I am going to add my 2 cents here --- PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE stop wasting your time on people who do not give a $%#@ about you. I understand, really! My husband helped a family out by providing work over 1 winter with less for us, also installed flooring in their home ($400-500 worth in free labor), helped with their driveway.....and they would not help us at all with NFH, they looked the other way every time, they knew it was going on, saw it....nothing!!! We no longer communicate with them and since they moved, well, I am NOT heartbroken. As others said, keep it on the surface if you have to keep the lines of communication open.
Also, I know this is really hard, believe me, I would have slapped someone for telling me this but once I understood the concept, it really helped my husband and I to cope a little bit better, not a lot but enough to keep us focused on selling our house soonish. Here goes:
1) EMOTIONALLY DETACH YOURSELF FROM THE NFH (every time you think about them, STOP yourself and switch to something positive or a good memory, whatever...anything to help...you may have to do this over and over and over and over until it sinks in (I am so stubborn it took me over 3 years to get this concept)
Think about them ONLY when having to deal with them. As others have stated, treat it like a business.
2) BE PROACTIVE ---- NOT REACTIVE!!! Fireworks, dog barking, etc. ~~ wear ear plugs, turn on a fan on high or A/c with fan on high (we have been doing this for over a year and an half now) AND TUNE THESE #$@% LOW LIFE'S OUT OF YOUR HEAD!!!! They get off on you responding and you bet the previous SOB told his new renter to harass you (fireworks, etc.) because it gets a rise out of you. Take many, many deep breathes......white noise (others have stated this on the board).
3) NO ONE and I mean NO ONE understands what you are going through (friends/family) than this board of fellow sufferers. Someone commented to me the other day that my troubles with the NFH must have disappeared. I laughed and said, 'hardly!' We no longer talk about the NFH to others, no one understands. I got tired of people asking what was I doing???? huh???? Or the advice to ignore them, they will go away. That one is laughable, tragic but laughable!
4) I would agree somewhat with the cop who suggested for you not to watch all those shows like Stalking, etc. I do not think you should stop watching altogether per se, I would limit them. Instead, in my humble opinion, please focus on positive topics or shows or instruction. Take body defense lessons, or gun safety lessons, watch good t.v/movies that promote laughter or a good feeling, etc. Be proactive and build your self-esteem so you can cope a little better.
5) Perspective on NFH. Nothing will change, the harassment will be there, sometimes worse then others, but accept until one moves or they move or die, realize that the only thing you have control over is you! So listen to good mood music (if you are into opera music, rock, etc.) focus on the good that you have built up in your life over the years. Volunteer somewhere. Research to understand how to handle your situation better. Wiki has some great topics to browse through, I have been reading some myself, like: how to not absorb others' negative attitude/behavior. And quite a few others. Do internet research to build up your self-esteem.
6) Get out more, if possible. Go to art galleries and laugh at some of the artwork on display. Go to museums or the park or walk on the beach...wherever you will find happiness.
7) DO NOT TAKE ON THEIR PROBLEM, this harassment is their problem, not yours! I know it is aimed at you (as it is aimed at all of us on this board dealing with a NFH). This is NEVER about you! It is all on them. They are whacked in their head and anyone behaving like this is off their rocker!
8~ Put up cameras (be it trail cameras, bird watching type of cameras or a camera system with a DVR). Make sure your state allows audio, some states do not! And personally if I had to install our cameras around our home, I would hide them. Research like mad to find what works best in your situation. Some on this board have to live by HOA rules, so find cameras that are tiny but work well with your situation. One can hide them behind flowers or bushes or decorative ornaments hanging on your door or in a window, etc.
9) Stand tall while outside, fake it if you have to...smile or laugh at something. We use to find dog poop in our yard, we would shrug it off, there was no way knowing who was doing this...the little stupid petty things, try and brush them off. I know it makes one mad/livid having to endure this crap! Keep your courage and strength for those big moments when dealing with the bigger stuff these NFH do.
10) These NFH are so pathetic. Their behavior alone is something strange out of this world!! Remind yourself how thankful you are NOT like them. I find when I am grateful that I am NOT like them, I seem to feel better. Take time to feel grateful and remind yourself of your accomplishments in life! I use to wig out and get mad (I have a temper) but realized I was wasting precious energy. I started focusing it on how to cope better in this situation, researched online to learn about life skills I was lacking, etc.
11) Alternate your schedule, do not arrive or leave at the same time every day, if possible. I water our lawn but have to change up the time when watering the lawn. If I am spotted, and I frequently am, some goober will drive by or walk by starring at me (not too long ago, some beefy guy was walking a small dog, I have never seen this guy before in the neighborhood and it was a 5:03 am when he walked by and I was watching him and he was starring at our house and the dog almost tripped him up several times).
It is so challenging and the battle to keep fighting wears one down...remember these people are emotional vampires, sociopaths and they will keep harassing what seems like 24/7 and strength coming from who knows where...but you know what? They can stick it where the sun don't shine!!!