Help! My neighbour is a bully!!

bullyDo you remember grade school? There was always at least one, sometimes more. As they got older they gravitated to each other and ran in packs. Bullies!

They often used physical force, either their own or borrowed from followers, to steal your lunch, to push you around the playground and basically let everyone know who ruled the neighbourhood.

As with most immaturities, childhood bullies often grow up and stop being so insecure they feel the need to still push people around into adulthood. This may come from guidance and encouragement of a mentor.

But that is not always the case. Sometimes bullies stay that way. Today we see them everywhere. They drive behind you too closely and try to "push" you out of the way or blow black diesel smoke at you for nothing more than not driving as fast as they want.

They troll the internet spewing hatred and diatribe from behind their anonymous user names. They put down other's ideas, their looks and everything else they can find fault with.

And, unfortunately sometimes we end up living next to one. They throw their dog dung in your garbage bin, deliberately park in front of your house, or call the authorities for insignificant matters instead of trying to talk with you.

I remember one of my uncles having a feud with a neighbour. They were not similar in personality and did not get along. Instead of agreeing to disagree, the neighbour started a campaign of bullying. Multiple times a week my uncle would receive a ticket from bylaw officers for having his dog off leash, even though it never left the yard. Admittedly, my Uncle George was brash and loud and over the top sometimes. But he also had a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off his back or money from his wallet if you needed it. He also loved German Shepherds, and his dogs won many show awards. In other words, they were phenomenally well behaved.

The ironic part for me was that the neighbour was one of my high school teachers. And, not a well-liked one either. He was considered a bully teacher who liked to show his superiority to his students by way of mean remarks on every paper returned. Today, he would have succeeded greatly as an internet troll-and who knows? Maybe he is.

But my uncle is not the only person to have a bully for a neighbour. We hear more and more stories in the news about them. So the question is, what to do about them. Getting into a feud with a bully does not seem to be the answer. What I have observed is that bullies love the escalation. They love pushing the buttons until you yell the proverbial "uncle" and admit defeat, somehow affirming their superiority.

This happened to my uncle. He couldn't help but fight back. But, eventually the tickets and the hassle grew to the point where hundreds of dollars a week in fines forced him to sell and move. The bully won.

I believe you have two choices.

One, you can dig in your heels and get into a mini "Hatfield's and McCoy's" with bodies all around. Eventually someone may get hurt, either financially or physically. The news has many horror stories of one of these feuds going sideways.

Two, you can refuse to get into the feud. Stop buying into the bully's ego to be "the boss". Quietly go about your own business, refuse confrontations, and let the bully's forays into instigation go unanswered. Simply refuse to allow them to get under your skin. This may not work in every situation, but often does.

I am not here to tell you what the best choice for you is. Maybe you need to stand and fight, maybe you don't. Perhaps you have the ability to ignore these ignorant individuals, or maybe not.

If you do end up next to one of these petty little people, be careful what you do. Unfortunately relocation may be the best choice. They are out there, and you may end up next to another one. OR, you may just end up next to great people who want great neighbours just like you!

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