Co-habiting with family

Jocelyn Sandusky, Features Editor

If I had the money and resources to pack up all of my belongings and move out on my own, I would do it immediately, with no hesitation. Living with my family for the past 22 years has been horrendous, suffocating and tiresome. Our family dynamic is nothing short of dysfunctional and unhealthy, and ever since I can remember, I haven’t gotten along with my parents or siblings in the slightest. I wish my life didn’t revolve around constant fights, screaming matches and tears, but being a broke, full-time college student doesn’t exactly put me in the position where I can afford to move into a one-bedroom apartment by myself with my three pets.

The reality of the situation is, I’m stuck where I am for the time being because of finances, but by implementing a few rules for myself, I can maintain a much more cordial and amicable living environment.

Create an oasis

Like most households, the hub of my home is the kitchen and living room area. It’s where I can spend quality time with my pets, eat and watch tv or movies. It’s my favorite place in the house to relax, but it’s also a communal area. That space doesn’t belong to anyone, and every day, at least one fight erupts when my family crams into the same space. To combat my involvement in the fighting and bullying that occurs within my family, I have designated my bedroom as a safe-haven for myself. Whenever things get out of hand, I have a place to go where I can escape and be alone. I hide away in my room until the problem at hand is in distant memory. If something still needs to be addressed, I make sure I can face it with a level head to avoid a similar outcome.

A goal of mine is to decorate and furnish my bedroom in a way that it’s a place I want to be instead of somewhere I have to be. I don’t want it to be an unsightly hole. I would suggest incorporating the aspects you like from the rest of the house into your personal space. My goal is to get a tv, a small mini-fridge for snacks and interactive toys to keep my pets entertained. Your safe space doesn’t have to be a bedroom. Sometimes I sit on the grass in the front yard because I don’t want to listen to anyone or anything in the house. Unfortunately, the walls in my house aren’t soundproof.

Keep talking to a minimum

The relationship between my family and me is full of contempt and contention, so we’ve had to create a verbal understanding that narrows and limits the topics we can discuss. It limits most of our conversations to household chores and duties, transportation and living expenses. To create a sane living environment, I have to keep conversations short and civil. I spend a lot of my day out of the house because I don’t want to face them. If things ever get out of hand, sleep on a friend’s couch, but check in with your family so they know you’re coming back, eventually.

Be a yes man

When a family member asks you to do something within reason, just do it. No matter how much you don’t want to, you want to keep any strife at a minimum and you don’t want to heighten tensions over something that isn’t worth it. A lot of times I have said no to things because of pride or stubbornness, but it only made a bad situation worse or created a problem when there wasn’t one to begin with. Treat them more like roommates instead of family and communicate cleanly and clearly.