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avoiding being in the same house as family member?

Community Member

this is 80% vent and I'm being deliberately vague while also trying to give a clear view of the situation

one of my family members is staying with us, but I was having stress nightmares in the lead-up, and took the (really challenging) decision to explain that i would not be in the same house as this person. I'm willing to see them elsewhere, had family christmas and all no problems, but I made it very clear that I'm not going to be in my house at the same time as them.

The plan was kinda that they would stay for a night or two at home and then go stay with other members of our family. But they're kinda terrible at organising and have decided that they don't really feel like staying with other family.

I'm staying at a friend of my others, which is fine but I'm kinda imposing due to not being sure when I'll leave, as well as the obvious looming issue of only having brought a couple of changes of clothes.

Even though I keep making it clear that I'm fine interacting with the person, and spending time with them, SO LONG AS IT'S NOT IN MY HOUSE, people keep on interpreting it as opposite? or just going like "it'll be fine, you won't have to interact much, it would just be nice to have you two in the same place".

Me and my therapist both agreed that keeping my emotions/memories about my house separate from my memories/emotions of this person was really important for my continued mental health, and we also discussed that I would feel guilt about it, but I didn't anticipate how guilty about this I feel, and I also feel like I'm beginning to impose on my mum's friend.

Advice? Thoughts? Has anyone been in a similar situation and how did they deal with this?

3 Replies 3

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Theo-m~

I've read your other thread

Forums / Treatments, health professionals and therapies / Therapy without a clear goal

As well as your post to Givemebackmysoul

Because you have not wanted to lay out in detail the matter between you and this other family member I'm going to assume it is something for which there can be no reconciliation, their actions have been beyond the pale.

You have been getting nightmares over this person, and have gone to the extrodinary lengths of staying away from your own home so that they do not become associated with it.

Am I getting it right?

If so I can well understand this and think your therapist is right in thinking you should keep your memories and feelings about this person well separated from those of you home. You mother must have some sympathy with your actions, as you are staying with friends of hers.

My mother was toxic, and as a result the house she lived in, a perfectly good house, has been tainted as a result -I'd never stay in that house although she is long gone.

So if it was me I'd stick to the plan. If you are imposing it will probably not be for that much longer, and another can retrieve some of your clothes.

I'd expect there will of course be questions raised as to your unwillingness to be in your home with this person. In your other thread you said you had been "skirting an issue", maybe this will bring it to the fore. Without disclosing the matter it is not surprising others do not really understand and want the two of you together, however that is a small problem on the overall scheme of things.

It has taken me many years to remember and come to terms with some past events, and on the whole I'm better for having done so, even if it has been unpleasant process. Perhaps you might be the same.

Would you like to say more?


Community Member

Thanks Croix for your reply. It's actually super comforting to hear that people have managed to come to terms with similar things by distancing themselves, it makes me a lot more confident that I'm doing the right thing.

I'm not sure how much detail I'd want to go into, in part because I don't want to identify people but also because if i think too hard about some things my brain kind of just skitters away, but your description of the house is spot-on. Because I used to live with the person, every house I've lived in until this one has had significant bad memories, or places that trigger what I can now identify as dissociation. Because the house I'm in now has none of those, a lot of hypervigilance that I didn't realise I had has disappeared and left me in a far better state.

I am trying to not cause unnecessary fuss within family, and because my family has very strong in-out dynamics it's important for me to stay on the barest possible speaking terms so I can still have decent relationships with my cousins/grandma, and a lot of what causes the nightmares (physical violence&yelling) is common in my family, so it defintely can be interpreted by people as being a spoilt attention seeker (not quite a quote but close enough 😕)

But between moving away, going on beneficial medication&good therapy, I'm definitely making progress, and I'm sure that enforcing these boundaries will get easier in time!! And I have the support of my sisters which is incredibly comforting and makes it so much more achievable, and gives me a certain amount of confidence and backup when dealing with other family.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Theo-m~

While it may cause comment in your family I'd have to say having a house that does not trigger all those memories and thoughts is worth gold. It really can be a stable base from which other improvements can be built. If you are thought of as 'attention seeking' try to remember what sort of people it is that say that -not understanding and kind ones, are they?

No, I'd not want you to say more about the past unless you felt the need, just the fact your thoughts 'skitter away' is enough to let me see myself in you - even if the reasons we are the way we are might not be identical.

As I mentioned events did surface in detail a lot later on. My psychiatrist said it was because my mind was now ready to deal with them . Perhaps in time rather than 'skittering' that will happen to you too.

I'm very relieved to know you have the support of your sisters, it makes looking after yourself -which is very necessary - possible. (Do you think they may also be able to get you some clothes:)

I'm sure you progress is going to continue, you have that tone about you. Please let us know how you get on.