Today I am struggling with a unsuspected situation involving my Friend/Roommate who I will dub “Jedediah” for this entry. “Jed” and I have shared space and enjoyed each others company for about six months before he chose to start living at his families cabin a couple months ago. He is still renting his room here as a storage space until the end of this month (3 days left) when I will be moving into that room and paying another fifty percent rent.
Over the coarse of our time together I developed an understanding that Jed exaggerates almost everything in an effort to get his desired reaction from people which can make for some really funny stories. It can be very hard to know what is truth and what is fiction when Jed tell me something and normally I don’t care to figure it out as it’s usually just jokes. So I have learned to take everything he says with a grain of salt and to not really take him seriously at all.
During the past couple months while Jed has been living at the cabin and devoting all of his time, energy and money to making it livable he has been back to our apartment to gather his belongings that he wants to keep and leaving his garbage in the shared space “Incase we want it”. A couple of those times he showed up, looked in his room, turned around and left leaving a room with crap he doesn’t want and piles of garbage. This isn’t a huge deal as the room is still his till the end of the month.
My other roommate’s father is scheduled to fly in and move into my room later this coming month so we already have made plans for the space. A couple of days ago I get a message from Jed saying that things are really bad at the cabin : His dock and boat are at risk of floating away or sinking and the cabin is at risk of washing away. I am not sure how much is truth or fiction but I give him benefit of the doubt and assume he’s being honest. He says he might need to stay here for a bit which based on his description of the issues I actually thought he was talking about living here.
I responded by saying that my cost for the room is twenty dollars a day and he can stay as long as the 15th before we have to move things around to make space for the incoming father and I will be going out of town for xmas. I didn’t say it but he would be more than welcome to use the laundry room (which I currently live in) or stay on a couch for free. I was getting the impression that he simply didn’t want to clean up his mess or dispose of the furniture he no longer wanted as that was the pattern I have noticed over the past while.
This was not the response that Jed was looking to get from me and he went on to explain how bad all of the things in his life are going and that none of it had anything to do with him or his choices. I got the impression that he was just looking for someone to dump his baggage on instead of taking ownership for it himself. Jed made a pretty long-winded and solid effort to try and guilt trip me, at this point I was not even sure what he wanted other than for someone to join him in misery. He did clarify that he only needed a couple extra days over the weekend to clean out his room to which I told him “no problem, I was under the impression you needed to stay for a while” this might have been due to his exaggerating nature.
The messages went back and forth for a while with Jed’s making less and less sense and becoming confusing to read. I stopped trying to read the words and focused on the feeling which felt like panic, despair and confusion. So I changed my approach because twice he had ignored my telling him that over the weekend was no problem. Instead of trying to argue with someone who is panicking and only wants to argue I made effort to end the conversation by telling him that he should try and relax as I am pretty sure he is stuck in panic mode.
Jed continued to try and bait me back into his struggle and I was getting upset with myself for taking that bait and being dragged into this mess. I decided to stop it and told him that “he chose this path for himself”, “Me feeling bad with you doesn’t help either of us and would only make you feel better because you would not be alone in your misery.” He did not respond.
Today I have gotten word that Jed’s mother and brother are going to be coming by to gather his stuff and from another friend that Jed has been saying some exaggerated things about me to all involved. I can only hope that they understand the source of the information they are receiving and make their own decisions about it.
I just received a message from Jed that he had a panic attack at work and was sent home so he now will be coming by today to clean his stuff up. I can believe the panic attack part as I could sense he was panicked in his messages although I am not sure he will actually come by as I have made arrangements previously to help him and for him to not show up. This is all just so fucked up.
Looking back, If Jed had said I screwed up and cant have my room cleaned out before the weekend, do you mind if I do it over the weekend? I would have said no problem right from the beginning. No issue, instead Jed has not once taken ownership of any part in this and has been blaming everything and everyone else for his problems. If my ability to see this and call him on it makes me the bad guy then so be it.
I cannot help someone find peace by joining them is suffering, all I can do is offer them my hand from a place of peace and that person has to make the choice to leave their suffering behind.
So then why do I feel conflicted? I think I should have asked him for clarity at the start of this instead of assuming what he meant. All of this on my part has been the result of poor communication which has been within my control the whole time. Here I have been blaming Jed for the way I am feeling just like he has been doing which means I did join him in suffering. How to find relief from this then?
It was so easy to take the bait that I didn’t even notice when I did, I had to meditate for almost an hour last night before I could calm down and go to sleep. This morning I could still feel the conflict within me which led to me writing all of this in an effort to find relief. I do feel a bit better now realizing that I did this to myself and taking my power back. I think I was feeling out of whack because I had begun to see Jed in a very negative light and I don’t want that. So then what do I want?
I want to see Jed as the happy go lucky funny guy that he can be, I want to have a nice clean room to move into on the first that I am paying for and I want to feel good about it. I do feel a bit better now, a little bit lighter at least.