Peer support subsequent to trauma contributes to full recovery

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What Do Your Neighbors Think About You?

Discussion in 'PTSD Relationships' started by GodSeeker, Dec 30, 2009.

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  1. GodSeeker

    GodSeeker Active Member

    Right now I am facing a hard time...I live alone in an apartment and have 4 neighbors. I think with conviction that they think I am crazy or a strange person or a monster and some other things related to my trauma that I could not mention here. Some conversations I heard make me believe that and off course my actual situation drive them believe that: I receive no visits. Have no GF. Allways alone (except for these holidays but this seems to not to be much important) I just cannot take it in. This is the exact thing that happened to me years ago and was the origin of al this shit: judged, badly judged.

    The problem is that I am close enough to my neighors to hear their conversations and I see in their eyes that they think "What an odd person!!" I dont think that I am a bad person. The reality is that I show indifference to them but not because I like to do that but because I cannot do otherwise. It is hard to not to have other alternative but be indifferent, lonely, because people judge you all the time. It is hard to me to let enyone get close to me and I am supporting this stoïquely but it hurts, really hurts. It hurts when you think that others think you are a monster or a bad guy. It is already sad to not to have friends, somebody to talk to and open your heart to and if this were not enough you have to deal with toher's people judgements and superficial opinoins.

    I just hope that I am not alone in this sort of situation because I am really not a bad person (sometimes I suspect that maybe I am) It is already hurtful to be alone without having to deal with other' people judgment. It is like not having peace anywhere not even in one's self.
    I wonder how much suffering can a person take before he breaks. Because that is what it is happening. I have no body to tell me that I am a good person or that I am courageous to deal with loneliness in a foreign country or make me feel good... I dont know, but I am so in need of a kind word from anybody...It kills to live the way I do.
    I want to apologize because most of my posts are sad posts but I could not help it.
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  3. Grainne

    Grainne Well-Known Member

    Hi GodSeeker,

    My heart goes out to you, reading your post. I am very lucky to have a small family with me, my husband and son. They may not always be perfect, but they are always here and I wake up every single morning thankful for that, at least. I do, however, understand how the views of others may affect you.

    I live on a tree farm, acres of forest around me - it's really beautiful and VERY quiet which is why I moved here in the first place. We are just outside a small town where everyone known everyone and your business is everyone's business. I dreaded that part of things because the whole town gets together to celebrate holidays - easter egg hunts in the spring..pig roasts in the fall...that sort of thing. I knew I'd never go, and I knew they'd all look at me strangely for not joining in.

    This past summer my closest neighbour (who can actually see my house from hers) pulled my husband aside to have a chat about how 'weird' I was. She noted that she never saw me playing outside with our son C (who is autistic and, at that point, absolutely hated playing in the grass or dirt) and that, one weekend she saw me go into the house on a friday return from work and not exit again until the following MONDAY (dear me, can you imagine??! Two days of solitude...for crying out loud...sigh). She lectured D for a while on how 'bad' it was for our son to have a mother like me. She told him how unhealthy it was for me to have no visitors and to never go out except for work, C and errands. It went on and on. She even threatened to call Children's Services on me...saying I was an 'unfit' mother.

    She's all happy now because my husband took a job out of town and I'm now left to do everything for Colton and have to take care of the house while trying to hold down a full time job. I guess now that I 'look' busier, all is well.

    The one thing I keep telling myself is that it doesn't matter what they say, what they think. I am only responsible for me (and my boy, at this time of my life) and I can only affect how I feel about my situation, not what others feel. It's hard, very hard, but if I got bogged down in what everyone else thought to me, I'd likely never make it off the couch.

    I won't tell you to 'go out and meet people' because that's exactly the opposite of what feel. I wish I could tell you how to love yourself, but I'm still looking for that answer myself. I guess I can't help you much...but I'm thinking of you. I hope that helps a tiny little bit.

  4. kers

    kers I'm a VIP

    Exactly. I am sure that my neighbors see me, at least sometimes, as the strange girl who peeks out from between the blinds at odd times. We share a wall so they hear screams, I suspect, and night pacings. On the other hand, I think they are weed fiends who party too much as people with children. They aren't my friends, so I am not too concerned with their thoughts on me.

    The question is, why does their opinion matter to you? Do you want a relationship with them? The answer to that question affects how you proceed.
  5. Res

    Res Member

    I hate how judgmental people can be. Why can't they just mind their own business?

    I don't have problems with my neighbors, in fact they are all really nice. We just moved to a small row of townhouses out in the country, and although I moved there with my boyfriend when I was just 17, no one seemed to think much about it. One of the neighbors thought that we would be trouble makers and throw lots of parties, but since she's seen that we do nothing like that, she's been really nice to us. We have people who will mow our lawn for us, or even shovel snow off our walk way. They are just nice people I guess. Not many of them have really gotten to know us though. And although I have a variety of disorders and my boyfriend has Aspergers, we blend in pretty well. Although, I'm sure people have wondered why I would leave some of the outdoor parties that they'd throw. I would only stay for a few minutes before going back home, anxious. But I guess my boyfriend has learned how to explain it to them in a way that doesn't make me look bad.
  6. GodSeeker

    GodSeeker Active Member

    Thank you Grainne, kers and res,
    All the problem is from my personal situation: I am residing in a foreing country since 1998 and somehow I have hard times adapting to their culture and society. You might think that this is not important but it is. It is a pretty unusal situation. I have got a huge family back there but I seldom have a communication with them.
    And why do I care about what they might think about me? It is because all my problem comes from unfair childhood accusations and bullying against me of things I am innocent from. I was the one who everybody intimidated, judged and pointed their finger on. That is why. I have always been obsessed about what others may think of me. so I always did my best to show a nice, helpful and right person so I can prevent their bad judgments. In other words I am playing again and again the same game since my childhood. Trying to being nice to not to be hurt. But I am sorry this doesnt work as an adult. Being a good person is not what matters but having success, social skills, arrogance, and what the media make you believe it is important. So I find myself without ressources to deal with people.
    I just wish that before long I will resolve my familiar issue and meet again with my family.
  7. Grama-Herc

    Grama-Herc I'm a VIP

    While our living situtions are very different, our feelings, wants and needs are so similar. I am the weird woman who looks out the window a lot. I'm the woman who never has visitors and is rarely seen outside.

    To say that what others think should not matter is easier said than done. BUT, it is important for us to build a life we can function in and if limiting our outside exposure is what it takes, then so be it.

    I am not capable of much outside interaction with people or places so I have developed a life for myself that is comfortable and safe. I get a little lonely sometimes but the alternative of letting people close to me is just not an option.

    Don't guess this is any help to you other than leting you know you are not alone, but maybe it will help a little.
  8. CCurry

    CCurry Well-Known Member

    I know it really doesn't matter what my neighbours think but since my bf had to move out for safety reasons all to do with his PTSD 3 months ago, one of our neighbour's just asked me this week if we've separated? Argh!! It caught me off guard and I said he's just been busy working!
  9. helena

    helena Well-Known Member

    "one weekend she saw me go into the house on a friday return from work and not exit again until the following MONDAY (dear me, can you"

    My first thought to that is: what is she doing spending the entire weekend watching what you are doing???? I think there is some projection going on there Grainne.

  10. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    Hell, there have been times that if I have food, I'm sick and don't need to go out, I won't go out for almost a week....Staying in doesn't make you weird, or crazy or whatever. People judging you for how you choose to live your life, is their issue.... Live your life, enjoy it, and to hell with your nosy neighbors.....
  11. anthony

    anthony Master of none!

    Not sure really... don't chat with them too much. One side is cool... know them both, know the other one's, but they are sticky noses which I can't stand. The others mind their business and say hello, have a chat when outside and available, otherwise they do their thing and I do mine, which I like.
  12. sticks-and-stones

    sticks-and-stones Active Member

    Helena's point to Grainne is very valid in my opinion... what was her neighbour doing by the window all weekend? surely that's even less of a life than she's accusing you of having!! lol!

    Back on topic, my neighbours keep themselves to themselves, which suits me just fine. I do have problems coming up with excuses for when I can't do something I'd said I would to not-very-close friends,, whom I don't want to know about my PTSD but I also don't want them thinking I'm a bad friend.

    I think, at the end of the day, something that's already been said in this thread is probably the truth but it's hard to swallow, and that's that: we can't do anything to change how they think about us, (even if we were to try making loads of effort, they'd probably brand us as "that's strange, why are they doing all that?") so lets not waste any of our energy on something that is fruitless and instead, lets focus on ourselves and getting through each day as best we can. :)
  13. maria

    maria Active Member

    Hi GodSeeker,

    I'm lonely too. And I have faced the fact that to others I am weird. I have next to no social skills and that's weird to other people who were lucky enough to learn those skills in a caring family as children.

    To deal with my loneliness, I A) have a dog. B) found situations where I can be with people where good social skills aren't required. For example:

    I've started to volunteer at a museum. I help people or school groups to understand the exhibits in my area. Not in-depth social activity required. I also go to exercise classes where I'm with people but don't have to interact much. Since I'm a senior, I can go to the center for lunch. Again, some interaction but no major social skills required.

    I live in a senior apartment. Some young people with disabilities live here too. There's a rule (not enforced by the administration) that residents must be in residence a certain number of days each year. A young woman with a serious heart condition lives here but often stays with her family in town. Believe it or not, one of her neighbors is keeping a log of her comings and goings and complaining to the administration. This girl (who incidentally has great social skills) told me the other day that she's looking for a new apartment because she can't stand the feeling of being constantly watched.

    My moral is that nasty people will find a way to be nasty. They don't need a person with PTSD.

  14. Nicolette

    Nicolette ♡ Supporter Admin ♡
    Supporter Admin

    I haven't been following this thread but feel compelled to say I hate having anything to do with neighbours. I grew up with our next door neighbour being in our house every day and I could not stand the intrustion. Admittedly Anthony and I met after he moved in next door (due to our sons) but I still have little to do with any neighbour. Don't even want to go there.
  15. GodSeeker

    GodSeeker Active Member

    Thanks to your replies. At least this is an issue we share and thank you María for your advice and I also think that is nearly impossible to change people's opinion but it is very painful (to me at least) to stand certain situations where I am being judged from the outside...It is very easy to judge, it is even the easiest thing to do. It is part of a mental laziness but I guess it has always been so.
    Maybe lacking personal objective, not having one's mind focused (which is my case) one one's activities is the chief reason for giving so much importance to such a common thing.
  16. Medic72

    Medic72 I'm a VIP


    I am sorry that you are sad, it is the toughest place to look out from and try to grasp onto the positives. You have to keep trying to see the positive though, don't give up on that fight. Trauma destroys your confidence, in yourself and everything around you. Trauma creates mistrust. Being judged happens all the time, it happened before your trauma, it will always happen as long as everyone on this earth remains human.

    When we are 'destroyed' after out trauma, judgement hurts all that much more, we dwell on it perhaps far more than we would have 'normally' and we then judge ourselves harshly. You are not a wierd person, if YOU believe this, than it shouldn't matter what others may say about you. When we are traumatized we tend to believe the worst about ourselves - its a form of punishing ourselves, we do not believe we are worth anything, thus we tend to plant these beliefs in the minds of others as well. I've done it. I've been there. I would have rather died than face my coworkers after my trauma, now, I don't really care what they may think of me, the fact is, that I am doing what I need to do for me...the only important person right now.

    You are the only important person in this world right now and you need to heal. To H*** with everyone else and their beliefs. The only beliefs that are truly important right now are those that you have about yourself, take a good honest look at them, if you find something that makes you sad, then work to change that belief. You ARE worthy. You ARE valuable. You ARE not wierd.

    Take care of yourself.
    candor likes this.
  17. Monarch

    Monarch I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    Yeah, I am in a period right now where I feel like I am the weird person but it is winter here and cold so people don't go out as much anyways. Our neighborhood is one of those that you all would hate and sometimes it gets to me too and I get pissed and tell people I am not feeling well and they go away. sometimes in the summer I will get home and there will be 10 kids in our yard or in front of the house skateboarding or biking. Funny, for an Autistic kid my son is very popular. I go walk the dog in the park and put on my ipod and it doesn't matter, someone will stop and want to chat. I try to act like I am working out and keep going, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Truthfully, our house is open to anyone most of the time and if I am not in the mood then i am just not feeling well and they get the hint and go away. I do have one neighbor friend who calls me all the time to do rediculous things like help her wrap presents or hangout with her and clean like I don't have my own chores to do and have the time to help her..ugh that is driving me nuts but she is newly divorced and lonely so I feel obligated.
  18. GodSeeker

    GodSeeker Active Member

    Thank you for your support. What you relate in your post is exactly what is happening to me. I think of myself as the worst person ever...I could name a lot of bad adjectives which I call myself by but I wont. These believes are very strong and very difficult to resist. They involve my self. I know by experience that negating them is not the best way to solve this issue. It is a vicious circle: When you think of yourself as bad, you act accordingly to this belief-without you ever know it- which in turn induce people to think of you as bad and finally this reinforce the belief you already hold in your mind.
    How to break this cycle? I guess I should make breaks and meditate upon.
  19. Junebug

    Junebug I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    Hi GodSeeker,

    Don't feel badly (for long).

    It may help immensely to look up resources here on improving your self-worth and self-esteem- they have exercises/ things to do. That (will) give you a more accurate persepective on yourself, and make you feel better. "God" doesn't make junk.

    As for the neighbours, -pardon my language, but 'screw 'em'. Half the time people don't know what conclusion they are drawing, and 99% of the time it's only in relation to themself.

    Take courage, you sound from your support of people here like you have (very) many wonderful qualities.
  20. tah

    tah New Member

    I just wanted to say that I do not live alone. I have three children and my husband and family close by. Yet I feel alone. I do not talk to my neighbors. Never really have. I will say hi, wave, smile, then walk quickly in my home or car like I am always in a hurry. I am always overly concerned about what they are saying about me. I am so afraid they are or will say horrible things about me so I isolate myself. I keep saying to myself how great it would be if I was one of those people who could make friends easily and talk to people. I just can't bring myself to do it. I am afraid they will think I am wierd like everyone else throughout my life.
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