Sweet Privacy

I have some next door neighbors that love privacy. One is super shy so I respect his need for space. We’ve had a few short conversations and I know that he prefers to be alone (doesn’t even come to the condo social events).

On the other side, they only come for a few weeks in the year. When I met them last summer they were so sweet and talkative. This year they seem to want a lot of alone time.  I see one of them walking quickly by and toward the beach. The other was about to go out with their dog and saw me with mine and turned around. I figured that was due to the dogs barking. But today I was up early and released a spider when the beach walker came out. I said a big hello, thinking I finally can catch up again. Nope, just Good Morning and they walked on.

For me, it brought back bad memories of being shunned at cohousing. Are they mad at me? Are the decorations I put out in front of my door bothering them? I know the plant is looking well but is that terrible?  I”m still trying to keep some plants alive.

No, it’s just I”m still traumatized from cohousing. There you are expected to be social with your neighbors. Even introverts try to at least do a small conversation and push out of their comfort zones.  I have to remember that those days are over. Everyone here can have as much time alone as they want. No expectations. Which is nice, because it was so obvious when I stepped on a booby trap and was purposefully shunned. People going inside when I was outside. People talking to my next door neighbor and pretending I didn’t exist (again when I was outside) and then telling their children to go play elsewhere when they wanted to show me a caterpillar. Even after we all said politically correct things in front of the mediator, total shunning.

So, I’ll stop thinking its about me and let my neighbors be. Just like I enjoy my privacy now.

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
This entry was posted in bad behavior and bullies of any age, privacy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Sweet Privacy

  1. Flower says:

    “This year they seem to want a lot of alone time.”

    I’m a person who fully “appreciates” my alone time. I think it takes an emotionally mature person to not personalize situations and make it all about them, which truthfully can be a narcissistic response, I agree that trauma can foster unpleasant emotions and make one more prone to feeling hurt or rejected, especially because it brings up shame as well as many other uncomfortable emotions.

    It’s easy for someone to feel as if they’ve done something, especially if they’ve been conditioned to feel overly responsible for the behaviors of other people and a target of manipulation, criticism, guilt, blame and scapegoating. There’s a great book I’ve often recommend called, Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward.

    I’ve already written that I’ve had to deal with very unpleasant neighbors–one who was an alcoholic who died and the other who has some kind of mental health issue and the situation is too long to discuss. Suffice to say that having to cope with difficult people and those with poor to non-existent boundaries has made me even more wary and reticent towards neighbors. I don’t want more problems and being so close to home creates stress over safety issues.

    It’s wise to not take the need for privacy too personally. You cannot know other people and their experiences or what is going on in their lives.

  2. Flower says:

    “People talking to my next door neighbor and pretending I didn’t exist (again when I was outside) and then telling their children to go play elsewhere when they wanted to show me a caterpillar.

    Psychology Today and many other sites used to have comment sections. which have now disappeared. I found them quite interesting. Once having stumbled across an article about the many reasons people may not have children (infertility) being one of them, there was a comment from someone who apparently did have kids that apparently felt free to leave an ugly remark–that people who didn’t have children should be SHUNNED. That demonstrates more about that person than their targets. Obviously for someone to leave such a nasty, vile and obnoxious comment like that it demonstrates their lack of tolerance, empathy and understanding. I wonder if most people knew that about that person–if they would want to associate with someone like that. Some people may probably look the other way, especially those who feel the same, but decent human beings wouldn’t. And if they made a comment like that and rationalized their behavior as most people do, then suffice to say that it’s only a matter of time before they would target someone else maybe even the people who rationalized the same types of behaviors. That person was basically showing who they are and as the quote goes, I’d listen to them.

    I’d offered that example to illustrate this that it doesn’t matter how “politically correct” someone appears to be. They demonstrate who they are by their actions, which I’m certain you realize. It’s wise to look at the dissonance between someone’s words and their actions. I do believe there are biblical verses that express the sentiment about duplicity, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing…..and, Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” I’m certain there’s a Buddhist equivalent.

  3. CJ says:

    Not taking it personal is something I have to remind myself but I know I”m not in cohousing so the expecations are none for my neighbors – unlike there. Plus, I have thoroughly enjoyed my privacy myself!

    • Flower says:

      I’m not perfect with it either. Somewhere you wrote that you believed in people. School of hard knocks and observation has obliterated those feelings in me. I see too much manipulative and entitled behaviors and none of that is experienced in a positive way. I had a long time neighbor who died and I was told that a single divorced mother moved in. I avoided her. While I was not mean I’ve had too many negative experiences and I’m tired of people who create problems. I waited to see how she interacted with others and then she moved. Next couple moved in and I had an appointment. I saw her mowing. She waved and I waved back. Then I sat in my car deciding whether or not to go over and introduce myself and say hello. I was overwhelmed with my own life and fed up with people and the destructive chaos they create. I decided to go over and say hello. I was concerned that they would become a “problem” for me.

      I’m certain many people think that I’m “unfriendly” and I don’t really care. There are too many people who see “friendliness” as a green light to impose, make demands and exploit other people. Those people also make up “communities” and they destroy them. My behaviors are about self-preservation and peace-of-mind.

  4. Flower says:

    For what it is worth I also know intimately the experience of being shunned and scapegoated. I often get triggered. One situation in my life involved sexual harassment by a person in a powerful position and I was much younger than him. Like all perpetrators he deflected personal ownership and started a rumor to assassinate my character. I’d heard from someone that they had heard from another coworker that they were referring to me as a “whore” and a “slut”. He was at fault. That is how perpetrators behave–they spread malicious lies and deflect any personal ownership. I well know how these people operate. That is a long story and I don’t tend to share personal information. Unfortunately it’s not the only experience I’ve ever had with people who choose to operate that way and it’s common behavior from narcissists. I wound up clinically depressed and eventually sought counseling/therapy.

    No one knows the challenges of other people. You have no idea what is going on in their personal lives and why they behave as they do. That is why it’s wise to not take their need for privacy or even avoidance personally. It’s not always about you. I have a strong aversion to groups which started at a young age as I know how toxic they can be.

    I’d like to recommend some other great books that have helped me in my journey and I’ve read a ton. One is called, In Sheep’s Clothing, Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People, by Dr. George K. Simon Ph.D.. He also has a website: https://www.drgeorgesimon.com/books/in-sheeps-clothing/

    Another good book is called, Emotional Unavailability: Recognizing It, Understanding It, and Avoiding Its Trap Paperback – by Bryn Collins

  5. CJ says:

    I have been traveling so I’m sorry I did not get back to you sooner. What a horrible person – first to harass then to slut shame. But, you are correct, some people make problems and then keep making more by blaming others (especially their targets). What I don’t understand is how people don’t see through this. If someone is making such a fuss, what are they not saying? or really doing?
    It is so hard to be misunderstood. I went to counseling to help with all my feelings after cohousing targeting and bullying. Blogging also helped since I like to write.
    I will check out these books – thanks for more recommendations.
    I also talked to another neighbor and she agreed some owners just want to chill at the beach and not get to know us full timers. I won’t take it personally but I now see how cohousing has triggered me in places I wasn’t before.
    Thanks always for your honest sharing.

    • Flower says:

      He was certainly abusing his position of power to target me that way and yes, he was a horrible person. He was also married. I was married too and his behaviors were not wanted. It’s fairly standard behavior of narcissists. I don’t know if that qualifies as slut shaming. I do know at the time I reacted and was deeply offended. I later understood that it was deflection of personal responsibility. I sought counseling and it helped though you have to be careful about choosing therapists.

      It’s hard to feel misunderstood. Some people have their minds already made up regardless of whether it is fair or not and it’s usually not fair. What bothered me more than anything was other women–they didn’t have my back. That situation and many others taught me some hard lessons and I don’t tend to trust women. A lot of mean-spirited and stupid comments were made to me as well as dismissive ones. One was by a woman who eventually got into media. She was ruthless–a divorced single mother with 2 kids. She used her situation to advance herself.

      “What I don’t understand is how people don’t see through this. If someone is making such a fuss, what are they not saying? or really doing?”

      I think many people do “see” and they just look the other way. They don’t want to be the “target” and they rationalize their behaviors. It’s self-deception and complicit. They add to the toxic environment by not standing up to the destructive and abusive behaviors.

      People tend to think that sexual harassment lawsuits are easy, but they are NOT. I did fight back.

      • CJ says:

        So unfair that justice is so unjust. I think power hungry and abusive people just move on to another place where they can do their damage.

  6. Flower says:

    “What I don’t understand is how people don’t see through this. If someone is making such a fuss, what are they not saying? or really doing?”

    I wasn’t sure what you meant by this so I answered how I thought you meant it.

    I understand being triggered from the result of trauma. It happens quite a bit for me, but I am aware of it and generally can self-soothe. Many of your writings trigger me–it’s your honesty, which is something I don’t tend to find, especially about the group situation and being scapegoated and vilified. I was at one time honest about my emotions, but then I got labelled as “too sensitive”, etc. The same types of people that would use such labels were always trying to dump and unload their problems on me and were the exact opposite of “sensitive” or caring. I learned and those were harsh lessons emotionally painful lessons.

    There are reasons why people are “reserved or keep their distance. I do use avoidance strategies and people do need to demonstrate trustworthiness. It’s best not to take behaviors personally because you’re not in their shoes. It’s also hard to build relationships when people are always on the move.

    There’s a great book called, The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It was another one that I turned too in my quest for answers. I saw him in an interview and he had some interesting and valid insights about deniers and why they are complicit in abuse–why they look the other way. Group situations are filled with drama, conflict and problems–just like work situations. The book isn’t just about survival and violence.

    On that subject there’s a lot of interesting studies about survival as well–I’m well read.

    • CJ says:

      I love that book. Everyone should read it. My therapist told me to, to help me heal from the group think and understand why so many are complicit! I think I was going to blog about the book one day but either forgot to or did and forgot I already did.

      • Flower says:

        I never responded to this. I’m glad that you read the book. It’s a great book. Most of the books I’ve mentioned and the links offer great information. When I read them I feel validated. I also refer to them often. So I try to pass on a good word and because I tend to meet people who want to dump and unload on me about their personal problems. That was one of the reasons I got on the internet because I was sick and tired of people complaining and whining about their personal problems and all of it one-sided demonstrating narcissistic behaviors. Unfortunately most of these people were parents. I’m solution focused.

        If I suggest counseling to people they get insulted and mad–they don’t see it as “emotional support” and it doesn’t matter how kind or nice I am when I offer that suggestion. If I mention a book that may be of help, they dismiss it saying that they don’t have time to read, blah, blah, blah. I once recommended The Gift of Fear and the woman replied that she would be “scared” to read it. Maybe she’ll go through her life remaining ignorant and will never have anything ugly or “bad” hurt her. Then again who knows. I know for me the moment someone responds to me like that they lose all credibility and I try to cut them out of my life. It’s called self-protection. I see those experiences similar to the people that you experienced in cohousing. They are cut of the same cloth–always seeking someone to blame, never taking responsibility and it’s a broken record and they never see themselves as creating chaos. I’ve experienced it enough in my life.

  7. Flower says:

    “What I don’t understand is how people don’t see through this. If someone is making such a fuss, what are they not saying? or really doing?”

    Another point that I thought of is that I tend to pay close attention to what is not being said, especially when I detect incongruence. I know people go to great lengths to obscure what is really happening–deflecting any personal responsibility and gaslighting, etc.

    I had a friend once say that nothing gets by you. We all have our vulnerabilities. I would say that trauma and harsh experiences at a very young age tends to accelerate that learning curve.

  8. CJ says:

    I have learned the hard way to watch what people do, not what they say.

  9. CJ says:

    I agree. These types need to be cut from our lives. So sad that I met them in the first place.
    They are cut of the same cloth–always seeking someone to blame, never taking responsibility and it’s a broken record and they never see themselves as creating chaos.

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