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How to deal with a Paranoid Schizophrenic Neighbor?

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Hello all. Please hear me out before saying I'm not being compassionate or understanding of my neighbor. I have suffered from OCD for decades and I understand that my neighbors battle with Paranoid Schizophrenia is not his fault. I AM very sad for him, because he's obviously suffering greatly, but I've become a virtual prisoner in my apartment because of my neighbors illness.

When he first moved in, things were fine. He was rather scattered and a bit inconsiderate (being noisy, using the laundry facilities constantly on days that were not his) but not a real problem. However, things have gotten worse and worse.

It started with him having VERY loud conversations with people who were not there, and loud screaming matches with visiting family members. Then he began smashing things in the middle of the night, leaving debris all over the complex (not just in his area) and basically launching at me in angry tirades anytime we passed each other.

Before this, I had called him about the laundry situation. I had been unable to wash clothes for nearly a week because he was constantly using the machines, and leaving his clothes in them when not in use, so other people couldn't use them. I didn't know he was ill at the time, so I called him, asking (nicely) if he could please remove his items as I desperately needed to use them. As the days wore on my calls (which he never answered - his phone was never turned on) I became more and more agitated, as I don't have transportation to go to a laundromat (or the money for it, for that matter) and had an important event coming up. He never answered or responded. He often leaves wet laundry in the dryer for days, creating a horrible smell.

He then started accusing me of having accessed his apartment and moved his belongings. He then said I had been playing pranks on him. He had said previously that his last landlord had been stalking and spying on him, and I think he know believes I'm doing that as well.

He gets angry anytime any other tenant objects to his noise making or leaving his belongings in common areas, as if he believes he's in charge and can do as he pleases. Thing is, he's stopped doing this to our other neighbor and continues to target me, preventing me from using the laundry, leaving debris in front of my door, and even trying to access my part of the property when he thought I wasn't home.

The other night he had a really horrible episode, throwing things, screaming obscenities and threats at the top of his lungs. When I started hearing glass breaking I called police, worried he would harm himself or someone else. The police came but did nothing. They say he has the right to live as he pleases. Even if that interferes with my right to live peacefully?

The landlord went to talk to him and saw that he had severely damaged the apartment. He was asked to leave in 30 days, which he agreed to. He's now trying to get out of having to leave, but the landlord is sick of the drama and how he's terrorizing the other tenants. He's making no effort to pack up or to find a new place. He has family in the area but they don't seem willing to help. He told the landlord that I had been breaking into his place, and said that *I* have been causing noise in order to "drive him crazy and control him."

All I know is that he has threatened me on several occasions, and seems to blame me for everything wrong in his life. All because I asked to use the washing machine MONTHS ago. He's targeting me. It doesn't do my OCD any favors either! He refuses any form of treatment.

What I need to know is how to deal with him in the meantime? I'm convinced that he won't go quietly at the end of 30 days, and he blames me for his having to move. Everytime I see him (despite all efforts to avoid him) I can see his resentment of me is building. I'm afraid he may direct violence towards me or destroy my property or hurt my animals. He has threatened to do just that. The police will do NOTHING!

Can anyone who is dealing with schizophrenia, or is caring for a loved one with this terrible disorder please advise? I'm scared to leave my home, I even tiptoe out when I have to go to work! Why has he targeted ME as an enemy? I'm not a small person and I can defend myself, but no one can stop someone who goes into a rage! What have I done wrong? I've always been so nice and helpful to him, even helped him move in! Why is he always attacking me? What can I do to deal with this?

I'm so tired from being woken by his rages and from the stress of having to act like a prisoner in my own home. Please, someone advise!

Thank you so much for reading this VERY long post!
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replied September 20th, 2010
Hi,
I can appreciate how concerned you are, both for yourself and your pets, and also for this poorly neighbour. Unfortunately, the illness causes some very unpleasant thoughts, and occasionally, actions, though it is rare. It might be helpful to you both, if you could regain some of the previous confidence that you had, so he doesn't detect anything from your manner or speech, which he could see as problematic. At first, you got on well with this neighbour, and he treated you fairly. He must have felt confident in your friendship at that time, mainly because you felt comfortable in his presence. If you could try to portray yourself as a confident & in-control person, he may feel less agitated by your underlying fear of him. If you meet any of his menacing ways, with a relaxed & confident manner, he won't feel so threatened. I hope this is making some kind of sense to you. I would suspect that his anxiety is made worse, because you aren't so friendly towards him now, as you were at first. His heightened sensitivity towards other people's body-language gets mixed-up in his mind, and is seen as threatening to him. He will react towards you in a threatening way, because his mind is confused and picking-up mixed signals. If you can be VERY calm, and controlled, speak firmly and clearly, he should become more approachable & amiable. Don't give off any signs of fear of anxiety, because he will pick that up, and his mind will play tricks on him. You will also need to look directly at him, even if he cannot look directly at you. He must be convinced that you do not pose any threat to him. I would imagine he is finding it increasingly difficult to manage his life, and is probably reluctant to seek help. The outbursts of violence in his property are probably due to his frustration with himself, not at anyone else. Unfortunately, the situation in the laundry will have to be handled delicately, and maybe if you spoke calmly and considerately towards him, and asked if you could place his laundry in a bag, etc., he might find that acceptable. If he does still continue to act in this delusional way, then it is really up to your Landlord to deal with him, so you should make any complaints to the Landlord, not this person who is obviously very ill indeed and won't cope well from complaints. You do need to be very assertive, and prove you are not a threat and will not tolerate his threats towards you. Keep firm, Calm & in Control. Rise above his threatening behaviours, and see him as a very ill person, who probably desperately needs a true & trusty friend. Good Luck. Hope this helps.
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replied August 21st, 2011
Dealing with paranoid neighbors:
Actually, Having a paranoid neighbor myself and suffered their torments and attacks, you need to look out for yourself.
The laundry: Simply tell him that some very official looking people, whom you don't recognize, came into look through his laundry and took photographs of it CSI style. If he is paranoid, There will never be any cloths left behind ever again. Portray it as though you are looking out for him and are trying to protect him by warning him and that UPS truck that occasionally passes buy is really a surveillance van and you have a high respect for him and felt that he had a right to know. He will change his attitude towards you for now and not stick his nose outside his cave again.

I know this sounds cold and unsympathetic, However, I have been put in the position to protect my wife and 2 year old from the threats and harassment of our wacko-job neighbor. So sympathy takes a back seat to family safety.

Hope this helps.
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replied September 30th, 2010
Most schizophrenics are not violent unless there are drugs involved. Hopefully he is not doing drugs. Please don’t say anything else to him, when you see him smile and wave hello. Tell your landlord the problems that you are having. It’s their responsibility to keep you safe.
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replied October 5th, 2010
Experienced User
This is a tough one - I have been in the position of the paranoid schizophrenic and I am of the opinion that it's only probably a matter of weeks before he will get sectioned (compulsary admitance to hospital). However, I am worried if he goes on getting in rages then his illness may not be treatable. I was virtually admitted as an emergency patient into hospital, with only having seen a psciatrist about 3 weeks, once a week before being admitted.

I was really stubborn and hated it when my relatives pretended we were going on a shopping trip and then took me to see the shrink when we got into town. One time I refused to get out of the car because I was afriad that the pschiatrist's mental centre was almost a house of fun and i wouldn't come out of there alive. I was having all sorts of hallucinations thinking doctors were out to get me.

People around me were worried about me and they tried to discuss their worried concerns for me with me but I did not want to listen. I was very afriad of people. And I only realised afterwards when I gradually got better in a matter of 6 weeks of being in hospital, that my brain was crying out for medication and that I should have seen a pschaitrist years before and been on medication. That way I may have avoided having to go into hospital.

However, it sounds like your neighbour needs immediate treatment. In the UK a concerned relative, or even neighbour can call up social services, they may send round a social worker if someone's behaviour has got out of control and get the person sectioned (legal admittance to hospital - you are LEGALLY bounded to stay in hospital you have no choice basically). It was a matter of taking the medication in hospital and being monitored. In the Uk they even have the right to push you onto a bed and inject you with whatever they want to - if your behaviour requires it.

I wish you good luck, but if I'm honest - sometimes a fresh start for both of you may be helpful, different environment, different people. I wouldn't keep interfeering obviously he has ideas in his head and you don't want to make things worse and make him scared of people (doctors and medics too). You need to contact social services and seek outside advice. These people are qualificed to deal with emergencies and give the correct medication, often tranquillisers which is what it sounds like he needs.
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replied October 5th, 2010
I'll tell you the answer to the question you're rapping;
and the answer you wont like at your heart always tapping.

Your neighbor's not crazy, he is completely true;
for it is you, OCD, that asks the question "what should i do?"

Stop worrying so much and start being a person;
Your neighbor isn't crazy - he could never do arson.

Don't worry, this isn't something meant to scare you;
This is just a message to help guide you.

Guide you to truth, meaning, help, validity;
here to help you toward your true identity.

So talk to your neighbor, take the extra mile;
You might be surprised at his true, heart smile.
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replied October 29th, 2010
I have a strange neighbor myself whom I believe is para-noid shizophrenic. I have been dealing with this woman for 10 years. It is very aggravating to live my life in fear. I can't even go outside or drive down the street to come home without her looking at me as if I don't live here. She always feel as if she is the victim of any little mishap. She always start arguments. I never argue back. Yet I feel she believes that she sees that as a sign of weakness. She has a fit if the wind blows alittle leaves on the curb and blames me. She gets mad if the garbage man leaves my trash can in front her area ( a few inches from the property line) and will throw my can back or kick it back on my side. She is very controlling. She has called the police numerous times and said the neighborhood kids were in her yard and was only in the cul-de-sac. (We both live in) It's so much more. But I must get ready for work. Eventually, my family and I are going to move. Hopefully in two years. She's not going anywhere. She's 52 and lives with her boyfriend of 30 years. He's afraid of her. She gotten battery acid (twice) and have poured it on his trucks. Uses my address for her mail. Even when it comes to delivering appliances, pizza deliveries, her past job having warrants to be signed. (That means having the police come to my home anytime during the night looking for her to sign warrants at my address instead of hers.)She went to college ot of town, yet she wanted me to know she was going to school, so she use my address to send her Teacher magazines subscription to my home. She constantly talk to anyone that will listen to her about me and try to make me look bad and that she's the victim. I don't know what to do. Like I said it's too much to write right now. But I'm seeking advice too.
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replied October 6th, 2011
Paranoid neighbor
Long ago I had a neighbor who forwarded her mail to me when she was out of town. She did this without asking. The first time I returned the mail she accused me of stealing some of the mail ad she was going to report me.

So to resolve the problem, I put "Not at this address return to sender" in big letters on the mail and back they went the next time she pulled that stunt.
That put an end to that. That is what I reccomend you do with her mail.(return to sender)

Put a sign on the mailbox & door stating "Name of person" Dose not live here.

If she is paranoid: Put a fake security camera pointing at her house somewhere in your yard and see how she reacts.If it keeps her indoors then you have a new lawn decoration.
I feel sorry for the 30 year old boyfriend, But he is not your problem. If she calls the police enough they will start ignoring her. That is what is happening with my Wacko job neighbor. She Went to the police 10 times in 6 days trying to come up with things to get on me. The police sent her home every time. I did not know this was happening until the police later informed me. It's a small town so anyone in the police department rolls their eyes when they hear her name mentioned. If the police ask if your kids are getting in her yard and they are not. Ask her to prove it. Got photos? Video? What can she do besides be annoying?
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replied October 6th, 2011
Active User, very eHealthy
We get it, some schizophrenics are awful neighbours.

But so are you.

I don't think that most of you even understand that.

Not really a whole lot of good neighbours around are there? Look around, try looking at your other neihbours for a change, or perhaps yourselves.
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replied October 7th, 2011
My issues are not with schizophrenics, but, with paranoid people who mount their petty attacks and harassment on their neighbors because of some delusion in their head.

I used to have an idealistic views of tolerance and forgiveness exc....exc.... then, reality happened.

So there are some effective techniques -stated before- of using a paranoids own imagination against them to get them to leave you alone.

they are not nice but they are very effective
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replied October 9th, 2011
Active User, very eHealthy
That just wouldn't work though. You would just freak them out or scare them and agitate them further.

The best thing to do is just get the authorities involved and have them tell the offender that they need to stop or that there will be consequences, possibly a fine for harrassment.

Not try and manipulate them into things. Have you ever been manipulated? It doesn't feel good. And almost always causes more problems. And certain things always happen to people that do things like that.

Just keep it straight forward.

Tolerance was always a dumb idea, why tolerate something that is negative, especially your own negativity. I would happen to agree with forgiveness, but thats not to say that any situation wouldn't need to be corrected, there is a good way to forgive and a bad way, the delusional forgiveness method tends to be "just letting it go", of course after several migraines and nosebleeds one would realize that this isn't a good idea.
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replied October 9th, 2011
Active User, very eHealthy
I wouldn't however disagree with security cameras though, real or fake. Those are good for alot of reasons and everyone should get them if they can.
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replied October 9th, 2011
Active User, very eHealthy
Not to mention that your methods are a bit risky as well.
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