Clueless roommates

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
So I've seen this around here recently and now it's hit home with me too. (thanks @Chris-duck for the idea of a thead!)

Long story short - sis and nephew moved in with us last year. It's been going ok, but I'm just entering my three month long hellscape of an anniversary season and they just don't get it. To be fair - sis is under some major stress of her own, single mom, illness, no money, blah blah so I'm trying to cut her some slack.

Two weeks ago I told her that this next few months are going to be ugly and that I wanted her to know that I would probably spiral into bitch woman from hell here and there. Then I promptly blew up at her 2 days later. I apologized, she said it was ok, then stopped speaking to me. Trigger all the "stupid me why do I trust her, what was I thinking by telling her anything, how could she understand, of course she won't speak to me" blah blah blah.

We generally get along - but this year I am spiraling way earlier than I usually do which is scaring the crap out of me, my coping skills haven't caught up and I have ZERO idea how to get it thru to her. Plus I think that the combo of dealing with her drama and all my upcoming nonsense is going to be really, really ugly. I know myself well enough to know that if it gets bad enough I'll tell her to get out - which really isn't an option for her. So that means my go to of ghosting will kick in. And yep, I can ghost on someone I live with ( just ask my hubby! LOL)

Talking to her right now isn't an option either because, well, I'm in the middle of a crazy making week long anniversary, she's pissy and there is no way it will go well.

So here's the question
For sufferers --- when your roommates - that you like -- are making you crazed what do you do? Other than hide in the bedroom and totally avoid them?
For supporters -- how do I make her hear me?

Whew.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
Two weeks ago I told her that this next few months are going to be ugly and that I wanted her to know that I would probably spiral into bitch woman from hell here and there. Then I promptly blew up at her 2 days later. I apologized, she said it was ok, then stopped speaking to me. Trigger all the "stupid me why do I trust her, what was I thinking by telling her anything, how could she understand, of course she won't speak to me" blah blah blah
Did she stop speaking to you? Or give you some space? Or take some time for herself cos she was still annoyed but understood that it wasn't fully on you? Cos it sounds like a lot of filling in the gaps there, and I think the only way to really know would be to ask, but honestly, maybe you both just need a wee bit of space right now.
if it gets bad enough I'll tell her to get out - which really isn't an option for her
Okay, so worst case scenario, you can no longer live together.. What's the plan? Cos there's always a plan B, not saying it has to be one you'll think you'll utilise, but knowing one exists, might stop you feeling like you're trapped under one roof with her. Cos ultimately, she's not your responsibility.
when your roommates - that you like -- are making you crazed what do you do? Other than hide in the bedroom and totally avoid them?
Hah, so I'd love to say I've always handled this well, but I have not. I mind one convo with R in the hall (we were so mad neither of us wanted each other in *our* space, hah) and she asked me if she thought it was all on her, and I answered yes (#itwasnt). But she was like what the actual f*ck, and we spoke, and we sorted it out, and honestly, communication yo. Not when you're mad, but once shit calms down, decide what *actually* annoyed you, not just the tipping point n discuss it.
how do I make her hear me?
I think you gotta hear each other here.. Things are shit for you both. If it's gonna last three months and you want to keep her living with you, you do need to compromise. You can say things are really hard, but she's not gonna get it cos things are really hard for her too. And allowances for a week or two are things people hear, but three months is a lot for someone to feel like they're walking on eggshells for.

Failing all that communication shit, having a day of actual fun (I cinema, ice skate, cabin away) has also helped ease the tension 😊
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
Okay, so worst case scenario, you can no longer live together.. What's the plan? Cos there's always a plan B, not saying it has to be one you'll think you'll utilise, but knowing one exists, might stop you feeling like you're trapped under one roof with her. Cos ultimately, she's not your responsibility.
Actually there isn't one -- we knew when she moved in that she would probably be here for the long term. It's really sad -she has a huge social circle but when her manager raised her rent $300 no one offered up a place to stay. And I do love the gal (even if I'm hating her right now!LOL)


Did she stop speaking to you? O
Ya -- I've already run this scenario. It could just be really bad timing -- hopefully when I look back it's all it was. My bigger challenge is keeping ME reigned in because I am trying to find the line between having a true reason to be pissed at her (ya..there is) and me smacking her over the head because my demons are loose over something that wasn't that big of a deal in the first place.

Failing all that communication shit, having a day of actual fun (I cinema, ice skate, cabin away) has also helped ease the tension
This is actually a brilliant idea
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
we knew when she moved in that she would probably be here for the long term
Okay. I realise that. But it is still a choice to let her stay with you n sometimes it's worthwhile realising it's a choice. Even if you don't want alternative (finding alternative accommodation for her), you do really have the option. Cos it isn't on you.
This is actually a brilliant idea
N genuinely. Random fun days out have saved many of my flatmate relationships
 

Teasel

Not Active
I was lucky to have the NHS offer a couple hours class to my ex on ptsd for 'supporters"

He wasn't a supporter really and used my mh against me, but this class actually made a huge difference in him understanding my ptsd.

Wondering if you can find any such resource in an article or youtube video or something to help her understand?
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
when your roommates - that you like -- are making you crazed what do you do?
These days, it's just me & the dogs so it's not a problem. In the past?

1) Try to arrange it so I come and go when no one else is around and spend the rest of the time I have to be in the house in my room. Know the usual schedules so I don't cross paths with anyone in the kitchen. Be really, really busy so I'm not at the house. Even if "busy" is sitting in a cafe drinking coffee.

2) Say, "Hey, I'm going to be gone for a few days, see ya when I get back." and then go live in my vehicle for a while.

3) Find an excuse to move, preferably a long ways away.

I never said I'd found GOOD ways to deal with that situation.....

Trying to think of a more functional approach...... What actually WOULD help make the situation work better, from your point of view? Specifically. Because I can see where, "Heads up, I might be a bit grumpy for the next month" isn't giving her much she can DO, even if she wants to. What do you need from her?

How does your husband get along with her? If they get along well, maybe they should talk about things between themselves too. After all, he's got experience and you guys are still together so SOMETHING must be working.

I wouldn't spend much effort trying to get her to understand what you're dealing with. I've had a few recent conversations with my T about that sort of thing. He says, typically, "normal" people really can't understand because you kind of have to..... IDK, you kind of have to have experiences most people don't have. (And it's a GOOD thing most people don't have them!) Focus on what it would take to make things work would be my thought.
 

siniang

MyPTSD Pro
Not always an option and especially these days with the pandemic (and me being stuck on a rock in the middle of the ocean), but for me, physical distance always has been extremely helpful. As in ... travel. Not just for a day or a couple days, but actually physically be gone for weeks. But even a few days have proven to be helpful in the past. And I know you've done that too plenty, @Freida, so I wonder if it's worth start making plans for *you* to get out there if things start going south. Arrange places/friends you could stay with. Tentatively look up routes, plane tickets, ... kinda do make that emergency backup plan and know you have it should you need it.

I resort to ghosting, too, even with people I live with, but I find it can actually backfire because my roommate tends to think that after a day of radio silence things surely are back to normal, right? And if I continue ghosting, he himself will get upset and there is a high risk of things spiraling even further.

Edit: I've stopped trying to get people in my life to understand. They won't. It's (mental) energy I can spend better, differently.
 

DharmaGirl

MyPTSD Pro
Two weeks ago I told her that this next few months are going to be ugly and that I wanted her to know that I would probably spiral into bitch woman from hell here and there. Then I promptly blew up at her 2 days later. I apologized, she said it was ok, then stopped speaking to me.
If she said this to you, how would you react when she blew up at you? I don't know if I could handle someone blowing up at me even if they had PTSD. Is there any way you can control your outbursts? I know I won't be popular, but understanding the reason why does not help the emotional response someone gets when being blown up at. My therapist told me that when I recognized that I was starting to spiral, that's when I had to use my tools. Not that I'm anywhere near perfect, but it really, really helped. I don't know if she's not hearing you or just upset that you treated her badly.

The way I deal with my crazy mother is to communicate a lot. I ask her to let me know if anything is annoying her before it gets out of control so we can work on it while we're calm. She is also an alcoholic so doesn't remember shit, and believes that I hide things from her and make stuff up. I find the more I talk about stuff with her when we are both calm, the less she gets out of control.
 

Friday

Moderator
My BEST, most healthy, shared-space experiences?

Personal Space + Communal Space

Anyone in communal space is fair game. And had also better be acting/treating others in that space in human-like fashion. Whilst anyone in their personal space is approached cautiously, if at all.

***

My WORST, most problematic, shared-space experiences?

People who have their personal space carved out of public/communal space. Whether it’s someone sleeping on the couch in a room everyone uses or passes through, their stuff just sort of having to be scattered about amongst everyone else’s stuff… or someone taking their private/relaxing/me time OUTSIDE of their personal space, and expecting/demanding everyone tiptoe around them.

^^^^ That sort of thing seems to work reeeeeally naturally in marriages / long term partnerships. Because 2 people can be “sharing air” / still spending time together-apart, whilst accomplishing 2 wildly different things. So there are multipurpose public/private areas in the house, in addition to the office / garage/ workshop/ studio/ whatever areas are the one person’s private domain.

^^^^ But it’s a catastrophe waiting to happen once a home becomes multi-family. Because it demands that everyone follow 1 family’s rhythms & preferences, rather than each being able to follow their own, and then come together as those rhythms allow.
 

Friday

Moderator
As a major assumption making addendum? That I could soooooo be totally wrong about???

((Because I’m guessing at least some space was carved out for them when they moved in, and maaaaaaybe even some for you -even though most hosts forget that part- but everything is still sorta friction/grating, as the house itself is more in guest-mode than multi-family mode? And tempers are fraying under that pressure of roles that aren’t quite accurate/suited.))

If you HAVENT cleared any rooms down to the carpet & drywall? It’s time to. Give them “their” space to do with as they please, and create some NEW or (“new” 😉) space for YOU. It’s a paint, hang photos, bring in furnishings, total freedom for the people whose space that is to make it their own. Whether it’s you or them. Because there is a huge difference between a space you’re allowed to occupy, and a space that’s your own. Even if everyhing that was taken out just goes right back in. And that goes for you, too. Having your own PTSD BITCH QUEEN FROM HELL 😈 space where you don’t have to be on good behavior, because someone has to come INTO that space to get lit on fire? (Ahhh. So relaxing.) Means you only have to suck it up and be on good behavior when you decide to go into communal space.

It’s the opposite of “good fences make good neighbors” (which is a satirical thing about building walls making people closer, but used without satire more often than not, because crappy fences make pissed off neighbors!) By delineating public/private space? It takes a helluva lot of pressure off. Even if private is just half a rack and a footlocker? It’s YOURS. But if you put that in the chow hall, or the flight line, instead of the squad bay? Ensue looks that could melt steel as people go about their business, and just generally being pissed off. One of the reasons why people in trouble have to go bivvy in public space. It’s punishment. (Although for several months I got in trouble that way on purpose, because the gunny thought women in “his” barracks were f*ck puppets, and the public space was relaxing/protective, instead of eye crossing).

^^^ Which I’m mentioning becuase how the house is set up when you’re not in anniversary hell? May work. (And I’m totally wrong in my assumptions). Or may need adjustments. Based on changing needs when you’re dealing with anniversary stuff.

***
Oh, and no shit it’s started early, this year.

Invited or not, other people have invaded your territory. That’s one of those instinctual things that always always always (and I’d argue against a cognitive distortion there, rather than just f*cking predictable as water is wet) gets snarly and bared teeth. Internally, if not externally, and often both. Even if my guess about public/private space is dead wrong, and all y’all have your own spaces, plus gathering places? It’s change. And it’s territorial. And it’s protective. And it’s instinct. Which PTSD f*cks with for no damn idea why but it does. Even turning those instincts to your advantage, is still stress and change, which still means getting f*cked with by PTSD. Stupid damn thing. MINE is one of those most basic emotions… and PTSD wreaks havoc with that. Refusing the connection, bridling under it, hellishly enforcing it, whatever, and all of the above. I don’t know anyone with combat experience who doesn’t have a highly developed sense of “MINE”. Nor anyone with PTSD who is reasonable about MINE when their back is up.
 
Last edited:

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
wonder if it's worth start making plans for *you* to get out there if things start going south. Arrange places/friends you could stay with. Tentatively look up routes, plane tickets, ... kinda do make that emergency backup plan and know you have it should you need it.
oh ya - already booked! One for January, one for feb, maybe adding one to december 😊
someone blowing up at me even if they had PTSD. Is there any way you can control your outbursts? I know I won't be popular, but understanding the reason why does not help the emotional response someone gets when being blown up at.
I try.
but - sometimes it gets away from me....
total freedom for the people whose space that is to make it their own.
yep --- we did a bunch of conversations before we decided it would work, and cleared out rooms for them. Until recently it's been working really well because we all have places to retreat to
Having your own PTSD BITCH QUEEN FROM HELL 😈 space where you don’t have to be on good behavior, because someone has to come INTO that space to get lit on fire? (Ahhh. So relaxing.) Means you only have to suck it up and be on good behavior when you decide to go into communal space.
Yep!!! if I didn't I would have killed someone by now 😁
Nor anyone with PTSD who is reasonable about MINE when their back is up.
I think this is the biggie -- hubby already has to deal with me and my ptsd and ALL MINE, and now he has to deal with other people in the house too. I think he knew before I did that it was triggering me (@LuckiLee stop rolling your eyes! LOL) and that added to the pressure he was having with them living with us. So now we have animosity central and that just keeps triggering me (feel like I'm back in the dorms somedays!)
 
Top