If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

Need help becoming un-enmeshed from housemate

  • 25-08-2020 11:24am
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    My housemate and I get on very well but I feel quite enmeshed with her. I have codependency issues but I've done enough work on myself now that I'm a lot more independent and it doesn't affect me as much anymore. Something about the dynamic with her however pulls me right back into people pleasing and not feeling good enough.

    She is a lovely person, and I don't feel this is intentional, but it feels like she has the upper hand a lot. She kind of speaks down to me in ways I'm not sure she would with others. She tells me what to do, eg: "You HAVE to go on a date with that guy. Otherwise you've wasted his time." Instead of respecting my right to make my own decisions. I feel she always judges decisions I make that don't align with her own.

    She's very open and kind and as a result it's been very easy for me to open up to her about my life. She's very open with me but never openly vulnerable (Whereas I am, as I trust her) and I sometimes wonder if she doesn't respect me as she doesn't see me as strong.

    Anyway, I'm tired of feeling this way. Sometimes she's lovely to me, sometimes she speaks to me as if something about me is annoying her, even though I know I'm doing nothing wrong. But it's far too subtle to even ask her about.

    How do I un-enmesh myself from her? I feel I lose my independence and sense of self around this one particular person and I want to reclaim myself.

    Thank you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,703 ✭✭✭Xterminator


    I doubt you can force housemate to change her ways, without fundamentally changing the relationship to its very core. You have fallen into a pattern, and the behaviour probably could have been nipped in the bud. But now all you can do is be more assertive. Express when she has crossed a boundary, and ask her to respect your opinion. See how she reacts.

    However you are not married and i wonder if it wouldn't be easier to find a new house share.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    This is actually quite simple, OP. Implementing the solution might not be super easy, it will take some practice, but once you get a hang of it, all of your relationship will transform. I'm talking from experience here.

    This dynamic you share with your housemate has nothing to do with your relationship with her, and everything to do with your relationship with yourself. Let's take a look at the example you gave us. You decided not to go on a date with someone. It seems like when you were chatting to her you already knew that this was what you wanted and you were ok with your decision. None of this had anything to do with your housemate, right? It's between you and the guy you weren't going to date, but mostly, between you (the person who made the final decision) and your inner self (the part of you who didn't want to go on that date).

    You need to learn to take your housemate completely out of the equation whenever what the two of you chat about has nothing to do with her. Just connect with the part of you that tells you what you want, honour her (your own) wishes (just the way you would have done with a good friend of yours), and if you want, communicate to your housemate what you've chosen to do. If your housemate comes back to you with "but you have to...!" shift the focus immediately to who this is about (your inner self and you), and speak up for the part of you that tells you what she wants. You will feel so special and valued when you hear yourself speak up for your inner self like that.

    By taking the focus off your housemate and onto your inner self, from pleasing your housemate to respecting and honouring yourself (that's our ultimate responsibility in life), you will have the strength to gently but firmly say to your housemate: "no, I'm not going to do that, it's not what I want". The shift in your relationship with your housemate will be instant, I promise you! I've done this and it's quite magnificent to watch. Learn to honour your inner self, and others will honour you too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,377 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12

    Look up transactional therapy and ego states, sounds like she's acting in a 'parent' role and youre the child. The only way to deal with it is to be an adult and assertive.
    You've no responsibility to anyone, let alone a date you hardly know. I had a friend like this for years, she would guilt me into dating people I wasn't comfortable dating, speak down to me, correct me all the time, slowly the friendship became more and more toxic to the point where there was no good left in it and I walked away for my own mental health.
    If this friend is subtly putting you down, guilting you, disrespecting you, making you feel not good enough or triggering old mental health issues, I would really be considering moving away from this person.
    You dont have to end the friendship but really consider moving out, it may seem like small subtle instances but they build up and over time they chip away at your self confidence and peace of mind. Its not worth it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,419 ✭✭✭antix80

    Hi Op, sounds like a lot of issues you're having with your housemate are probably in your head. Take her at face value and stop trying to second guess what she's thinking. At the same time, set your own boundaries regarding what you share with her.