Library books, social skills.

I finally have time to actually read things that aren’t required for a class, but I feel guilty about it, as if I should be spending that time reading up for next week. One of the things I got from the library the other day is a cognitive behavioral self-helpy-type book on overcoming anger and irritability. Normally I wouldn’t check out something like this, but since it clearly states in the title that it uses cognitive behavorial techniques, I thought that sounded more professional than if it were written by Dr Phil.
In any other situation I would probably skip right to the chapter on techniques and attempt to fix my problems, but I started this one from the beginning. One of the things that shocked me in it was the list of things that can contribute to feelings of anger and irritability: depression, diet, exercise, routine (screwing up your circadian rhythm by sleeping odd hours or switching up your schedule), drugs like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, stress, and social factors such as problems with friends, at home, with family.

If I had to guess I’d say that there isn’t a single thing on that list that I couldn’t stand to change. I get depressed, I smoke, I drink, there’s way too much caffeine in my diet. I don’t sleep well or regularly, and I don’t eat right.
Another example: social factors. I find myself saying things that I don’t want to say in an attempt to keep people from getting angry with me, but then I get stressed about it, because I seem to approach things the wrong way. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be as non-brutal as possible when it comes to the housemates.
I stressed myself out last night by attempting to come up with as nice-a-way-as-possible to approach a situation where I’d clearly made someone uncomfortable. But I didn’t. Because I knew what the response would be.
I’m not trying to be vague here, I’m just trying to detail the issue without going in to the specifics of who said what. Because then it seems like I’m just exaggerating to prove I’m right.

Basically, Charlie and I have all of the responsibility and none of the perks of living with roommates. Everything is in my name or his, one person isn’t even on the lease, and a total of three animals are unaccounted for as far as the landlord is concerned. Charlie is the one who deals with the landlord and we pay most of the rent and all of the utilities. None of the other housemates have paid any since living here. Let me clarify: none of them have paid anything on time or in full since living here.
We do all the cleaning and cooking for the group yet they never offer. They occasionally vacuum the rug in the living room (the entire house is hardwood flooring), run the broom along some major areas, empty the dishwasher, or help put the slipcovers back on the couch once they’ve been washed. This is not an exaggeration.
So, you can imagine that we would prefer to live by ourselves, even if that means moving back in to an apartment so we can afford a place without housemates. I’m tired of fibbing about how many animals there are, cleaning up after everyone else, and worrying that the landlord may stop by and discover, say, that there’s a new door in the basement because we never told him we had someone else move in.

So last night I included both roommates in a conversation about moving “to the next place,” which I should not have done because I don’t want anymore roommates. Unfortunately, this created discomfort for the other person and for me because I should never have said anything. I just felt guilty that people may think they’re not “invited” to the next place.

If people would just be honest with one another, we wouldn’t have so many problems.


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