Having a controlling roommate is a different experience for everyone. Some might negotiate their way whereas some might walk out. The intensity of their controlling behavior also varies and that ultimately decides the relationship they share with their roommates. Being way too autocratic and controlling can lead to an unhealthy and toxic relationship.
Despite everything, you should remember one thing; nothing is ever worth compromising on your mental health. If your controlling roommate is giving you a hard time and negotiating with you, why have you not walked out already?
If you have ever experienced living with a controlling roommate, you will know how troublesome can it get sometimes.
Whether your roommate is an angel or a monster; it can be difficult to live peacefully and comfortably all the time.
There will be differences and problems that you both will have to tackle mutually. When it comes to sharing a flat or living space, you will have to be extremely optimistic and patient most of the time.
Now having a controlling roommate is a different story. (Read our post on Controlling Men). You can have a healthy or unhealthy relationship with your roommate. However, their controlling behavior will definitely be a hurdle.
Controlling roommates can be manipulative and at times the situation can get heated. There will be disagreements and complaints thus ensuring a few steps to cope up with a controlling roommate can be beneficial.
Below mentioned are a few ways through which you can deal with a controlling roommate. If you live with a roommate or plan to live with one until you can afford your own living space, this article is your best bet!
10 Tips on How To Deal With A Controlling Roommate
Empathize with them:
Empathizing does not mean that you are trying to justify a rude or misbehaved encounter with your controlling roommate however empathizing with them will help you understand them and the cause for their behavior.
Empathizing is a source of kindness. You need to understand that control freaks usually have underlying emotional traumas and reasons that justify their behavior. It can be because of a set of insecurities or past trauma.
Lack of control in real life or situations can also make them a controlling roommate. One incident I have witnessed with a controlling roommate back then when I was in college was because she had lost her parents.
The incident and trauma had made her a crazy control freak. It helped her gain validation. Empathizing in such situations can be a game changer. It can not only make the situation better but it also affects their mental health positively.
Empathizing and understanding a controlling roommate will help you react according to the situation. Understanding the reason why your roommate is trying to assert control in that situation will make it easier to address your concerns without sounding rude.
Avoid arguing back:
If a place catches fire, do we fight back or stay calm and play smart? You got your answer. If your controlling roommate has her attack mode on, you need to avoid arguing and fighting back since it will create the situation worse.
A controlling roommate seeks a sort of reaction to their behavior. If you understand this psyche, you will know why not to argue back. They want to indulge in arguments and relevant struggles because of their nature.
Like any other situation, staying calm with a controlling roommate is the key to ensure a smooth relationship. This does not mean that you stay quiet and keep tolerating their behavior.
If your controlling roommate ahead an argument or fight, you should maturely solve it by saying that we should talk out our concerns and reach a mutual decision.
There is a difference between not arguing and having a proper conversation regarding their behavior. You should always opt for the latter to solve it with maturity and intelligence.
Try not to lose your temper when your controlling roommate does something that goes against your wishes. Let them know that it bothers you and they should take decisions based on mutual understanding.
This will ensure a healthier relationship between you and your roommate as well as a peaceful environment.
Remember your rights:
It is advised to stay calm and patient with a controlling roommate however in this process of holding your composure, you should not forget your rights and the fact that you have an equal say as they do.
Controlling roommates often try to impose certain behaviors. This is unacceptable because sharing a living-space means that both the roomies have an equal right.
This totally does not mean that you make your flat a mess though.
If your controlling roommate is trying to impose an obsessive compulsion on you, communicate with them and remind them that this living-space is owned by both of you hence this autocracy will not work.
It is your fundamental right to say, “NO”. You are not bound to drink clear soup everyday if your controlling roommate does so.
Use your freedom of speech positively and have a polite conversation with them regarding your concerns.
Always remember that you can NO without having any guilt. It is a basic right. Dealing with a controlling roommate for a prolonged period of time can often result in you forgetting your basic fundamental rights.
Therefore always remember your rights and tackle a controlling roommate according to them. A little patience is always advisable only if it is not compromising on your mental health.
Set certain limits:
Controlling roommates have the tendency to push your limits because of their relevant compulsions. This can get annoying for you and it is understandable.
To solve this, it is important for you and your roommate to have a conversation regarding certain limits.
You need to make them aware of your patience potential and your limits to take their controlling attitude. Anything beyond that limit will be unacceptable.
Having this conversation will ensure that they revise their control freak behavior and learn to respect your limits.
Moreover this will develop an interactive relationship between you and your controlling roommate which is another great help to deal with their not so desirable behavior.
If your controlling roommate has set some unreasonable rules for example; not leaving the apartment after 7pm, you need to talk it out and let them know that this rule is unreasonable for you and needs to be revised.
Ensuring certain limits and boundaries will also ensure that you have a sane mental health and you are not being overburdened with their unreasonable controlling attitudes.
Having an interactive relationship with room for conversations really help in situations like these. If you and your roommate have set limits and boundaries, it will be less likely that either of you will go against them.
This is any way does not mean that you should be aggressive with your controlling roommate and start a catfight. No.
However being perseverant means that one should be consistent about your boundaries and limitations. This will let your controlling roommate know that you are insistent and you will not tolerate them stepping ahead your limits.
Being assertive and perseverant can be difficult for a soft-hearted person (tell me about it), yet it is extremely important to do so. It will avoid unnecessary arguments and fights between you and your controlling roommate and that will ensure a peaceful ambiance.
You will have to be assertive every time a controlling roommate tries to violate your boundaries or limits. If you fail to be assertive, they will get an edge and repeat the same behavior.
To avoid this unreasonable violation of limits and boundaries, you will have to set limits and then ensure your persistence. In cases of violation, be assertive since that will help in reducing the controlling behavior.
Instead of escalating the situation, remind them consistently about your limits and boundaries. This will regulate their behavior and will ensure a peaceful vibe for you.
Living with a control freak is not easy. I repeat, it isn’t easy…
Another way to deal with a controlling roommate is to limit interactions with them. This will automatically give you a peace of mind since you will have lesser encounters of their controlling behaviors.
Limit your interactions to only unavoidable and necessary interactions such as having a meal or discussing issues related to the living space.
Doing so will result in a fixed set of boundaries and limits hence there will be harmony and lesser chances of an assertive argument or catfight. It will also ensure that you and your controlling roommate have their space.
Having an unnecessary movie spree or similar will expose your mental health to their controlling behavior that adversely affects your well-being hence a restricted number of interactions is the way to go about it.
Moreover, reducing interactions does not mean that you become a mean and egoistic roommate. If your roommate needs you emotionally or physically, you should be there despite all limitations.
Giving space to relationships and friendships is beneficial since it keeps the charm and space intact. Living with a controlling roommate can be dealt with using this technique.
It will not only regulate your mental health, but it will also give your controlling roommate to consider their behavior and actions.
Have time for yourself:
Living with a controlling roommate can drain you emotionally and physically at times. It gets difficult to live according to their standards and to make peace with their attitude.
This has a bad effect on our emotional and physical well-being since we tend to ignore ourselves and not take enough care of ourselves. Living with a controlling roommate can surely be exhausting.
However one needs to take out a few hours in a week dedicated to their emotional and physical health.
This will regulate their mental and physical health as well as give some time off.
Taking care of you is a vast term and can have variations for person to person. Some people would love to have a night out in a bar and dance all their worries away whereas some might prefer a cozy skin-care spree.
Having these moments is acutely significant for your mental health since constantly living with a controlling roommate can damage it. Therefore, plan your week accordingly and grant yourself with a few blissful hours of self-love and care.
Some options of self-care can include Netflix and chamomile tea, a prolonged gaming night, reading spree, journaling, decluttering your room, catching up on old friends, buying yourself a set of vitamins, and the list is endless.
Taking care of yourself does not mean you have to take a relaxant. It means taking care of your emotional well-being at the same time as well. We tend to ignore the latter hence prioritizing our mental health is a necessity to deal with a controlling roomie!
Be mindful of your lifestyle:
It is not so considerate of you to dirty all cooking utensils, play loud music late at night, not doing your laundry on time, not showering, and so on.
This can be a huge trigger for a controlling roommate or honestly anyone sharing a living space with you.
Dealing with a controlling roommate also means that you should reflect your lifestyle. If you do not do the dishes and make the apartment a mess, what else than a tantrum do you expect from your roommate?
You should also be mindful of the space you have taken. If there is one bookshelf, you both should efficiently divide it and ensure equality. If gender equality is feminism, let’s call roommate equality roomism?
If you have too much luggage, organize it or get rid of it. Take care of their needs and space and work accordingly. A disorganized roommate can be a trigger to enable the control freak mode.
Therefore dealing with a controlling roommate requires you to be organized, considerate, patient, and clean. These are a few things which will ensure a better relationship between you and a controlling roommate.
Considering these factors in return for a stable and healthy environment isn’t a bad option after all!
This is an overused phrase and that is the reason we have taken it for granted. We think we are patient, but are we actually patient?
A controlling roommate and their behavior might be wrong and autocratic at times however we need to understand that they are biological beings and it is possible for them to have some underlying causes for their behavior.
If they have control issues now, it might be a bi-product of not having control over your life. Life does mean things to you and a change in personality tops the list.
The first thing you should ensure when dealing with a controlling roommate is to increase your patience and tolerance. This is a selfless and difficult thing to do and there is no doubt in that.
Being patient does not mean that you begin to compromise on your mental health at all. You should be tolerant as long as your mental well-being is not at stake.
If your controlling roommate is hitting upon your mental well-being, it’s time to be assertive rather than patient.
Therefore if you are supposed to cope up with a controlling roommate, try increasing your tolerance threshold and it will work wonders.
A bit of empathy, understanding and patience is all a controlling roommate requires during a difficult encounter.
Change your roommate (If nothing else works):
Sometimes walking away and leaving certain relationships is the best thing you can do to yourself and the other person.
This is the case for a controlling roommate too, sometimes.
If all the above-mentioned techniques and instructions fail to work; walking out or changing your roommate is the last option you are left with.
It is not healthy for you to constantly live with a controlling roommate when they fail to change or when their behavior is way too autocratic. You should consider your mental health before prioritizing patience and compromise.
Remember this always; no relationship is ever worth messing your well-being for.
I appreciate that you empathize with your controlling roommate and try to make it work. However when it fails to get better, it is necessary for you to bid farewell to it. You have given it your best.
Drenching your emotional and physical energy because of a controlling roommate is not worth it, trust me.
Gather the courage to have a conversation regarding your decision with them. This might give them the chance to reflect on their behavior and nature. It can also change them for good in some cases.
In the end… you should be able to speak for your needs when dealing with a controlling roommate.
You should not be apologetic and speak up when you want sushi instead of pizza.
Learn to take a stand for yourself as a part of this process.
Moreover, do not try to enforce a relationship with a controlling roommate or any other roommate. If they do not want to be the Serena to your inner Blair, it is okay. Let it be that way.
You should also be firm and assertive about your limits, patience, and boundaries. There should be no edge when a controlling roommate violates your personal space.
It is not always necessary that a controlling roommate is the villain; sometimes a controlling roommate does nothing but thinks positively and cares for you. Hence patience and empathy are expected initially from your side.
Lastly, your controlling roommate might be suffering from anxiety, OCD, or Depression. (See our tips on relieving stress)
Therefore try being emotionally available for them and help them battle their battles if it is possible for you to do so.
If you do not have a roommate, make pointers and notes already!