Does cohousing make you hate people?

I’m a people person but not I hate people.  What happened?

First and foremost is COVID 19.  Seeing others makes me want to run away.  I just assume everyone has COVID until proven otherwise.  However, even with a test, there is a lag so I just keep away from everyone.  

In the spring of 2020 I went along with the neighbors and did gather. We were usually 3 feet away, but some people would sit closer to watch a movie or something like that. We rode together in cars. I figured if they think it’s safe, it must be safe. But I also wondered if we’d be like those towns that were wiped out by disease around the turn of the last century (1900).  It was a risk but these were my friends and neighbors, we were in a bubble together.  Of course, some went out of the bubble.

So, when the community blew up and I moved away I was also a bit relieved, I was out of that danger zone.  I know at least one person got COVID and quarantined but if I was there then I would have died of anxiety alone.  Now I”m in my own home, my own bubble, and don’t want anyone in it.

That’s the second reason I fear people. Not only the COVID, but that groupthink of it must be safe if everyone else is doing it. That groupthink, on another issue, went against me. No one would hear my side of the story. Those that did agree with me, didn’t speak up. Those that have a strange idea, in my opinion, now feel embolden and literally run the place now with some dangerous concepts.  I know another person who left cohousing and feels like she dodged the cult bullet. That’s how I feel too.  I was sold on friendly neighbors and freedom and got groupthink and us vs. you mentality.  In a way I”m glad I was the one being fought against because I got out early.  And honestly, it’s best for covid health and the health of my  kids. More time would have meant more damage.

So, I fear people now. They could be COVID carriers, or cult bullies.  Yet, in truth, I moved to cohousing to find a community and now I have.  Back in my 20s I had communities and that model is what I was looking for in cohousing and I never saw that. Now I have found exactly what I had then but online.  With COVID, I have met people from all over the country and now have at least two communities that we meet online.  They are both from classes and then we made ourselves into a community that emails, sends messages on social media, and meet weekly on zoom.

I shouldn’t have moved my kids, plunked down a down payment, invest in a house and wish that community was what I was looking for. I shouldn’t have risked my life being social with this particular group that  in that example and other ways showed before the big blow out that they don’t care for others.  I should’ve stuck to what I know and look for the community I had before and the promise of cohousing and community is not the only community out there. Sometimes it can be, especially for those who may have never been in one, other times it can be just neighbors and too close quarters. And other times it can go off the rails and be more like a cult.

So, I fear people but I can take them in small doses and safely through the computer.

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
This entry was posted in control and decision making in cohousing, group think and cults, learning and growing, lonliness or not, moving in and out of cohousing, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Does cohousing make you hate people?

  1. Flower says:

    “I was sold on friendly neighbors and freedom and got groupthink and us vs. you mentality.”

    I’m curious about this comment and what you meant by freedom?

    Most people would enjoy friendly neighbors, although I do want strong boundaries. I always hoped for a nice place to live with good neighbors. However, these days I’m totally fine with civil, since I discovered that “friendly” seems to come with baggage that I don’t want to deal with.

    I guess I’m different as I’ve found more freedom and a sense of myself by not “belonging” to a group. I found it advantageous and liberating. At some point I realized that the cost of admission was too great–at least for me as it seems that people want me to fill some role in their lives and be someone who I don’t want to be.

    • CJ says:

      I thought freedom meant privacy – we each own (or rent) our own house. Unlike a commune where you may live with a few people in the same house or roomates. And, our cohousing seemed to just want to let people be. That’s fine, till your dog poop is on a toddlers’ yard and they want to play with or your kid smacks another kid in the face often without the parent trying to teach their child right from wrong. In truth, a commune might’ve been better since they tend to do the interpersonal better and have more deep discussions.

      • Flower says:

        “In truth, a commune might’ve been better since they tend to do the interpersonal better and have more deep discussions.”

        I’m curious what you mean by “deep discussions”. Someone who was supposed to be a “friend” complained to my partner that I was “too deep” as if it was a character flaw. Their devotion to shallowness and stupidity ended the relationship. Kicking someone in the teeth for demonstrating sensitivity and caring is not a good relationship strategy. I’ve been told that by others as well–that I’m sensitive and deep and someone once said I was “intense”. Basically what that meant was I was “open” about my emotions and I shouldn’t have been. It was wasted energy. I came to realize that most people were projecting which is detrimental to relationships.

        I pay close attention to dissonance between words and actions and evaluate people based on their behaviors. I always have–I’ve just refined it over time.

  2. Flower says:

    “Back in my 20s I had communities and that model is what I was looking for in cohousing and I never saw that.”

    So you had a nostalgic vision of what community was based on your previous experiences. I never thought of myself as particularly nostalgic although I do have a friend who is and they talk incessantly about the “good old days”. It drives me crazy. I more of the mind that the “good old days” were not all that great or good–too many irritating hippies and that’s the clean version.

    It’s not that I’m not prone to it occasionally. I do know it can be an emotional trap as that type of thinking can be seductive and especially if it leads to poor decisions. I sometimes feel that my love and appreciation of cottages and bungalows is probably based a bit on nostalgia.

    “So, I fear people now”

    Given the situation feeling apprehensive is understandable. Unpleasant and bad experiences tend to have that impact on a person. I know it has to me.

    “I should’ve stuck to what I know and look for the community I had before and the promise of cohousing and community is not the only community out there.”

    No it’s not the only place to find community, if that is what you are searching for. Sometimes things happen when you least expect it. At one time I was actively searching to make connections with people and then I stopped. I had a lot of disappointments. I used to make more of an effort with my neighbors too, but I don’t like I once did. I got too overwhelmed with my own life and I do need to see some measure of interest, appreciation or reciprocity.

  3. CJ says:

    I’ve been thinking about the past lately. How I don’t feel the need to look back. There are more painful memories now than before – parents deaths, cohousing disaster, etc And looking at photos make me sad – I was young and cute and/or my kids were younger and cute. Time flies.
    I think the old sense of community is gone anyway. Now everyone has a phone in their hands and don’t look up.

    • Flower says:

      Painful memories and experiences can add up over time, so I see little benefit in looking back. It feels self-indulgent and it creates sadness for me because times were not so great. Yes, there were moments, but that’s true of many people if they are aware. I just don’t find it helpful to focus on the past. Who knows though maybe it’s true for my friend that he was happier and it was a better time. That doesn’t say much about his current life though. When he gets into that train of thought I tend to ignore it as best I can and it’s depressing–makes me not really want to talk to him.

      The past is never as rosy as people tend to make it out to be. If their current situation is miserable, then maybe they need to rethink it and work on problem-solving. I think some people are prone to idealizing certain times in their life or glossing over the difficult times because they forget about how it feels and that’s especially true if the current issues they are facing are emotionally painful such as debilitating health issues that are not easy to remedy, sickness, deaths, job losses, and divorce. Loss is cumulative.

      The only time focusing on the past is helpful is if self-introspection helps someone to grow and that’s not an easy process. I’m all for emotional growth.

      • CJ says:

        You say it so well! For me, I can re-read my diary and see the difference between my memories and how I really felt at the time. However, I then relive some of the feelings. That’s why I rarely read my diaries and even write some entries and toss them right away. I love writing and processing my feelings but as far as saving onto that feeling or memory, I’m good to let it stay in the past.

    • Flower says:

      “I think the old sense of community is gone anyway. Now everyone has a phone in their hands and don’t look up.”

      People move around a lot and that’s detrimental to community. Many of my neighbors had lived in their homes since the 50’s when the homes were new. One of my neighbors was the original owner. After she died some crazy woman moved in and wasn’t even there a year. Another couple moved in and they were not there long either–they moved back to their home state. I’m finding that’s true–that older generations were more stable in the communities and they were more active in those communities as well. There’s a lot of research on the subject.

      It takes time to get to know people to assess their character and to build trust. That’s another reason why stability is important in building community.

      The point is that she raised her family in this smaller older home as many people did. Expectations have changed. Now everyone wants huge places and is scraping off the older homes. I love where I live, although I wouldn’t mind a bit more space, but I don’t want a huge monster home to take care of and where I live it’s become unaffordable. Some people who want to downsize cannot afford it here.

      Another older resident who moved when she was close to 90 years old, told me that she recalled a time when there were chicken farms–the land’s been swallowed up and developed. I enjoy talking to older people (not all of course) because of their perspective. I always tended to like them more than my contemporaries who seemed immature and shallow. Older people seemed to have more depth and gratitude for the freedoms they have/had in this country. They had more of a moral compass compared to many of my contemporaries. I’m speaking in generalities of course.

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