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Our flatmates only growl at me when he's not there! I suffer from anxiety and depression so this is very difficult for me!

Tagged as: Friends, Health, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 July 2014) 7 Answers - (Newest, 31 July 2014)
A female New Zealand age 22-25, anonymous writes:

I don't know what to do. This year I moved from one city to another to live with my long distance boyfriend of 2 years. It's about six months on now. The move was really hard for me cos I'm shy and i left behind my close friends and the place I was familiar with.

Now I'm having trouble with the flatmates my boyfriend and I have. They've been his friends for a few years though so I don't want to start any fights or make him feel like he has to pick a side. The girl we lives with has told me off for trying to use the heater or the dehumidifier many times now. I haven't even tried to use either of them that often but I'm asthmatic and it's getting really bad in such a cold damp house.

The girl and her boyfriend are constantly cooking and I hardly ever do so I feel like I should be allowed to use the heater every now and then to even up the power bill. They also move my kitchenware and food to other places often because I 'didn't put it in the right place or encroached on their space'. They have an entire massive pantry to themselves and I only have a single shelf in a smaller cupboard so of course all my stuff won't fit there.

I mentioned my concerns to my boyfriend a while ago and he spoke to them and they said I'd misunderstood them. Now they make a point only to growl at me when he's not there.

I've suffered from anxiety and depression for a couple of years and this move was very hard for me and now I feel unwelcome and like a second class citizen. These people both have jobs whereas I'm a full time student so if any of us should be concerned about the power bill it should be me. I'm prepared to pay to be warm and dry.

I haven't responded to them when they growl at me because I'd feel mean and I don't want to disrupt the peace as o have to live with them for another six months. But I cry all the time. What can I do?

View related questions: flatmate, long distance, shy

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A female reader, Kinley United States +, writes (31 July 2014):

Hey. I've also struggled with depression pretty much my whole life so I know where your coming from (kind of) They're assholes. I think what you should do is talk to your boyfriend. He loves you so he is gonna want you to be comfortable I'm your home. Explain to him what's going on and ask him what you guys can do. But don't make it seem like you hate them and you want them to move out. Then he'll get the impression that your the bad guy. More than likely he'll want to sit down and talk with the other people. When you do tell them how you feel. Maybe you are misunderstanding them to a curtain extent. And maybe they don't understand where your coming from. I would really like to know what happens, idk if this is against the rules of the website or not but you can kik me if you'd like, it's kinleyy_nicolee I'll be there if you need someone to talk to okay? Good luck!

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A female reader, Anonymous 123 Italy + , writes (30 July 2014):

Anonymous 123 agony auntWelcome to the real world! And now that you're in with shitty roommates, learn how to deal with them in the right way.

When your B/f is around, all of you need to sit down and have a talk. Tell them that you NEED the heater and the dehumidifier and since you are paying for your share, they shouldn't complain. You have health reasons for using them and anyway, you shouldn't have to justify your choices.

Secondly, if you are all paying the same rent then why if it that they have the huge pantry and you just have one piddly little shelf? You should sort this issue out and tell them to divide the space equally. You and your B/f get as much space as they do. Its your flat too! Why should you be so apologetic about using something which is your right?

If they growl at you in your B/f's absence then it is because they know that its easy to intimidate you. The next time that it happens, just ask them, "Do you have a problem? Please tell me clearly so we can talk about it but don't think that you can push me around. I own this place as much as you do and lets all try to be civil here".

Learn to stand up for yourself OP. You cant keep depending on your B/f to defend you.

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (30 July 2014):

YouWish agony auntI agree with the anon female - bring up your grievance to everyone at the same time. That way there's no one who can cry "misunderstanding". You tell everyone that you are sick of people moving your food and stuff, that you have one shelf and they have an entire cabinet. Tell them your health issues require that you use a dehumidifier or heater, and that you're sick of being "told off" every time you actually use the amenities of the house for which you're paying an equal share to enjoy.

Explain that all 4 of you decide now where your kitchenware and stuff go, and that once it's decided, that NO ONE moves it for any reason.

You don't need your boyfriend to stand up for you. You assert your own rights. Depression and anxiety are no excuse for standing up for your place in the home, and if you're spending your own money, then you don't need your boyfriend to validate your place. Crying about it won't help you, but pushing back will.

You'd "feel mean"? They are disrupting your peace. They have no care whatsoever over how they make you feel, so it's time to stop caring how they'd feel. You're not asking for anything unreasonable, and there are times when you have to confront people. That's life. The sooner you do that, you'll find that your anxiety lessens considerably.

Keep in mind, you do not have to stay there! You are not trapped. You could easily move back home to the place you're familiar with. Your friends there would welcome you back with open arms. So you truly have nothing to lose. If your boyfriend is that much of a wuss that he isn't encouraging you to stand up for yourself and is instead the champion of the other flatmates, then he can go pound sand along with the rest of them.

If you need to, go put on some headphones and listen to the Eight Mile soundtrack really loudly before going to confront your pushy flatmates. Then go turn the heater up to 95 degrees while dumping the contents of their pantry on the ground and hiding their kitchenware outside behind a tree.

I was kidding about that last part. Maybe. ;)

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 July 2014):

You have two choices: stand up for yourself or move out. If you're going to stay there, the way they're currently treating you is completely unacceptable, so you need to put a stop to it. If you can't do that, then you need to move out. Either you and your boyfriend get a place without flatmates, or you move back home to your safe place. Both options are perfectly understand and acceptable, the only thing you cannot do is stay there and let these people continue to treat you like this. It's only going to make you anxiety and depression worse.

You said you don't want to pick a fight...THEY are picking the fight! You're just not fighting back! You don't want to make your boyfriend pick sides? THEY are making him pick sides! You're just making the choice(them) for him, but not telling him. You said you ignore them when they growl because you'd feel mean...THEY are being mean! It's not mean to call somebody out for being mean! You don't want to disrupt the peace? What peace??? THEY disrupted the peace! This is not peace for you! Why should they have peace if they don't let you have peace?

You feel like a second class citizen because that's exactly how they're treating you...and it's continuing because you allow it. They're bullies and they're bullying you. You need to start asserting yourself, and once you stand up for yourself, I bet they'll start treating you a whole lot better.

When they say or do something you don't like, tell them you don't like it. You have a right to use the heater and dehumidifier - tell the that. If they complain about the power, tell them exactly what you wrote here about them cooking so much. Tell them you'll use the heater and dehumidifier less when they use the oven less. If you need more space for all your things in the kitchen, tell them you need more space and then take it. You are entitled to 1/4 of the pantry just like each of them and your boyfriend. Tell them that, and if they don't concede then get your boyfriend involved. I bet they'll change their tune when he's around.

I know it sounds hard, but you can do it. And believe me, I speak from experience(I've dealt with anxiety my entire life) when I say that you will feel MUCH better once you do!

Good luck.

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A female reader, Tisha-1 United States + , writes (30 July 2014):

Tisha-1 agony auntYes, he has to pick a side. You are partners, no? Otherwise you are just flatmates, with him and them.

You wouldn't stick around for this kind of treatment from flatmates if there was no boyfriend involved, would you?

You've been there for 6 months and at this point, the relationship is a "go" from any standpoint, right?

So stop worry about being 'mean' and start living in the flat like a person who lives there.

If they don't consider you a flatmate then there's the real issue.

Rather than cry all the time, decide if you have the strength and energy to even be a flatmate to anyone.

Leaving aside the boyfriend, you may wind up in a flat with other roommates.

If you find it difficult to express your concerns and assert your rights then maybe it's premature to be so long distance from your 'safe place' and struggling to be a flatmate with equal rights.

I would start looking for another place to live to complete your schooling, just to be sure you have all your options open.

Take back some power! If your anxiety and depression are overwhelming then you have to put getting yourself healthy ahead of all the other issues. If you have to move home and get treatment, then do so.

Good luck!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 July 2014):

I would suggest you try talking with everyone present. Like a house meeting. Bring up that you are asthmatic and you are willing to pay for extra utilities that have increased as a result of the appliance use. Either that or talk to your bf and gently suggest moving into a place on your own. Or move out on your own completely.

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A female reader, banditsmom1124 United States +, writes (30 July 2014):

banditsmom1124 agony auntgrowl back!!! dont let then push you around...they do because you let them.

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