in play, On a visceral level, it makes me stressed. But I had to put up with it to allow my kids to have friends over. It took a conscious effort to redefine that sound as fun, happy kids. It might help if you separate your emotional response - remind yourself this is his expression of joy and life. Just hearing it from that perspective my help.
 


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#9 of 11 Old 08-22-2012, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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mamarhu,

 

I really like your idea and I appreciate you sharing your experience of a sound that bothers you.  I was starting to feel alone by being bothered by a sound.  I do need to find some way to reframe my interpretation of the sounds I am hearing.  I will try your idea as I go about my day today and remind myself that this is "his expression of joy and life". 

 

I feel heard.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.      


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#10 of 11 Old 08-26-2012, 05:02 PM
 
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Hi :) I rent and I move every year, so I've had a lot of weeeiiirrd neighbors in my time. This sounds disruptive but not dangerous so that's a huge plus, trust me.

 

I'm from Georgia so I take a southern tact. Imo, the best thing for you to do is go over to his house with a plate of cookies or a pound cake and introduce yourself. Tell him you've noticed it looks like he's into martial arts or something and ask him about it. Be positive in your conversation. Let him know that you think exercising is great, but could he please do so with his back windows shut? Even if he has mental issues, if he's in a house on his own he is probably able to remember your request and comply. If he's rude about it you could try explaining that the sounds startle your kids. If he's still rude, just find out who the landlord is (check public records) and call him up to politely request that windows be shut during exercise times. If he's nice about it but forgets to shut the windows after a few days, go back with another plate of treats and make your polite request again.

 

He's probably totally unaware that he's bothering anyone. Think sweet and make him feel like you are just the nicest neighbor lady and he's really helping you out by shutting his back windows. If he does it, go back with more food and thank him profusely. Ta daa! :)

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#11 of 11 Old 08-27-2012, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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aurora_skys~

Thank you for your reply.  Yes, I don't feel like he's dangerous or anything, just loud in a startling way.  I agree...a little Southern tact could help...cookies and pound cake never hurt a situation.  I will give this a try.  :) 
 


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