Sunday, October 9, 2011


We live in a fairly rural area. We have 400 acres of farmland across the street and one neighbor on each side. The neighbor to our right lives elsewhere and comes home mainly to cut the grass and plow the driveway if needed.

The neighbors to our left are now great friends and we feel blessed to have them, especially since their kids love to visit!

But all neighbors aren't great. When we were first married, we lived in a 3-room, l-bath apartment in a large city. Next door we had a guy who was loud, possibly an alcoholic, and occasionally seemed abusive to his wife and neglectful toward his infant son. Since then, we've had better neighbors--some of them still friends though far away.

I wonder about the women at the shelter. Did they feel blessed to have good neighbors, ones who will help when needed, share life's ups and downs, and not add stress or discomfort to your life?

We didn't call the police about our first neighbors or child protective services, either. I guess that made us bad neighbors. We felt uneasy around them, said hello if we saw them, made no attempt to socialize.

Domestic violence can be too quiet for neighbors to hear, although emotional battering such as constant criticizing, threats, manipulation and degrading talk can hurt a victim more than physical violence. Neighbors might not know what's going on. But if DV is physical, it is usually loud. It's hard not to hear the shouting, threats, thumps against the wall, sudden silences.

What would you do?
What is being a good neighbor in this case?

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