I know I am naive. The awareness is there. But I can't help but trust everyone and nearly everything that is said. It's taken years for me to learn to take a second glance and realize the satire or sarcasm or lies.
I don't mind it though. So what if this makes me a gullible optimist. Life is sunnier this way.
It has gotten me into bad situations though. A promise of friendship that tried to turn sexual but I was lucky enough to escape. College was a real eye opener for me. High school bullies that acted like friends only to tease me. I knew what they were doing, it was just easier to play along. Playing along was my go to coping mechanism. But not anymore.
I used to have a roommate. It was a friend that I truly cared about who hit a rough patch. I understood, I hit a very similar rough patch which lead to me dropping out of college. I only survived better than he did because I had J to lean on, my friend had isolated himself and had no one.
But then his rough patch lasted for years, and he refused to do anything to help himself. Offers from us and his own family fell on deaf ears.
And then the mind games started. I don't know at what point he turned his anger and resentment on me but it was as soon as a year in. He lived with us for four years and during that time he slammed furniture and doors, screamed at us and the dogs, and stole my thoughts. If I started a conversation topic or suggested a better, more efficient way to do something, a week or so later he would turn around and say the exact thing I suggested but state it as his own idea. It really freaked me out but I was so scared of him I just would freeze and smile and nod because so what? As long as he was doing the more efficient thing, what does it matter if he thought he had a good idea?
But he had no original ideas and I think he really resented me for being successful in coping with life. He made idle threats but the fear I had when he was around kept growing.
He didn't pay rent, or food, or alcohol, or basic supplies like soap. I provided everything. All he had to do was wash the dishes and occasionally look after the dogs. Not even picking up poop, merely just letting them in and out. For four years. There was no end in sight. And his temper tantrums got worse and worse. Till one day he stopped apologizing.
He broke a rule that he had to agree to when he moved in. Don't change the environment of the shared space. He could do whatever he wanted in his room and bathroom, just not the shared space. I learned early on that I need total control of my environment and my lovely J didn't care so it works for us. But the roommate made a change, it triggered a meltdown for me. I apologized and he chose not to apologize but had the audacity to tell me not to have meltdowns near him. In my own house. That he doesn't contribute to, that he broke a rule in, that I asked him to leave the shared space during said meltdown. He walked into the shared space and screamed at me. Then had the audacity to blame me for him screaming.
It was at that point that the spell broke. This person was my friend but I was not his friend. I was just an ATM to him. It broke my heart. I had never been so betrayed before. He had broken promises to me, but they were tiny. He promised he wouldn't complain about a specific food item, and then he kept complaining about it. I didn't think it was legit that he didn't think of me as a friend. But after that incident it was clear. I was an inconvenience for him, but he didn't want to change his life.
He left the house finally. And my anxiety, migraines, stress levels, even shitty sleep got instantly better. I was internalizing his drunken screaming so much and I was playing along with his mind games so much and it was crushing my mental health.
A week later I had a nightmare. In it, a terrible event happened to him and he was once again forced to come live with us. I spent the rest of the dream trying to kill myself.I Inever truly realized just how scared of him I had become until that nightmare.
But we have peace now.
My house is once again my safe space. My husband and my dogs are calm and happy. I thrive in taking care of people, but I have learned my limits. My mental health is now a priority for me.