A friend of mine has asked me to help her feel better about her roommate situation. She has 2 roommates and 2 issues with them:

1- The roommates no longer wanted to pay for a cleaning lady, so together they drew up lists of tasks that each roommate would execute. She feels she does her share and they don’t do theirs. She is unhappy with the cleanliness of the apartment, she is resentful, and doesn’t feel at home in the apartment because of it. She has decided to not do her chores when they don’t do theirs.

2- She feels they are noisy and is regularly woken up when they leave for work early or come home late from a party.

She knows I participate in this program and has explicitly asked for my coaching help 😉 so I want to offer her this:

1- Her thinking around the roommates is very negative. If she casts herself in the role of the victim/martyr, and they’re the villains, she’s going to find and create proof of it.

2- She thinks the way she feels is a direct result of their behavior. I want to help her identify the thoughts she’s thinking that are causing those feelings, and see what else she could think to feel better — perhaps just accepting and neutral first. I want to show her she can eventually take back her power about feeling great and comfortable in her own apartment, regardless of the roommates.

3- She has a manual for how roommates must behave and that’s causing her distress. I want to offer her that her roommates are allowed to have different cleanliness standards, and to go to bed earlier or later than her. If they were to do everything exactly how she wants them to do, what would she make it mean? How would she feel about them, about herself, about the apartment? How can she access those thoughts and feelings right now, without changing or controlling them?

4- She says she currently can’t move out and I want to point out that she could if she really wanted to — she would probably find a way, say, if she found out one of the roommates was a psychopath — but it will be better for her to choose to stay and learn to manage her thoughts. 🙂

One thing I’m unclear about is if there’s a boundary violation anywhere here. I’m guessing not cleaning up your mess in a shared kitchen is not a boundary violation since it’s a shared space (it would be different if they were making a mess in her own room) but what about waking someone up by coming home drunk and clumsy in the middle of the night (just making up that scenario)?

What do you think? Am I taking her in the right direction? Anything you would change or add?
It’s great training for me. 🙂

Thank you so much!