Andrea Askowitz

Author & Teacher

No. 44: Gaslighting is the New How Are You

I was gaslighted by my neighbor. She hasn’t always been the most pleasant neighbor. In the nine years we’ve lived next-door, she’s called Coral Gables Code Enforcement on us three times. The first time, I put a Huggies box on the garbage pile too early. We had just moved in and I didn’t know trash could only appear on your trash pile after 5 p.m. on Mondays. After paying the $500 fine, I ran over and asked her to please talk to us before ratting us out. But she called again when she spotted a broken shingle on our roof, and then again when I put a political yard sign too close to the street.

I thought she was friends with Code Enforcement, but the last time the officer came out, he gave us a warning and seemed as annoyed with her complaints as I was.

The good news is, my neighbor has moved. Her house is now for sale and last week there was an open house. My wife, Vicky, and I wandered in because we wanted to see the inside. We told the realtor we lived next-door. “Just looking.”

And then, seconds later, in the narrow hall between the kitchen and the garage we stood face-to-face with our neighbor. It was a scene out of the movie Heathers. My neighbor glared at us. When I looked at her concerned, she smiled a smile so fake I almost laughed. Then she went back to glaring. I said I wanted to see the upstairs and she said, “I’d rather you not.” (READ FULL ESSAY HERE.)