Etiquette School is in session! > Complete Silence

What could I say? (Very Long!)

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Edited to add: I am sorry for the length!)
/BG: I used to live with DF (then DB) in a flat the other side of the city. It was a one bedroom flat and not somewhere we wanted to stay for a long period of time, due to the mould and damp in the bedroom and bathroom. It smelt awful and set off my chest infections (damp always does). The biggest reason we wanted to move, however, came in the shape of "Rachael", our upstairs neighbour. We were introduced the day we moved into the flat. She came downstairs simply to ask us to please keep the volume down as she can hear everything from her flat. I didn't see how she could, since her flat wasn't directly above ours but the other side of the house (a Victorian terrace which had been converted into flats), but nevertheless we agreed to be careful about noise, and didn't question her request. 
Over time, it appeared Rachael had issues with noise. We were not the only tenants she constantly harassed. We were not overly noisy, even when we went out together at the weekends. We took care never to slam any doors (although others in the flat did on occasions) and we spoke in whispers if we were late back. Basically, we made every attempt to comply with her wishes. We were noisy on occasion, but no more so than the other tenants. We saw the friendly young guy who lived opposite us in the other downstairs flat quite frequently in the local pub. He always had a smile for us until any of us mentioned Rachael. He confessed that she was driving him insane. She had knocked on his door 4 times in the past week to complain about his noise, she had written a letter of complaint to the landlord and she was threatening to get him evicted. DF and I were shocked...this young man was never out late at nights, even at weekends, and was the quietest, most unassuming man ever. He was wonderfully kind and helped us move our fridge/freezer out when it suddenly stopped working, and helped the delivery guy deliver the new one whilst DF was at work.  We couldn't understand why she suddenly had it in for him.

As time went on, it became more and more clear to us that she had problems with everyone, not just DF and I, and the young man in the other downstairs flat, but with everyone. We often chatted with the young couple who lived directly above us and they said they had never heard any excessive noise coming from our flat and they lived above us! They told us Rachael had complained to them about their noise, too.
The situation came to a head the day after my birthday, which fell on a Saturday that year. It was my 30th birthday, so of course it was a special do. We went out with mutual friends from work and had a fabulous (slightly drunken!) time. We were in high spirits after a great night of singing, dancing and talking.  The following morning, 8am on a Sunday, we were treated to five loud knocks on the door. So loud that we thought it was the Police or something. DF got up and I stayed in bed. He came back after 5 minutes and said it was Rachael, and she wanted us to go up and see her. We waited until a decent time and then went. She proceeded to lambast us for half an hour, call us rampant alcoholics and tell us we were a complete waste of air and deserved...well, some pretty nasty things that I would really care not to share with you.  After half an hour, we had both had enough of being spoken to like children and she was unprepared to listen to us at all. We said nothing further, just walked out. She followed us back into our flat, or tried to, but DF firmly closed the door. Maybe we could have dealt with it better, but we were shocked.  That was when we decided to move. 
Finally, with regards to background, anyway, this woman made enough noise herself. She was "single", ie didn't have a partner. However, she had a friend with "benefits". And those benefits were loud, loud Scrabble games going on until 2am up to four times per week.  Pleasant if you happen to live in the same building.  We laughed about her a lot, but if the truth be told, her behaviour was starting to become more and more eratic. She started printing out A4 notices and pinning them onto the front communal door. She started leaving the latch off the door to prevent "noise". She put notes through everyone's doors warning of eviction if we did not comply. We needed to move. And very soon did, hoping never to see her again. /End BG
Fast forward two years (approximately). I entered a singing competition at a local pub last month. It was a bit of fun, at a nice pub and I didn't expect anything to come of it. I got through to the semi finals, which meant preparing 2 songs that I knew word for word (there are no words on the screen for the competition). DF was so understanding about this and knew I needed the practice, so I was able to go on a Sunday afternoon for an hour to practice for the competition. It was a great little arrangement until we saw...yup, Rachael. She was sitting with her laptop, outside, typing furiously. Every 5 minutes she would stop and complain about the noise (no change there then!). She said hi to me, and smiled, seeming happy to see me. I said hi back. We chatted about DS (she had no idea about him and expressed an interest).  It is important to note that I don't have more than 1 alcoholic drink on a Sunday afternoon and don't stay longer than an hour. Getting drunk on a school night is a bad idea in so many ways!  Anyway. Rachael made it clear she wanted to work, so I left her to it and went to sit with my friends. All we could hear was her complaining to the manager. The manager is a straight talking Aussie and asked her simply "Well why are you choosing to work in a busy pub in the middle of happy hour and karaoke?" She said because she didn't want to be at home. Fair enough, but why complain about the noise? There are quieter places...
She started a conversation with one of the girls sitting at our table, talking about her "work". She was vague about it but hinted she was involved in Child Protection services, although she dodged questions asking more specific details.  I decided I didn#t want to be around her any longer, so politely made an excuse and walked away.  The following week, she was back again. And the week after that. And the week after that.  I was always polite with my "hi", but never actually any more than that. As far as I was concerned, she was part of my past, and I had no desire to forge any friendship with her.
Last Sunday, I was able to get an hour alone to practice for the semi finals yesterday.  I prepared the songs I was doing, all was good.  I went outside to call DF and when I had finished, prepared to go back inside to sing my song. A young girl I had never seen before stopped me. She asked if she could have a word. To cut a long story short(er), she was embarrassed to tell me that Rachael had been telling her some pretty nasty things about me and DF. She basically said that DF and I were swingers (falsehood), confirmed alcoholics who had been to meetings (falsehood) and we had had Social Services round (falsehood).  She said she was personally investigating getting DS taken away from us.  Ouch. I explained briefly to this girl to take no notice, but thanked her for telling me. I figured to ignore Rachael's pathetic lies would be the best option.
Yesterday was the semi final. I performed my song, but was distracted when I noticed her sitting watching me. It was quite eerie the way she was staring at me.  I finished the song and went outside to call DF. When I had finished, she followed me. She asked if she could talk to me, and against my better judgement I said awkwardly "OK..." She proceeded to say to my face, almost word for word what that young girl had said to me last week.  I was silent, through shock. I then made my excuses, told the bar owner I had to go home for DS and asked him to let me know whether or not I got through. I couldn't stand to wait around for the results, I simply wanted to leave the place and get as much distance between her and me as possible.  The owner didn't mind (or didn't appear to mind) that I'd left, and maybe I should have stayed in there. But I just could not stand to be anywhere near this weird woman.
DF's theory is that she is jealous of our relationship and wants to do anything she can to ruin it. She is not jealous in nthe way she wants DF, per se, just jealous of our relationship. She's not happy, so she wants everyone else to be unhappy too.  I don't know, I guess that would make sense. All she does is moan about how awful men are. And how much she doesn't miss having a boyfriend.  And how unbelievably rubbish men are.  Ok...
I didn't speak when she gave me her diatrabe last night, mainly because I was too frightened of bursting into angry, furious, frustrated tears.  :(  I know it was a bit pathetic of me to leave the place. I didn't ask my friends to come with me, I knew they wanted to find out the results. She had ruined my night, I didn't want to ruin everyone else's.  Now that the competition is over (I didn't get through and I'm not too disappointed), I will not be returning there for a while, particularly not on a Sunday or Monday.   
My question is if DF and I, for example, see her in town and she tries talking to us? She is strange enough to actually be nice to our faces usually. She normally just talks nasty about us (and others) behind our backs.  I've been told by other people in the past, back when we were living in the flat, that she was telling stories about us. We ignored it as best we could and just tried to get on. I would just like to know how you guys would handle it.

At the end of the day, we are new parents, enjoying DS. I enjoy my evenings out, I am responsible and careful. DF enjoys his time out, as well, and it's good for us. I don't go out to the pub all the time, I have a Zumba class for example, or I just go for a walk and sit in the park to read my Kindle.    ;) 
I can imagine I am going to get some pretty harsh comments, but I honestly don't know how to handle her.  I don't want any legal advice, I don't want this thread to get locked.  If we basically assume that she's talking the talk and has no intention of doing anything except wind us up, it would help.  So please, no legalities.  I just wanted to share this story as I think it is very weird.

So it boils down to...

You had a bad neighbor some years back. You thought all that was in the past. However, having run into her recently, it appears that she is spreading rumors about you, and making (apparently) empty threats about having your child taken away by CPS (or some variation).

I'd not even acknowledge this person if they stood in front of me and said, "How are ya?" I would not engage. Say nothing. Do nothing to encourage her pseudo-friendliness.


--- Quote from: TheVapors on May 29, 2012, 06:42:40 AM ---So it boils down to...

You had a bad neighbor some years back. You thought all that was in the past. However, having run into her recently, it appears that she is spreading rumors about you, and making (apparently) empty threats about having your child taken away by CPS (or some variation).

I'd not even acknowledge this person if they stood in front of me and said, "How are ya?" I would not engage. Say nothing. Do nothing to encourage her pseudo-friendliness.

--- End quote ---

That's about right. It's slightly concerning, hurtful and confusing as we have done nothing to her to make her do this. It's cruel and vindictive.  We will be ignoring her and just hoping she goes away soon.  I thought I'd kind of avoid that establishment for a short while, as I have no wish to see this woman. 
The other way to look at it is this: By carrying out this campaign of hatred, she is merely showing her true, very nasty, colours to people. As convincingly "nice" as she can appear, people will see her for what she is, I guess.
I'm trying to play it down in my mind, but there is no doubt to me that this woman is very strange indeed. We didn't even know each other, and we certainly were never friends in any shape or form.  She was just someone who lived in the same house as us and made everyone's lives difficult needlessly. 

In the future, don't go against your better judgment! If Rachael asks to talk to you, say you can't because you need to be somewhere (anywhere that isn't near her) and go there.

I didn't want to appear rude. Looking back, that is how bad things happen to me. My good old conscience whispers "No, don't avoid her, that's rude" and I think "Yeah but I really don't want her to talk to me" and then I get into this pointless argument with myself in my head and end up agreeing to whatever because I am scared of looking rude.
If I had a spine, I could have said "I don't know what you are playing at, woman, but whatever it is stops now. Leave me and my family alone. That is all I want. I don't want your friendsihp. Now, if you'll excuse me..." It's so easy to think in hindsight, but I would just never have the nerve to say it!!  :(


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