did my roommates emotionally abuse me? TW

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eattrashbefree

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did my roommates emotionally abuse me? TW
« on: February 04, 2018, 12:21:11 AM »
I have been so unsure of whether to call this abuse.  While it was happening, my now former friends and other roommates would tell me that I played an equal part in the situation, basically that my acting out justified the way they treated, and continue to treat, me.  I just want to explain the situation and tell my story and get some outside opinions from people who understand how your behavior and emotions can be different when you've been abused previously, and maybe get some validation lol.

I'm 20 years old, and experienced sexual and emotional abuse during my childhood as well as when I was 18.  Last year I lived in what was essentially a punk house with six other people.  It all started when one roommate's (C, 23) partner (F,27) needed a place to stay for a while before moving in to a new apartment.  We, of course, were all fine with this.  Their dog also came to stay with us.  He was annoying, barked constantly, snapped at people in the house, and had bitten a friend before.  Despite this, my own dogs were confined to my bedroom while he had free roam of the house. 

About a month before, my cats had been "evicted" because they started peeing places besides the litter boxes - mostly on things people left on the floor, nobody ever cleaned the house and there were always spills/messes/dishes, I tried cleaning and so did others but soon gave up when the work wasn't appreciated and the messes quickly reappeared.

The problem started when I was asked if I would be ok with F's cat staying with us, too.  I said that I was not, that I felt it would not be a good environment for the cat, that it would not be good for C's cat (this cat had FIV), and that it would effect my dogs.  This was written off as me just being upset because I'd had to re-home my own cats which, yes, I was, but I felt I also had logical reasons, and that my opinion should be considered.  I became angry, and threw a bit of a tantrum in our group chat, saying things mostly about how I felt unheard and that I thought it was unfair of then to not consider my opinion, but within a day let them know that I realized that regardless of how I felt I knew if there was no other option for the cat I would need to deal with it and that I was willing to.

After this, F began sending me angry texts, accusing me of being hostile towards them and telling me to stop and not stopping when I asked them to and informed them that I was allowed to be angry but that I knew I would have to deal with it.  They told me that they had no option but to live in their car with their dog and their cat, even though I had suggested having someone else care for the cat temporarily.  I told them that I was not being hostile towards them and that it was not personal, but when they would not stop and even texted me at 4 in the morning I told them "* off", which they cited as proof of "it being personal".

After this, they heard me walking outside of the bedroom they were in and started * you at me repeatedly.  I was already in a lot of emotional distress, it doesn't take much to upset me, and had one of my full blown emotional Attacks. I ended up taking all of my antidepressants. Another roommate witnessed this, and had C drive them to get hydrogen peroxide to make me throw them up.  They then told F not to speak to me, which F apparently took to mean never speak to me again. 

Except for when yet another roommate decided to try to meditate a conversation between us the next day - he asked me a question, I don't remember exactly what, but before I finished my sentence, F decided what I was saying was wrong and started yelling, so I left.
For about a month F lived with us, and never said a word to me.  I also never spoke to them, as I was afraid of the anger that it would trigger if I did.  C became increasingly distant to me.  Every time I tried to talk to other roommates about the situation, they told me that my behavior had also been unacceptable. 

I became increasingly paranoid about F, and then C, telling others bad things about me, talking behind my back about how unstable I am.

After F moved out, I thought it was over, but they continued to come over to spend time with C.  I would lock myself in my room, and became pretty isolated from friend group events, as they were always invited.  I was never given any warning before they came over.  I would feel ... well, I'm not great at identifying my emotions, but I'm working on it and honestly I got pretty angry when they were around.  I expressed my frustration to the other roommates frequently, but they told me that F had a right to be there.
At one time I got angry about them using the internet that I paid for, and turned it off when they came over, but they used their WiFi hotspot to use my Xbox.  I went into the living room and took it, they started laughing at me and I yelled * you. 

I realize that this behavior is not ok.  I have never really had angry outbursts before, but it was like so much frustration had built up.  They kept laughing at me and I could hear them in my bedroom, I felt angry and felt the urge to either self harm or break something, so I took the empty liquor bottles we had on top of our kitchen cabinets and broke them outside.  This definitely made them think I was violent and crazy, but I never directed any destructive behavior towards people, and didn't even speak to anyone as I was doing this, I just walked past everyone and did it.

I moved out of that house in December and have a much better living situation now.  I hadn't had any contact with C or F since then.  However, they recently posted videos of them burning things I left at their house on instagram and even went as far as to tag me in them. 

I was told by a friend that F sent a message saying "retaliation for abuse is not abuse" in a large group chat with many of my friends that I started but left after I stopped talking to F, leading me to believe that they are telling people that I have been abusive.  I know that my outbursts were not ok, I am in therapy and have been working on dealing with my emotions in better ways.  I've actually been doing very well since I have been living elsewhere. 

I am not the least bit neurotypical and struggle a lot with emotional regulation, and everyone I lived with was aware of my issues and previous abuse.  Nothing I did was intended to threaten or harm anyone.  Some of the people I used to live with do think that them burning things was a bit much- luckily, it was things I left because I did not want them.  C and F have always had much more social status and connections within the community than me.  They could decide to label my emotional acting out as abusive, violent, and threatening, and I fear that they have already told many people, ruining connections and opportunities for me.

Thanks anyone who reads all of this and/or responds ❤️
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 02:10:00 AM by Three Roses »

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Blueberry

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Re: did my roommates emotionally abuse me? TW
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 01:07:33 AM »
Welcome to the forum!

I'm in a much different time zone from you, it's very late. I'm too tired to respond. Maybe tomorrow.  :wave:

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Three Roses

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Re: did my roommates emotionally abuse me? TW
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2018, 01:55:19 AM »
Welcome to the forum, etbf!

It is so difficult to hear a story like yours and come up with an objective, impartial point of view without hearing the other party's side of the story. I also know, coming from an abusive past myself, how much that colored my interactions with people. I've gone from thinking I merely had a bad temper to now recognizing that the dysfunctional way I interacted with the world in times of high stress was a direct result of the violence I had experienced in my family of origin.

My goal these days is to treat everyone with respect, in peace, whether or not it is reciprocated. And when (not if - it's guaranteed I'll fail sometimes) I fall short of that goal, my Plan B is to make amends as soon as I can. It is the only way I can proceed through this life and maintain my sanity.

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sanmagic7

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Re: did my roommates emotionally abuse me? TW
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2018, 06:05:25 PM »
hey, etbf,

reading your post, the first word that came to my mind was chaos.  dirty dishes and clothes lying around, extra people and animals - especially one that is dangerous -  being laughed at, using your things without permission, sounded quite chaotic to me. 

i agree that only hearing one side of the story isn't ideal, but that one quote you mentioned, that retaliation for abuse is not abuse, well, that doesn't quite sit right with me.  then, posting pictures of burning your things sounds downright mean.  the entire situation does not sound conducive to healthy living nor happy people.

i'm glad you're out of there and since you feel better where you are now, i'd say that's what counts.  if it felt abusive to you, it probably was.  there's a reason that your new place feels better and that your behaviors are different.   the ideal, as 3 roses mentioned, is to treat others with respect and kindness.  i think it's a good goal to aim for, and it sounds like you're on the right track for just that.  sending a hug if you want      :hug:

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Blueberry

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Re: did my roommates emotionally abuse me? TW
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2018, 06:29:43 PM »
that one quote you mentioned, that retaliation for abuse is not abuse, well, that doesn't quite sit right with me.  then, posting pictures of burning your things sounds downright mean.  the entire situation does not sound conducive to healthy living nor happy people.

 :yeahthat:   

When I read your post I get a bit of a feeling of home life in my teens. We didn't have that much chaos or anything. It's more the feeling of not being heard, being dismissed and having one's viewpoints dismissed, being yelled at before being able to finish one's own sentence. I have a picture of my elder brother in my head as I write, though he wasn't the only yeller who interrupted (i.e. yelled down) my thoughts and opinions.

I was laughed at a lot too by FOO (family-of-origin) for my reactions to their tormenting so I know how that feels. Very bad. So standing with you and sending  :hug: if it helps.

It's good you're out of that situation! 

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eattrash

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Re: did my roommates emotionally abuse me? TW
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2018, 12:15:46 AM »
I forgot my password and for some reason never received the email to recover it, but here I am 😬
Thank you all for your responses, I feel much less crazy about how the situation effected me hearing other people's thoughts on it.  I feel guilty about how I acted, I've always tried to treat people well and don't feel like my mental illness justifies it, but I have also felt very unheard and misunderstood lately.  I rarely consider, and other people rarely understand, how the state of the house in general and other people's habits made it so difficult to practice self care and not be either anxious or dissociated, until I find myself ranting about it with my one friend who still lives there.

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Blueberry

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Re: did my roommates emotionally abuse me? TW
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2018, 04:38:50 AM »
Eattrash, we were having problems with password reset before server maintenance. I'm not sure what the status is there now, but if you didn't get an email then I presume the issue isn't fixed yet.

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sanmagic7

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Re: did my roommates emotionally abuse me? TW
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2018, 04:12:39 PM »
being triggered from more than one side, on more than one level is a surefire way to revert to behaviors we're not proud of.  i think most of us have done it at one time or another.   it is what it is, we did what we did, and if possible, we remove ourselves to a situation that is less triggering,   which is exactly what you've done.

so, good for you, and hopefully, in a calmer environment, a more respectful environment, you will be heard and listened to, will not be pushed into a corner emotionally (which, when an animal gets cornered, what does it do?  whatever it needs to do to somehow protect itself.  that's part of our animal instincts), and will be able to head in a more healing direction.

i hope your new place provides you with what you need.  warm, caring hug to you.

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Contessa

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Re: did my roommates emotionally abuse me? TW
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2018, 06:31:25 AM »

When I read your post I get a bit of a feeling of home life in my teens. We didn't have that much chaos or anything. It's more the feeling of not being heard, being dismissed and having one's viewpoints dismissed, being yelled at before being able to finish one's own sentence.

Teens, young aduthood... now.
Yeah.