How to manage intense avoidance of people in shared housing?

ruborcoraxxx

Sponsor
Hello. I’m currently living in a shared household where life is rather communal and shared. It was hard but feasible before a roommate left and was replaced by another one.

The thing is, mornings are my most difficult moments and I’d like to have a routine that doesn’t imply to see others right off the bed because I need to adjust my head and wind down the stress before being able to appear in front of anybody. I’m considering buying a coffee machine just for myself so at least I have coffee in the morning if needed.

But in general it’s complicated for me to be in presence of others that I perceive as threats even if honestly, it doesn’t make any sense. I transform awkward interactions into a casus belli and it’s not good.

I always struggled to "arrange myself" before being able to go anywhere. If I cross with a roommate in the corridor at that point it’s likely that I brutally "switch" to autopilot and it becomes very difficult to do a normal interaction. And I’m more and more paranoid as I can sense others don’t see that as normal. It’s taking a toll on me, it’s taking a toll on the atmosphere of the house and it creates a vicious circle.

I can’t afford living in a place just by myself and honestly the space I have here is exceptional, so moving isn’t really an option by now.

I just would like to know if any of you have some insight in shared housing and how you manage isolating phases in these situations.

Thank you xx
 

joeylittle

Administrator
I just would like to know if any of you have some insight in shared housing and how you manage isolating phases in these situations.
I once found it very useful to adopt the habit of wearing earphones as I went about my morning/evening routine. Sometimes they were playing music that I was actually listening to, but sometimes? Not playing anything at all. Just a way of creating a 'bubble' around myself that sent a signal of 'I'm engaged with something, not looking for conversation'.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I used to just keep it to simple, civil conversation. "Morning, alright"? You don't have to be the queen of conversation. Just stay in your own headspace and keep it simple. I hate feeling the pressure of having to speak to certain people when I've got nothing to say to them! 😬
 
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Sideways

Moderator
I’m considering buying a coffee machine just for myself so at least I have coffee in the morning if needed.
I really like this idea, because it tends more towards self-care rather than leaning into avoidance.

Making a coffee, and going back to bed to enjoy it, perhaps? Before taking on the day. Sets you up for creating a healthy boundary around "me time", and giving you that crucial self compassion in the morning, without actually fuelling any avoidance of, or friction with, your roomies.
 

fern

Confident
I can hard relate to this. I've lived communally while experiencing paranoia and strong social anxiety as well. The coffee machine sounds good, and it would be something that is just yours. When you're sharing so much in your home, that sense of personal space can be weird, so it's important to have things just for you.

I second the earbud/headphones idea. It send the message that you are doing your own thing and don't want to be social.

Also helpful is to meal prep a few meals ahead of time so that you have food already made, just ready to heat up. I hated being in the kitchen with other people, especially because my kitchen spaces were smaller. Being able to heat up the food quick and take it to my room for privacy was really helpful .

Not sure you're able to do this, but could you rearrange furniture or bring in your own to make a more private feeling area in the home? One apartment I was in, our living room was very open. I got a couch for free (not a great couch, but still.) and arranged it in a way that it was almost like a room divider- the back was to the rest of the living room, and it was a little personal nook against the wall, facing a TV and windows. You could maybe get a divider or shelves, bookshelf, etc and put a one-seat chair in there for a private nook. If you're on a tight budget, freecycle is really reliable and useful. I have found quality ikea furniture on there before
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
i insulate myself with grunts and groans, then make it a point to talk to anybody who might be offended later when i am more alert. not liking to interact immediately after waking is common enough that reaching an understanding is typically not difficult.
 
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