Staying. For now.

The Dandy and I may indeed be doomed – no new information has come to light – but there’s just too much going on right now for me to endure still more upheaval.

Because, here’s the thing: the harpy downstairs has escalated her harassment. The other night it was late and I was cold and I took a hot bath to wind down for bed. When I pulled the plug I thought I heard Harpy’s trademark ceiling-bang but I was also rinsing dye out of my hair so I couldn’t really hear.

I got out of the bathtub and suddenly there was the sound of someone charging up the stairs and Harpy stood RIGHT outside my door – about four feet from me – and loudly said “can you stop this fucking shit? It’s 2:30!!!” My phone is never far from me and I quick-fast tried to turn on the video camera and record her bitching at me but her outburst was so fast that I missed it.

Then I heard her go back into her (main floor) apartment and out the back door to her patio, which is right under my bedroom window. And suddenly there was a BANG that made me jump a foot in the air, plus angry muttering. At first I thought she’d kicked the side of the house but that wouldn’t have sounded so loud and close. I think she saw my bedroom light on and threw something at my window with deliberate intent to scare me!

So instead of going to bed I was up for another hour or two, shaking and feeling pukey. And I didn’t sleep well because if Harpy reacted so badly to the sound of my bathtub draining, would she also freak the fuck out if I shifted and the bed creaked?

I told my landlady about the incident immediately but she probably can’t or won’t do much of anything so I’m doubling down on my efforts to find a new place to live.

Meanwhile, sometime after texting The Dandy and demanding he give me a plan to fix our shitty situation, I sent another text saying that I miss him and this sucks.

The same day the Harpy escalation happened, The Dandy replied that he misses me too and asked if I wanted to get together. I was in desperate need of feeling safe and comforted (and The Dandy, like every other man in my life, is somehow able to dismiss Harpy like she’s just pathetic rather than terrifying. I don’t understand how they aren’t scared of her, but it does make their visits reassuring.)

I asked him to come by that night. He did, and took me out to dinner so I could escape Harpy a little longer. Then we took a walk in the park for even more escape, and then I brought him home and we just snuggled for a few hours. He got me all nice and warm and calm and then went home and I slept better than I have in a week or more.

I didn’t want to get into a big confrontation just then, so I didn’t talk any more about what his plan will be to fix shit. I did, at one point, say something like “one day, I will live in a different apartment and the therapy will either have helped me or I’ll have successfully re-buried the shitty feelings it’s bringing up. And I worry that I’ll lose my appeal for you because you like to help and fix people.”

“When we hooked up I didn’t know about your anxiety or any of that,” The Dandy said.

When we hooked up I was sad and crying uncontrollably, White Knight,” I said, and The Dandy made a tiny chagrinned noise as he realized I was right.

Later, he asked me if I’d done my therapy homework of brushing my teeth that day. I said I actually hadn’t because I’d been in such a hurry to start apartment hunting. He said “do I need to nag you?” and I said yeah, sure, try. I was curious what nagging looked like, on him. He’s so terminally good-natured.

What it looked like was him saying “okay, go brush your teeth now” in a gentle, encouraging tone. The Dandy needed to get ready to go home so I went and did the stupid toothbrushing while he got dressed. I met him at my door and he asked “did you brush your teeth?” and when I said yes he smiled and said “good girl!” and it hit me RIGHT in the feels.

I suppose I have what they call “daddy issues.” I didn’t think so for a long time; I thought daddy issues was supposed to mean that you wish your actual father loved you or paid more attention to you but he doesn’t so you go find a surrogate of sorts.

Maybe when I was ten I yearned for my dad to love me. I got over it, though. He is human garbage and I just wish he’d die already. I do not need or want his love.

But the fact of the matter is, I DID miss out on having a male figure in my life who was loving and nurturing and all that, and I do think I want that in a partner. Well, I mean, probably MOST people want that in a partner, but I have a specific weakness for being nurtured the way you would nurture a kid. Twenty-odd years ago I was goofing around with the man I later married and somehow he ended up feeding me a bowl of cereal going “here comes the airplane!” like you do with a baby. More recently, The Pedant noticed on at least one occasion that I’d gone out in the cold and hadn’t done up my coat and he was like “oh for pete’s sake. What were you thinking? You’ll freeze!” and he bent down and zipped my coat up for me. All of this gave me the stomach butterflies.

My friend Dom is a big-time nurturer and into the whole daddy-dom thing. He’s doing the monogamy thing with someone right now but we have a very weird/interesting chemistry together and I’ve told him that I could see myself doing the daddy/little thing with him. Maaaaybe not with him being dominant per se. Kind of…carefully equal, but still offfering me treats and taking care of me and stuff. He said he’d be up for that, if he’s ever available.

But now there’s The Dandy, who identifies as dominant and who, when asked, couldn’t really tell me how he would want it to manifest but I felt even then like he might have a daddy component to him. And he kind of seemed to light up when he told me to brush my teeth and then called me a good girl.

So…maybe there’s something there worth exploring.

On a whole other note, the morning after The Dandy’s visit (which was today) I woke up in the actual morning for a change, feeling rested and ready to go see some apartments. I let Dickface the kitten out of her carrier (where I’ve been keeping her at night because she’s prone to running around and Harpy bangs the ceiling). I fed the cats. I took a shit. While I was in the bathroom Dickface started scampering around the apartment, happy to have been fed or whatever. It was 9:30, a full two-and-a-half hours after the noise bylaws are in effect. AND HARPY BANGED ON THE CEILING over this.

She’s also ceiling-banged me for rummaging through a bucket of cleaning supplies at 10:15pm, forty-five minutes BEFORE noise bylaws take effect. Which is all bullshit not just because I’m within my rights to make noise at those times, and not just because those are pretty minor noises in the grand scheme of things, but because she’s had screaming fights with her boyfriend at those times on many, many occasions.

Anyway, intellecI know she’s fucking nuts and I haven’t done anything wrong, but when she knocks on the ceiling like that I feel panicky and sick and caught out. I feel like she’s listening in on every single thing I do and judging me. I feel all this RAGE beaming up at me. Plus she’s ESCALATING – I once thought she was afraid of me (I’m much bigger than her) and would only dare do passive-aggressive shit like bang the ceiling, but then she screamed out her window at me once. And then she opened her door once and intercepted me on my way in to tell me not to take out the garbage so late and that she can hear me “making noise all night long”. And now she’s shown that she’s willing to come right up to my door to speak to me in a threatening tone, and to throw something at my window(?) in a rage. She’s violent and unpredictable and I worry what she’ll do next.

And so, after this morning’s knocking I could barely even move for fear that she’d get mad at me for existing. My stomach felt all floopy and I could barely eat. This all substantially impeded my progress with getting ready, and I left much later than I’d meant to. Dammit.

I’m getting pretty sick of my friends and partners acting like Harpy is just…kind of a drag, not a potential violent stalker, and I’m overreacting. Plz to tell me you understand my pukey, frightened feelings, folks? Don’t put images in my head of what she might do next or tell me about a similar situation where you almost ended up dead, but like…validate that I’m not crazy for being profoundly affected by all of this?

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Staying. For now.

  1. irrelevant

    I know this is unhelpful, but at obviously-legally-noisy times I’d just answer her ceiling-thumping with floor-thumping. Goddamnit.

  2. Orange Joe

    You should start calling the cops?

    • I consulted with the police last year. Basically, if she would ever have one of her screaming fights AT NIGHT, I’m entitled to call in a noise complaint (but she has the self control not to do that).

      And if a screaming fight at any time of day sounds like it could be turning into physical abuse, I should cal 911.

      But apparently for her actions toward ME to be considered criminal harassment, she needs to openly threaten me. ACTING threatening doesn’t count, yelling about me when she knows I can hear her doesn’t count for some fucking reason. A threat means her directly saying “I’m gonna do X to you.”

      So if I call the police for her thumping the ceiling or even talking to me through her door, I guess they might come over and say “hey – stop it” but they can’t press charges and I suppose they’ll just think I’m oversensitive.

      If anything will fix this, it’s getting in touch with a housing lawyer. I believe the landlord tenant act says that everyone has a right to enjoy their living space. Harpy is definitely making that difficult for me. So something legal might be done that way.

  3. Brian

    If you have one of those little spy-hole thingy’s on your door, the next time she comes by wanting to bitch/whine/scream about something, answer the door naked. I’m wondering how much raging she could do with a face full of breast.

    Of course, there’s always hope that you’ll find a suitable place elsewhere – soon.

    • Dude I generally like and appreciate your comments but all my friends have been making snarky, unfeasible suggestions and I’m just…over it.

      A) I do not want to confront a violent psychopath while naked. B) if I did, I would be committing a crime (indecent exposure) and she would not (I confirmed with the cops again today: bitching at or about me within my earshot is not a criminal offense).

      Given that Harpy seems to know how to game the system, my doing what you’ve suggested will result in me going on the sex offender registry and her looking like a fine upstanding citizen who was just trying to defend her boundaries and some crazy chick flashed her.

      • Brian

        I had thought better of that suggestion after I had posted it. You are, of course, correct.

        Best of luck finding a new place. That’s the better solution all around. You’ll get peace and quiet AND peace of mind.

  4. Weasel

    I don’t know what province you’re in, but in BC, ‘Quiet Enjoyment’ is a legal right per the residential tenancy act, and it’s the landlords responsibility to protect your right to it. I don’t know exactly how much power they have to do so, but it is their job. They’re the ones on the hook monetarily if such quiet enjoyment isn’t protected.

    http://tenants.bc.ca/quiet-enjoyment/

    I would expect other provinces have something similar, but the details may differ in important ways…

    I would suggest documenting each incident, just a line of description and a date/time; if you do end up with either a criminal or civil complaint, this should be useful.

    Landlords may not know their responsibilities or your rights; respectfully but firmly directing them to the relevant documents may be helpful, especially if they believe you’re the sort of stubborn, persistent, well informed individual who can`t be ignored or bulled over. Basically I think it needs to be apparent not only that it`s their job to resolve an issue, but that it will clearly be way more hassle to get rid of you, than to resolve the issue you are complaining about.

    Worrying about what someone violent and unpredictable will do next, when they’re right there by your living space, is obviously a huge drain. Of course you’re not crazy to feel that way… your friends and partners don’t have to deal with her bullshit for extended periods of time, and many things that can be dismissed in small doses are overwhelming when they’re are continuous.

    I don’t know any way of transforming the harpy into something less obnoxious, which just leaves making her obnoxiousness less scary.

    I suspect that part of the reason that the men in your life are able to regard her as a miserable nuisance rather than a deadly threat, is that we are used to being stronger than women. We expect(for this reason, and others) that being physically attacked by a woman is both unlikely to happen, and less likely to be a significant threat if it does occur. (Plus it’s socially unacceptable for a man to admit fear, especially of a woman, so even when it makes good sense…)

    Could your fear/misery be reduced if you felt better able to deal with further escalation? Have you considered self defense training, and a conveniently placed stout walking stick or other implement, as both insurance and reassurance?

    How about headphones to muffle her bullshit while you go about your life?

    Well that turned into an essay… good luck!

  5. play

    Not crazy, I would be stressed out as fuck by this, and have been stressed by neighbours doing much lesser things that weren’t even directed at me.

    Since she seems to be bent on escalating anyway, could you possibly take control of that escalation in some way? Like, if you see it coming and can’t avoid it, can you give it a controled pathway/timing/setup maybe, to feel less panicky about it? What I mean is sth like doing things that you know will likely make her pound/yell/whatever, but have a camera (even if just laptop or phone built-in one) already running so that you know everything that happens, from beginning to end will be recorded? And/or have a friend standing by somewhere outside of your apartment while it happens, so that she thinks you are alone, but you are not/reinforcements can be there quickly/as soon as any yelling happens (assuming the yelling is audible from the outside)?

    In general, if you can’t avoid a thing like that, sometimes provoking it/staring it down _can_ be helpful. Maybe discuss with your therapist?

    Else I second the floor-thumping back, possibly in connection with or as part of the “controlled escalation” tactics above.

    Also, little webcams aren’t expensive anymore, and it might be worth having one running pointed at your door in general, just in case she decides to make an appearance, so no fumbling with phone is necessary.

  6. Asher

    This is a great shame. She is a totally crappy person. You don’t deserve to be harrassed and threatened.

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