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Desperate Abusive housemate

RhythmSpring

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Hi

I moved in a year ago with an acquaintance. She's 39ish, I'm 32, a male. We had fooled around once before, but we are not in a relationship. We spent a lot of time together before moving in, just doing interesting things together and sharing life experience. I always knew her to be a bit cooky (talking a lot and ignoring things I say), and very very hard-headed, but I never thought it would be an issue. Anyway, we decided to move in together to save on money and because we thought our lifestyles would be compatible.

In a following post I will NSFW the details because I can't seem to find that function here in the original post part, and it's looong.

Basically, she uses me as a punching bag at every chance she gets. I do not know where it comes from. The literal moment I stepped into the house on moving day, she would berate me, chastise me, insult me, talk down to me, etc. for the smallest things. She insults my intelligence and strength. She does not compromise on communal space and insists that it is empty at all times. She cleans / moves around my stuff/furniture without telling me. She threw out the couch that was here before we moved in without saying anything to me. Instead of talking to me, she'll shove my stuff in the kitchen (fruit bowl, placemat, dirty or clean dish to the side and not put it back. She has physically threatened me, screamed / yelled at the top of her longs directly in my face, charged at me, shoved me, cursed strings of curses at me, and does not consent to an actual sit-down conversation about normal house issues (refrigerator, couch, etc.), but instead always says "NOT NOW" and there is never a later. Once we tried a house meeting with the third (absentee) housemate and she giggled and "la la la la"ed while I talked.

I can't move out at the moment. Believe me, I am looking for other places to live, but so far nothing secure has come up yet. I cannot live like this. I literally shrink in fear when I hear her come in the house. I freeze. My daily life is absolutely disrupted. My sanity, peace of mind is disrupted by this person who claims that I am her problem, even though the worst I have done is wear shoes in the house on days when my ankle was inflamed from arthritis so I could walk with support. She has no sympathy for me nor remorse for anything she has done. It's like dealing with a psychopath, although I am rarely one to diagnose like that. The list of insults she has slung at me is long and hopefully I can post some more details soon.

As a male dealing with a female, the resources and sympathy from local authorities are unsurprisingly slim. I am at a loss for what to do. Help me.
 

RhythmSpring

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The (too many) details:

NSFW:
Me: Mike
Her: Jessica
3rd housemate: Avi
Old housemate: Jim
Old housemate's girlfriend: Dana

When we visited the apartment before moving in, there was a black couch in the living room. Jim (who was moving out) asked if we wanted him to get rid of it. I said, "No, we might want it," in front of Jessica. Well, Jessica moved in before I did, and she got rid of it without asking or telling anybody. Everyone was surprised, including Avi, Jim, and Dana (Jim's girlfriend, who was giving us a tour of the place, who knew that I wanted to keep it).

1/24- Jessica comes home at 10:00am, moves a brown placemat onto my fruit bowl (causing bananas to ripen much faster), moves a piece of paper by oils to a box of my kitchen supplies in the kitchen. All without communication.

Week of Jan 24 - Places deer skull on top of my drum while "cleaning" and punctures it. As a drummer herself, I would have thought that she knew not to put things, especially sharp things on top of bare drums, but that slipped her mind, presumably because of an unexplained lack of respect for her housemate and his things.

Jan 29 - This morning (or midday, as we were both waking up), after I finished doing my dishes in the kitchen, Jessica emerged from her room, and began cleaning. When we met in the kitchen, she looked at me like she wanted to kill me. Her face was beyond angry, or let's just say very angry, and the lines around her eyes showed that she was exhausted from being angry.

It's this kind of atmosphere I do not want to live with.

She is still cleaning, and I notice my bathroom mat facedown on the kitchen floor. I go to grab it to put it back in the bathroom, and she says, "Leave it, I'm about to shake it out." I say, "I'll shake it out." She says, "Yeah, probably not good enough" completely seriously.

Once, she started yelling at me about having the shades up so that the plants get enough light. After a simple disagreement, she ran to her room and shut her door, telling me to stop talking to her. When I pointed out that she was the one who brought up the issue, she said, "I'm gonna fuckin' deck you if you don't shut your mouth."

2/1/21 ~6:00pm- Sweeping quickly (and furiously) in the kitchen, I am standing next to the sink, leaning against the counter. She sweeps up to me and says, "Move the fuck over." Taken aback by the statement, I do not move. She proceeds to push me over, forcing me to regain my balance.

I say, "What's your problem?" She says, "You. You're my problem."

I notice OCD / over-cleaning tendencies, and I seem targeted as the "dirty" one.

2/8/21 - Starts vacuuming and loudly cleaning at 6am. At 7, after texting asking what's up, and it's still going on, I tap on the wall between our bedrooms three times. She immediately says, "Fuck off!" And then, "...banging on the walls..."
Same morning, she is singing to herself loudly, and as she opens the blinds (all of them except for the window that my plants are underneath), she says, "Fuckin' ugly-ass porch."

For the next 2 and a half hours she has her headphones on, is cleaning, cooking, slamming the cabinet doors, clattering dishes and pots and pans, with clearly absolutely no regard for her sleeping neighbor.

She's been cleaning loudly nonstop from 6am-10am. When I passed her in the kitchen, we made eye contact, and she tried to stare me down. She glared at me like it was supposed to mean something... what, I have no idea. It sure was hostile, though.

2/9/21 - Again with the clattering in the kitchen. She is wearing headphones, so she can't hear how loud she's being. From 10am-12pm. I avoid her until I can't any longer, I have to make breakfast. I notice she's moved my chair pillow to on top of my personal stuff, including a glass I drink out of. I ask her to find another place to put it. She seems offended. We eventually settled on another location. Then she says, "You fucked up my rhythm," as if it were all my fault, that I didn't belong in the kitchen, etc.

2/11 / 2/12 - She gets home at midnight as I am getting up to go to the bathroom. As I am walking towards the bathroom, she says, not having noticed me yet, "Wash your goddamn fucking feet." Which is not only rude, but baffles me as I've been walking in thick socks for the past week or two, not letting my feet touch the floor. Furthermore, I do wash my feet. This combination of ire and misperception worries me and makes me feel unsafe.

3/26 - I had been away for 5 weeks. When I came back, the living room was completely rearranged. Jessica communicated to no one (in the house) about this. She moved my piano to another wall, she completely removed a large piece of furniture (which had many things on it, books, art, sculptures, a TV, etc.). She had moved it into the garage, and the TV into Avi's room. This was a surprise to both me and Avi. I would like to ask where things were, but I doubt she would tell me, because I also arrived to find my mirror missing from my room and when I asked her (via text) where it went, I got no response.

~~~

Before we moved in, she said, "Sometimes people remark about how quiet I am in the house, they say I'm quiet like a mouse."
Which is now funny to me, because she SLAMS doors, SLAMS cabinets, practically tosses dishes, pots and pans aside, stomps around, and lets the toilet seat slam down (instead of setting it down).

We also agreed before we moved in to discuss things that bothered us. That if there were any problems, we'd communicate about it and talk it through.
Countless times (at least 20 times so far over the course of 2.5 months), I have brought up issues and have received responses like, "I don't want to talk about it now," "Not now, Mike." "I don't owe anyone anything," and/or simply running to her room and shutting the door, sometimes singing or talking to herself to drown me out.
Many other complaints, or polite requests via text to talk about things have been simply ignored.

Jessica claims she is against piano music, for some reason that she will not say. "Don't get me wrong! I love pianos!" Still will not say when asked. When I asked if we could have a piano in the living room, not only did she say that "there's no room for it," but she mysteriously suggested having it next to the fridge, and removing the cabinets in order to do that. Besides, there is clearly room for the piano in the living room--The piano is 4'9" wide, 3'1" tall, and 2' deep, in a room that is 13.5' x 13.5'.

Once the piano was there, she shoved it quite violently (one of the legs is barely attached), and I asked her why she moved it, and she said, "You can move it back."

Jessica is against me having a dog despite proclaiming to love dogs, and will not state any reason why not. I asked her via text why, and she said, "No comment," and, "Just no."

A repeated taunt of hers is: "Have you ever lived with other people!?!?" as if to justify her actions or invalidate mine. When I've tried to respond, I've been drowned out by a continuation of her rant. But the fact is that, yes, I've lived with other people a lot. I lived in a community setting, in close quarters with other people for two months out of the year at Summer camp for 10 years, as well as work retreats throughout the year. during those years. I lived with other people when I worked on an organic farm in Mexico in 2008. I lived with other people while at college for 4+ years. And in several other houses where more than one people lived. One thing has been consistent throughout all of those experiences--consistent, open communication has been the foundation of a functional living space. But, my efforts to have weekly meetings in this house have been consistently shot down or ignored by Jessica. For these reasons, I doubt that Jessica has had proper experience in functional communities given her behavior and attitude towards the concept of sit-down (or even stand-up) conversations about house issues.

Regarding house issues, she even shot down the idea of meeting with the other housemate, Avi in order to settle some in-house issues (regarding the couch, the fridge, etc.). This solution seemed like a no-brainer to me. But her reason was simply, "Too close for comfort."

There have been several instances when I have pulled into the driveway, and the kitchen lights were on, with Jessica in it. As I approached the door, the lights would go off and she would flee the kitchen to her room, the lock still being locked. If I were in the kitchen and I noticed my housemate coming in, I would unlock the door. It's these behaviors and many others that reflect a refusal to lift a finger for even a housemate--the stated, "I don't owe anyone anything" attitude--that makes me extremely uncomfortable living with this person.

I replaced the dining room table with one exactly the same size, except it didn't have the two small leaves that the last one did. She had a fit. She said it's "Way too big," even though the lack of the extra leaf being folded down accounted for just about one foot of space. Fortunately, she left it there, but she did threaten to move it to a corner of the room where it made no sense to have it.

Once I said, "This driveway can accommodate 5 cars." She said emphatically (to put it lightly) that, no, it can't, that there's not enough room. And lo and behold, a few weeks later, she discovered that if she parked a little bit more off to the side, we could indeed accommodate 5 cars, and we have ever since.

With the living room now sparse and neutral, and with it being rarely if ever used due to the increasing hostility of passing interactions, it seems our bedrooms have become apartments and the living room a lobby.

At least four times she has told me that she wants to move out in the Spring (of 2021). She even would say things like, "Good thing I'm moving out in the Spring, because..." and proceed to complain about something about the house. In late March, I asked her about her plans of moving out, and she said, "things feel too stressful with the times." When I mentioned that she had been saying that she would move out, she said, "Fuck off."

Sept 1, 2021:
She has been home for about 24 hours after a long stint (4 weeks, about) of not being home. I find that the kitchen sink faucet is loose. It wasn't like that before, and I know that I am gentle with things, and I know that Jessica slams doors, cabinets, practically throws pots and pans, jostles things aggressively, so I have every reason to assume she had something to do with it. I bring it up, and she gets super defensive about it and says "I don't want to talk about it right now." I say "When, then?" and she says, "NOT NOW."

Nov 24 & 25, 2021:

There has been a ten pound rack of baby back ribs wrapped in plastic and tin foil and a ziploc bag of a dozen hotdogs in the freezer left behind the tenants before us. I finally decided to clear out of the freezer what we weren't going to eat. I told Jessica that I was trying to find somebody to take them. She initially said she would get the ribs for her boyfriend, but then she asked how it was wrapped, and I said it wasn't sealed completely. So she said no. She flat out rejected the offer, saying the meat wasn't good to eat, including the hotdogs.

She came to the house and took the meat out of the freezer anyway without telling me. Not knowing she had done this, I offered the meat to a friend who is financially challenged and enthusiastically accepted the offer of both of the items. When I looked in the freezer, they were gone, so I had to rescind the offer.
 
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RhythmSpring

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one of you has got to go. it's that simple.
Where? You gonna put one of us up? We've already done the "You move out" "No you move out" thing. She even said she was gonna move out like 5 times but then didn't. I gently remind her of that, she screams in my face "NO YOU MOVE OUT!!!"
 

ghostandthedarknes

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Where? You gonna put one of us up? We've already done the "You move out" "No you move out" thing. She even said she was gonna move out like 5 times but then didn't. I gently remind her of that, she screams in my face "NO YOU MOVE OUT!!!"
I've found in life that there aren't many simple answers. keep calling the law on the bitch. they will eventually take her.
 

neversickanymore

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It’s interesting you have the dates and times of what some people would consider
Insignificant issues. I’m not saying they are insignificant.. but as our living styles are so different if you had moved in with me I’d be dead or you would be absolutely insane because of your reaction to how I live.

I’d get your own place and then you won’t have to deal with other peoples shit.
 

RhythmSpring

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I have never done anything like this before. I only started taking down dates and times because I was told to keep a log for legal records in case shit hit the fan. It's one thing to say "she always does this kind of stuff" but it's another thing to have a record showing how actually incessant it is. I only started keeping a log like that because it kept happening and I felt like I needed some kind of concrete backup so it's not just my word against hers. I really am not usually like this and I feel that she has brought out the worst in me.
 

neversickanymore

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Oh but if I asked her nicely to stop cleaning until 9am and she continued I’d calmly get up in my boxers and throw her vacuum cleaner in the driveway and repeatedly run it over with my vehicle until it was certain to be a pain in the ass to use.


But a more mature person would find a constructive way to stand up to her on key issues. What are the big issues and how do you guys sort those out.
 

RhythmSpring

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*shrug* just for peace of mind, in case she tries to pull some funny shit. I'm not out to get her, that's for sure. I've shown her lots of love over the years, way more than was warranted, apparently. I don't know, it was just something I was told to do (by an ex-LEO of 20 years)

EDIT: I really wanted to NSFW all those details and dates so that not everyone needed to read it but I have no idea how to do that.

EDIT: I did it!
 
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papercuts

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What a pain in the ass, to live with intolerance. So she has very fixed ideas about how everyone should live. What lever can you use to make her sit down and listen? Can you withdraw cooperation from something she will notice? (like pay the rent/bills only after she sits down and discusses the problem).

People avoid discussion like that when they know they are in the wrong or if they aren't coping with their emotions. Suggest that, you'll get derision.

Enduring zero respect 24/7 will gradually erode your ability to fix this. Even though winter isn't a good time to be homeless, I'd be looking at my options for living in a car or hunt down that missing black sofa to sleep on far away before anyone gets hurt physically.
 

chinup

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even if you can't find anything permanent right away it sounds like you need to spend as little time as possible there. i had to spend a while sofa surfing while paying rent and bills on a place because my housemate was such a psycho i was scared for my safety because of her extreme mental instability. she sounds a bit like yours (her first name isn't Mary by any chance and does she hail from Manchester?!?) like the thing that caused her to go off was moving her sheets. which were blocking my entry to my bedroom.

sofa surfing wasn't ideal, it was very disruptive and i felt very annoyed about having to do it. but the police had claimed it was a civil matter.

it turned out she had been lying for months to our mutual friends, saying i was violent and she was living in fear. thankfully they didn't believe me and i had a lot of evidence she was bullshitting- like having been with them on supposed days and times i'd been violent to her. she was setting up a situation where she was going to try and force me to move out, but keep paying my half of the rent. which she felt entitled to because i had a job and she was on benefits so somehow she deserved the fruits of my hard work?

from what you say it would not surprise me if this person is doing a similar character assassination on you to everyone she can. like mine called all my friends, our fucking rental agents, my parents, the police, probably a load of other people i don't know about.

i was sofa surfing for a couple of weeks, and making detailed notes about when i had been going to the house (to check on my cat, get clothes etc), and avoided going on my own if possible. this gave her time to realise i was not going to back down, and cos everyone knew i wasn't in the house she couldn't bullshit about living in fear of me. no one could talk sense into her but somehow she figured out she needed to leave and did. i then had to pay full rent and bills cos i was too scared to find someone else for her room, this caused financial hardship but it was worth it.

so, my suggestion would be, spend as little time as possible there while you're looking for new places. it is hugely inconvenient but i felt much better not being scared to go and get a cup of tea, and i had enough friends willing to help out that i didn't need to lean too much on one person. even if you can just get a few nights out here and there, it will be a big help.
 

Lysosomalstorage

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So is it constant hostility? As almost all of these things are pretty normal when living with someone you're not in relationship with/friends with, the guy me and my friends lived with at uni kept notes of all the things he didn't like us doing, and in our eyes he was the weirdo. So perhaps you two both feel the same way about eachother just at different ends of the hostility spectrum. None of this would stand at the police or for domestic abuse. So moving out is your only option.

Or you could try and ask her to write a list of things she hates about living with you and then you compare lists and work out an agreement on how to live together until you can move out.
 

Pumpkin2021

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Either move, or stand up for yourself, that Doesn't mean you need to be mentally or physically abusive. Express the way you feel or your opinion In a more manly fashion, or you can get butt ass naked and chase her around until she leaves.
Don't normally laugh about peoples misfortunes but getting butt naked and chasing her around just might work. Adding a little levity into a sad thread sometimes gives the op a chuckle.

It really does suck when a relationship is broken and neither party has the resources to leave. I just had an occasion to speak with someone where his wife and he were going to split up. Neither had any $$$. She went back to her Mom and he went in a recovery house for men that were looking for work, had a stable personality, and were willing to take 90 days to get back on their feet. He got a job, stayed there for actually 120 days. They helped him get a place, paid 1st month rent, payed for public transport, and gave him 40% off of his utility bills for a year. He's doing well, likes his job, meets his requirements and is saving for the future.

The wife however is still at her Mom's. This happened 14 months ago. Some people just won't help themselves and take advantage of all the Social Services that are available. They just land somewhere and stay regardless of how bad it gets. It's sad to see people not helping their situation because the help is out there. More and more places are practically begging people to take advantage of the grants they have. It's so freakin' hard to ask for help.....but once we do.... there are places that can change your life. I've seen it first hand.
 

papercuts

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Don't normally laugh about peoples misfortunes but getting butt naked and chasing her around just might work. Adding a little levity into a sad thread sometimes gives the op a chuckle.

It really does suck when a relationship is broken and neither party has the resources to leave. I just had an occasion to speak with someone where his wife and he were going to split up. Neither had any $$$. She went back to her Mom and he went in a recovery house for men that were looking for work, had a stable personality, and were willing to take 90 days to get back on their feet. He got a job, stayed there for actually 120 days. They helped him get a place, paid 1st month rent, payed for public transport, and gave him 40% off of his utility bills for a year. He's doing well, likes his job, meets his requirements and is saving for the future.

The wife however is still at her Mom's. This happened 14 months ago. Some people just won't help themselves and take advantage of all the Social Services that are available. They just land somewhere and stay regardless of how bad it gets. It's sad to see people not helping their situation because the help is out there. More and more places are practically begging people to take advantage of the grants they have. It's so freakin' hard to ask for help.....but once we do.... there are places that can change your life. I've seen it first hand.
I gotta cut in and say not everyone has such choices, many places do not have services like this that help so much. I realise my own stints of homelessness as a young teenager in the 80s and an adult in the 90s isn't representitives of today's services, but you have to know what living like that does to a person. That is why I say staying erodes the ability to leave as you cannot clear your head of the latest WTF incident long enough to breathe, never mind reach out thinking someone would give a shit.
The op needs to get out, but on which day is it better to be homeless than warm even if we are afraid?

So like many changes, it can only be made if we look long past today, taking on worse shit before it gets better.
 

RhythmSpring

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Hey, thanks for all your responses.

"What lever can you use to make her sit down and listen?What lever can you use to make her sit down and listen?"

Nope. I've tried everything. She literally runs away. Into her room, locks the door and says, "la la la I can't hear you!" I'm not joking. Again, she's 39.

"it turned out she had been lying for months"
This wouldn't surprise me with her. I'm sure she is telling her friends all sorts of shit about me. Like I'm a sad slob who can't function by myself properly, or something.

No, her name is not Mary.

The silver lining here is that she rarely spends time in the house these days. She hasn't slept over for like 2 months. She claims she can't stand being around me. I believe her--I have definitely considered there being some sort of mirror action going on, which is why I tread lightly and hesitate to be brazen with her, like saying things like "Cut the shit" (read in another thread about abuse, I think).

Chasing her naked is not an option. a) would probably get me in trouble b) just isn't me.

"Express the way you feel or your opinion In a more manly fashion"

I have tried everything I know. Normally I am a very diplomatic person. This has been reflected back to me by my friends and peers. Not sure what you mean by "manly fashion." Could you elaborate?

We're both living on public resources, but she seems to go the extra mile with that.

"Or you could try and ask her to write a list of things she hates about living with you and then you compare lists and work out an agreement on how to live together until you can move out."

Ha! That would require having a normal conversation with her. She has refused cooperation with anything remotely of that nature ever since we've moved in. Basically any conversation in which I am genuinely listened to.
 

neversickanymore

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I’d go look for another woman. Just saying because your quite upset over really minor stuff against a roommate that’s almost never home. Seems like there is some underlying tension involved?

I’d go find a whole new set of benefits and problems with a new land mine.

Also don’t let what you can’t control bother you as there is no fixing that.. will be a life long misery
 
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RhythmSpring

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"I’d go look for another woman. Just saying because your quite upset over really minor stuff against a roommate that’s almost never home. Seems like there is some underlying tension involved?"

Having a loving relationship surely helps, but I don't appreciate you saying that my situation amounts to "really minor stuff." I've never encountered anything like this before. It is constant abuse. When she does come home it just reminds me how shitty it was, and brings back all the tension/PTSD from being screamed at/threatened. It is still a problem that needs to be dealt with.
 
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