Trapped, Bullied within our own Home (Apartment living)

TRAPPED and BULLIED IN OUR OWN HOME -- #AutismAwareness #AutismAcceptance

I don’t know where to begin... Just needing someone to hear... You just don’t know what personal struggles someone could be dealing with. That person’s life story..what they have dealt with or are dealing with every day. You don’t know how your actions may impact them… The smallest kindness to a stranger may give them hope to live another day… And likewise the opposite effect… one inconsiderate action that is selfish and/or contentious could make someone lose all hope….
I don't even know where to begin… We are a family of 3 living in Spokane, WA… myself, my spouse, and our 8 year old little girl all fall on the spectrum to different degrees. My spouse with Aspergers, our daughter, Autism Spectrum Disorder on the heavier side, myself Aspergers. We live in an apartment. With a single income it is all we can really do right now. My spouse and daughter are both declared disabled, and I work as a Nurse. We are a simple, to-ourselves family. We don’t bother anyone. At this moment, I am not sure what else to do here but vent… I don’t know, perhaps someone will listen.
We live in an apartment complex, on the top story to avoid living below anyone for sound sensory sensitivities. However, our next door neighbors are awful to us! When we first moved in a year ago, I kindly made our next door neighbor aware of the conditions in the home and what were the sensory triggers for my family. She showed initially what seemed like genuine empathy towards our family, stating that she understood completely and actually ‘worked with autistic children’. This turned out to be either a lie, or she really does NOT understand ASD and what effect it can have mentally over sensory reactions you have no control over. The behaviors of these people say they do not care at all… Initially we would hear occasional louder than usual sounds from their unit, and the door would slam occasionally… but lately it has gotten very bad... On purpose.

Since about mid-December of 2019 we have been dealing with very inconsiderate and loud behaviors from them that completely steal any joy of life away. They slam the door so hard when they come or go that it makes our living room furniture jolt, knocks our artwork on the wall crooked, and at one point even caused an object leaning on the adjoined wall to fall over.
We have mentioned it to them before and were met with total denial, AFTER stating that they would be more mindful of it. In fact, any time we mention ANYTHING it only seems to get WORSE. We have spoken to management about it, and even called them out on their lies about it not being them despite video evidence, even catching one of them spitting on our door just after we spoke to management (We run a motion triggered door camera for security reasons, 1. Because our daughter is a flight risk, and 2. Because we live in the city and we do not like to open our door to just anyone. 3. We have had packages stolen). Now we deal with this on almost a daily basis. It will instantly ruin a day for us…. And with the COVID19 stay at home orders there is no option to just escape for a while due to many areas being shut down or closed. Plus, that constant running wears heavily on us in many ways. However, we should not feel like we are being pushed out of our own home just to find any sort of peace! Our home is supposed to BE where we feel relaxed and safe. But every day is spent in anxiety because we never know when it is going to happen.

Just last night, they slammed their door so hard it rattled everything (3-4x) and woke up our sleeping daughter, and totally ruined our evening by the emotional stress ir created. It sent my spouse into a deep state of depression… All I could do was hold them while they cried feeling absolutely hopeless. Our 8-year-old recently began speaking of “wanting to kill herself” - “I wish I would just die already” and “I’m a terrible person” because of her condition…. THAT absolutely broke our hearts….. SHE’S EIGHT WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS!! Even my spouse has spoken of suicide…but tries every day to remain positive. I don’t know what else to do…. I feel like a failure at times because I wish I could provide a real house with a yard for my family. I am grateful to have what we do have. We are fortunate and blessed, but this won't stop. We even spent $800 on a few noise canceling headphones AND WE STILL HEAR AND FEEL IT….. We wear them all day until our ears and head hurt… Our daughter cannot tolerate wearing hers for long at all. But we should not have to do that just to find any short moment of peace… It steals away even personal time with each other as we don’t speak much anymore... When we do dare to take them off for a short time to talk, we then hear all the booms and thuds within their unit, and let me stress that this is NOT casual living noises associated with apartments. We never have issues with any of the other bordering neighbors. In fact, both bordering neighbors below us and them have recently moved out. We hesitate to even say anything to management any longer because nothing changes, it only gets worse as they (neighbors) retaliate. We also fear that we may begin to be seen as a burden by mentioning it over and over again to management.

Why do people have to be so hateful-selfish, inconsiderate and resentful? All we want is the same as any other family, peace and to live as happy as we can.

After last night's episode, my spouse ended up having a crash and fell asleep from the effect the stress and depression has. I sat down to begin typing this, in the hopes that perhaps someone cares…. Our daughter had a full blown meltdown, She was sitting on the kitchen floor, hugging her knees to her chest and screaming out crying… rocking…. Without knowing how to convey what she is feeling, her actions display depression, loneliness, anxiety... and after attempting for a long while to console and redirect her in a positive direction, and failing I had my own melt down and just laid on my bed and cried until my eyes hurt and no more tears would come… we cannot keep living like this. We deserve to have the same respect we give freely. We have never retaliated or been ugly to them… yet they continue. Thank you for listening/reading. I know you don’t know me from Adam, but someone has to care… I mean… right? Is there not still love and compassion in this world? Do others not care that their actions affect those around them in such negative ways? Do they just not care that their actions cause an 8 year old little girl to feel scared and hopeless? She sees how upset it makes her parents, even though for her sake we try to keep a smile and positive attitude for her behalf. We always tell her to be kind to others even when they are not kind to you in return… we tell her it is alright… we lie and tell her we are okay…. We offer her the comfort we cannot manage to find ourselves. We take all the slings and arrows… but unfortunately, with her condition, she takes just as many. She doesn’t understand it. Despite her condition, she is the kindest and sweetest child… no matter how others treat her. She will cry and tell us that someone was mean to her, but if that same person were to hurt themselves or be sad, she is the first to run to their aid to see if they are okay. Yet… she still deals with this. She will come to us and tell us that the noise from the neighbors is starting to upset her… and unfortunately we have to tell her we are sorry, we hear it too but there is nothing we can do to stop it. We feel like absolute failures… Parents are supposed to be able to protect their children… but how do we protect her from this? How do you tell your child that there is nothing you can do to help them and basically you have to learn to live with it and deal with it… and not shatter inside when you see the way it affects her… the way it affects the family…

  • Triste et Brisé. So sorry to hear your neighbors are being so unreasonable and petty. It's just awful of them to upset your family on purpose. You said you aren't able to move to a house, but could you move to another apartment? Does  either your daughter or your husband have a county caseworker who could intervene on your family's behalf? Alternatively, is your landlord able/willing to add noise proofing to either your apartment or that of your neighbors?

    I hope you find a solution that works for you.

  • Beryllium Fall
    Unfortunately this apartment got the best reviews in the area for our price range. Other properties in the area had horrid reviews about noise and poor management intervention. We have notified management here several times. We are currently in the process of getting our daughter into see a psychiatrist. We are not very good at reaching out but something has got to give. Our daughter has resorted to self harming and ended up busting blood vessels in her left eye by balling up her fists and pressing into them and hitting herself. It looks awful. She has a canker sore behind her upper lip and she has never had such things but her father gets them under stress so we can draw a few conclusions about that. 

  • Can you report them to the police and make a  (noise) complaint? I really think a caseworker should be informed. Your housing situation has become a hostile environment and it is negatively impacting every member of your family. Is there a family homeless shelter with space for you guys? That would maybe be better. Can you leave and go spend a couple weeks with family or friends or run away to the mountains or the beach? You seem to feel that there is nothing you can do, but there is probably something. If complaining to management isn't helping complain to others who are local until something is done! Is there a group of "disability rights " lawyers or legal aid in your area, look it up and try it, it might help!