Living in a neighborhood can be like a close-knit community—or just a collection of total strangers—depending on how you approach it.
If you don’t know your neighbors, then when issues arise it can be hard to compromise and settle things. But in places where you do know the people around you, sometimes things still go very wrong.
Redditor Madlybohemian is very protective of her fruit vines. They’re one of the only ways she has to de-stress. So when someone cut them up, the original poster (OP) was concerned to say the least.
What happened next is what took OP to the “Am I the A**hole” subReddit to find out if she reacted poorly.
“AITA for screaming at my neighbors?”
It started when OP noticed something amiss in her yard.
“I have fruit vines in my front garden. I know this can be tricky with sidewalks. I try very hard to ensure the sidewalks are clear and there are no vines in the walk way. No HOA.”
“Generally, I live in a lovely place where most of the neighbors are on speaking terms with one another.”
“This morning, I noticed someone had cut my vines. It was in an area close to the sidewalk but more was cut than necessary.”
“What I found very strange about it all was that mine was the only house assaulted. There are a few other houses which have plants and branches impeding walkways. It seems I was singled out by the mystery plant murderer.”
Considering how much time and effort she puts into her plants, she was quite upset.
“My plants are my religion. I know that sounds stupid but these vines are very important to me. I do all my own yard work.”
“I do this while holding a job, taking care of small children, and dealing with my own mental health issues. I also have CPTSD and want to live quietly.”
“I am still in therapy for my trauma, still have panic attacks and flashbacks. I’m working on it.”
“Without having caught any of the incident on camera, I had accepted the lack of answers and set to work to salvage what I could.”
But soon she learned the culprits were her elderly neighbors.
“After an hour, this couple in their early 60s who live three houses down and across the street walked by. I have spoken to them a few times, even gifted them fruit.”
“The wife and I are on good terms, husband seems standoffish but I have always been respectful to them both.”
“She asked if I was pulling up my vines. I replied no someone had cut some of it down without asking and I was doing damage control.”
“She replied that it was they who had done the chopping (her husband did it).”
“Thought they were being helpful, she claimed. He had to walk over to my house to destroy that area of vine. Did not even knock on the door.”
The admission did not sit well with OP.
“Upset, I took a breath and tried to say (not yelling) how that really hurt me and I wished they’d asked first. If there was something bothering them on my property, I’d be more than happy to fix it. All they need do is just ask!”
“While the wife and I were having the discussion, the husband interrupted and asserted he can do what he likes.”
“Starting to feel heated, I replied no. I then asked if I should go chop his lavender because I can also do as I like? He then started to talk over me and affirm his ‘rights.’”
She lost her cool.
“This is the part where I’m pretty sure I’m an a**hole. My PTSD kicked in and I saw red. I saw this cis white man telling me that he can do anything he wants to me and I lost it.”
“I started screaming at him and calling him an a**hole and a piece of sh*t.”
“Naturally, the other neighbors only heard me so now a few people think I’m a big a**hole and this couple are ‘stellar neighbors.’ I feel sick and kinda hate myself.”
“Another neighbor told me that the husband had a heart attack last week. I had no idea.”
“I feel a mixture of embarrassment, awful, and also still angry and kinda hoping he has another one which then makes me hate myself even more.”
It’s really difficult to try and talk things out rationally when the other party is being anything but.
However, does that entitle OP to yell at her neighbor?
To find out, the AITA subReddit votes based on the following verdicts:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
While yelling might seem like an overreaction to OP, many commenters felt it was an underreaction.
The neighbor coming in and cutting the vines without asking, without care, and without considering OP’s feelings is such an egregious action that yelling was the least of OP’s worries.
Redditors assured OP that she was NTA.
“Whatever medical issues he had (that you knew nothing about) does not excuse him going onto YOUR property and messing with YOUR plants. If he thought he was doing it out of kindness he would have told you at the time, expecting you to be thankful.”
“The fact that he wasn’t upfront makes me think that it was malicious.”
“You kept your cool a lot better than I would have and I’m sorry your vines were attacked, especially without discernible reason” – HeckGecko
“Even if your reply caused a scene it was justified. Your neighbor targeted your property, not anybody else’s whose plants went to the sidewalk, created a double standard and a sense of self-entitlement when you tried to take care of it rationally.”
“Him having a heart attack is no excuse for what he did, I doubt he considered your issues when chopping your plants. NTA, F your neighbor.” – DrWhoops87
“Even if it is the front yard, by cutting up your plants without your permission it is trespassing and vandalism. Also him saying he can do whatever he wants implies he may do so again. Assault. You could press criminal charges.”
“I think a little yelling is him getting off easy.”
“Unless he mentions your gender or sexuality it’s not a hate crime, but if he does…”
“At the very least he should have apologized, not doubled down on how he could do whatever he wants. Not true. Not cool.” – ih8milife
“Honestly it sounds like they did it out of spite.”
“Innocently coming up and asking if you were pulling out your vines, then only admitting they did it when they thought you knew it was them. Then doubling down asserting that it is their right to do so.”
“Do you stick out within the neighborhood? For example the only young, poor single mom in a neighborhood of semi-retired rich white folks. Could they be trying to get rid of you?”
“Don’t feel bad, and the heart attack is totally irrelevant. He wasn’t worried about it when he was exerting himself destroying your property, I don’t see why you should worry about yelling at him.”
“You could have done worse. NTA.” – saran1111
The comments really supported OP and assured her that what she did wasn’t out of line. There were so many things she would have been justified doing in retaliation that yelling should be the least of the neighbor’s worries.
OP was incredibly grateful for the reassurances.
“Edit: wow! Thank you to everyone for your input. I have been having a panic attack about this and am waiting to speak to my therapist.”
“It is still very hard for me to know when I am right because I came from a very traumatic place. Thank you for helping try to ground myself.”
OP’s reputation in the neighborhood is a little tarnished, and it may take time to explain what happened and rebuild her relationship with her neighbors.
But she just happened to snap at the wrong time, when people couldn’t see what had caused it.
Whether or nor it’s worth it to try and explain to others why she was upset is up to OP, but she shouldn’t feel ashamed for calling out her neighbor.