My house­mate is just im­pos­si­ble to live with — I can’t carry on

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - MARY O’CONOR -

I have been friends with this girl for about five or six years. We moved in to­gether a cou­ple of years ago. At first it was nice, we got on well and had a lot of fun.

A cou­ple of months in, things started to change. At first it was lit­tle things, like she would de­cide that I was an­noyed at her and get an­noyed with me. Even­tu­ally af­ter a cou­ple of days of bitchy be­hav­iour from her, we would talk about it. It would be the same con­ver­sa­tion, her telling me that I’m an­noyed with her, me telling her that I’m not and her ac­cus­ing me of ly­ing.

Each time we would get over it and carry on un­til the next time.

This has been a re­cur­ring thing ev­ery cou­ple of months, each time it’s been more and more dif­fi­cult to brush off. Ini­tially, I put this down to stress.

About a year ago, she got sick, I took time off work to bring her to hos­pi­tal and sit with her. I have com­forted her when she was up­set about be­ing sick and scared for her fu­ture.

How­ever, no mat­ter what I seem to do, it’s never enough.

She re­cently sug­gested that I should re­im­burse her for her ther­a­pist’s fees as she’s ap­par­ently had a lot of ses­sions with her ther­a­pist in which I am the sole fo­cus.

Ap­par­ently, her ther­a­pist has told her that I am a bad per­son, that I need to change my be­hav­iour and that I need to help her more through her ill­ness.

Over the last num­ber of months, it’s re­ally been get­ting me down and be­gin­ning to af­fect my health.

I don’t like be­ing in the house with her, I don’t feel com­fort­able around her and I just gen­er­ally feel very anx­ious and ner­vous of how she is go­ing to re­act to me be­ing there or if I have to ask her for money for bills or clean­ing prod­ucts.

I have re­cently taken to spend­ing most of my time in my room, which seems to re­ally an­noy her. I feel like I can’t win. When I walk into the com­mu­nal spa­ces, I will say hello but I am met with a look of dis­dain and some sort of pro­fan­ity from her.

Apart from my gen­eral dis­com­fort, she uses the kitchen and sit­ting room a lot and spends most of her time on her lap­top. I’m not go­ing to sit there look­ing at the back of her com­puter screen, do­ing noth­ing.

I’m also go­ing through a tough time my­self with fam­ily and my own health is­sues, some­thing that she is aware of but is not in­ter­ested in hear­ing about and keeps telling me aren’t im­por­tant and ac­cuses me of be­ing dra­matic.

I have sought coun­selling, al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies and ad­vice from friends to help me re­lax and deal with this sit­u­a­tion, but it’s not help­ing.

I had re­ally hoped that there might be some way to sal­vage the friend­ship and I have spent weeks rack­ing my brain to try to fig­ure out what I might have done to her to de­serve this treatment.

I am con­stantly on edge around this per­son. Part of me would love to talk to her and find out what has gone wrong but I’m not sure I have the en­ergy any more. If I do talk to her, it will end up in an ar­gu­ment with me be­ing the bad per­son, and I re­ally do not have the emo­tional re­serve to deal with ar­gu­ing with her any more.

What should I do?

AWHEN I first read this let­ter, I mis­tak­enly as­sumed that it was from a man writ­ing about his girl­friend. Now I know that you are fe­male and you are writ­ing about the dif­fi­cul­ties you are hav­ing, liv­ing in the same house as your fe­male friend. This got me think­ing that no mat­ter who we are or what our re­la­tion­ship is with our fel­low house­mates, we ought to treat them with re­spect and we ex­pect the same from them.

You seem to have done ev­ery­thing you can pos­si­bly do to keep this girl happy while she seems to have no thought what­so­ever for your feel­ings. This is par­tic­u­larly no­tice­able when she rub­bishes your own health is­sues even though you took time off from work to be there for her dur­ing her ill­ness.

I have never heard of a coun­sel­lor de­scrib­ing a per­son they have never met as a bad per­son — it would be to­tally un­eth­i­cal. What is much more likely is that you have been painted in a very bad light, for what­ever rea­son, and the coun­sel­lor may have ex­pressed the opin­ion that this wasn’t ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour for a house­mate.

It would be very in­ter­est­ing to see your house­mate’s re­ac­tion if you sug­gested that you pay a visit to the ther­a­pist to find out for your­self what she said. I ex­pect she would take steps to make sure that such a visit would never take place.

As for you pay­ing for her ther­apy ses­sions, I think this is an out­ra­geous re­quest. Why on earth should you pay for what­ever is go­ing on in your house­mate’s mind that she feels the need to dis­cuss with a ther­a­pist?

I know that it is dif­fi­cult right now in Ire­land to find rental ac­com­mo­da­tion, but I hon­estly feel that any al­ter­na­tive is bet­ter than what you are en­dur­ing right now. She is mak­ing your life a mis­ery, you don’t feel com­fort­able in the house no mat­ter what you do and you are spend­ing lots of time in your room which can’t be good for you.

So you need to get out of this ar­range­ment. You prob­a­bly have a lease agree­ment with the land­lord and there­fore stand to lose your de­posit if you leave. If this is the case, then tell your house­mate — I can­not call her a friend be­cause of the way she is treat­ing you — that the shar­ing ar­range­ment is patently not work­ing and that you are go­ing to look for some­where else to live. And the sooner that you act, the bet­ter.

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