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Author Topic: Roommate with BPD is showing her true colors after one year together?  (Read 71 times)
otterworldly
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What is your sexual orientation: Confidential
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Friend
Relationship status: Roommate
Posts: 1


« on: September 24, 2020, 03:43:20 PM »

Hi all,

First and foremost I'm glad I found this community and I apologize if I'm making any errors with this post.

To try and make this brief, I moved in with my current roommate, "Theresa," back in August of last year.  We had barely hung out beforehand but got along really well and 90% of our time together has been without any major bumps (at least in my opinion).

The thing is, a lot has been going on with Theresa since winter of last year.  She went through a breakup, lost her job, is going through health issues, and it truly has been one thing after another and it continues to compound her heavy depression.  As much as I love her, her constant negativity has really gotten to me and being quarantined together has made things worse.    The cherry on top is that she had to put her cat down a couple of weeks ago.

I've been spending more time in my room and away from her because I realize that I need to fill up my own cup and as much as I want to support her, my emotional capacity has been incredibly thin due to many things going on at the moment.  I told her that I need to focus more on work and that I haven't been as emotionally available.  She took this information and seemed fine with it.

Then... Theresa had an emotional outburst towards me a few nights ago.  "It really feels like you're avoiding me.  WHY ARE YOU AVOIDING ME?  MY CAT JUST DIED.  IS IT ME?" and then dramatically stormed off and loudly wept.  I get that she's hurting and I feel bad for distancing during a very dark moment in her life but I'm nearly at the end of my rope.  This was the second emotional outburst I've been on the receiving end of; the first time, she apologized, but now she's completely convinced that I'm an unsupportive friend.  It's funny how she psychoanalyzed my avoidant behavior and codependent traits (that yes, I'm aware of) yet she's the one that makes excuses for not being in therapy and isn't perfect by any stretch either...

Theresa sent me a long message last night explaining that she still expects an apology from me for not being there for her and that our friendship feels very one-sided and that she's helped me unpack a lot but feels like she's never gotten the same in return.  I understand that me withdrawing a lot right at this moment is poor timing but I don't really know what else to say or do. I feel like I'm losing my mind because I *have* been there for her but no matter what I say, she's very convinced otherwise.  I have listened to her and been present throughout many of her crises, her rants, her emotional dumps.  It feels like she's amassing all the ways that she feels like I've wronged her and all the resentment is building up and boiling over.  It's like she systemically takes into account all the ways I have failed her, doesn't communicate, and then unleashes it.  I pointed out how unfair her passive aggressive behavior has been lately but she said, "Well, you really hurt me right now, so..."

Is there any hope?  I'm really gutting because I have reminded her that I *do* want to support her, I'm just not at a place to carry everything.  It's really disturbing and heartbreaking to hear that she truly feels like I've never been there for her emotionally, even though I have. It's also hard that I can't outright tell a depressed person with BPD, "your negativity has gone on for awhile and I'm at the end of my rope."  I recognize that me withdrawing now of all times isn't helping and that now of all times is poor timing to really tighten my boundaries especially with the way she's been acting out, but better late than never?

I'm allowed to be by myself, I'm allowed to spend more time alone, I'm allowed to not be emotionally available as much.  But I guess that makes me a bad friend and roommate.

Today we cooked breakfast together and I excused myself afterwards to work in my room but suggested we finish watching her favorite movie tonight.  You know, trying to exercise boundaries and a solution.  She still seemed incredibly disappointed and hurt. 

I know this is a lot and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this all.  I'm trying not to spiral too hard because 1) I don't see my therapist for another couple of weeks and 2) I finally feel like I'm in a safe and stable housing situation but the thought that this might actually be a toxic space is really messing me up.  Winter is coming up and it's historically the hardest season for me.  If things are starting to get uglier now, I'm really afraid of what's on the horrizon.
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Naughty Nibbler
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Sibling
Posts: 1595



« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2020, 06:36:16 PM »

Hi Otterworldly - Welcome!
Sorry about the difficulties you and your roommate are having.  Has she received an official BPD diagnosis from a psychiatrist or other medical professional that is experienced with that disorder?

Your roommate has had multiple issues that typically involve going through a grieving process: Relationship breakup, job loss, death of a pet.  In most instances, people go through one grieving situation at a time.  Three at a time, plus health issues would be overwhelming for even an emotionally healthy person.

The five stages of grief are:
Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance

I'm not sure how the stages work with multiple grieving situations, but it could be that she is experiencing some mix of stages.  I'm thinking that the anger & depression stages are present.

It might be helpful for her to attend some type of grieving group.  Perhaps something is available in your community?  If she isn't working, she likely doesn't have access to therapy through insurance.

It could be beneficial for you to use some strategic communication skills.  If you go to the large green band at the top of the page, and find the "Tools" menu, you will find a few lessons on communication skills that could make things easier for you.

"Don't Invalidate?Validate" is a very important skill.  What's most important is to NOT invalidate someone's feelings.  It's not necessary that you agree with their point of view on something.  If you don't feel comfortable in validating feelings, best to just don't say anything or invalidate by expression or body language.

If you go to the "Workshop" area, check out the tutorial on "SET" statements: Support + Empathy + Truth.

Check out some lessons, perhaps prepare to try some strategy.  The way you interact & react to her can make a difference for both of you.  If you think over some of your recent interactions, could your roommate have felt invalidated?

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