Baby, Come Back to cohousing and intentional communities

I have a dilemma. Or a temptation?  Not sure what you’d call it but just as I’m finally “getting over” the kerfuffle at the cohousing community, I’m being urged to return.  Yes, I know the other players are moving out.  I was hoping that with me leaving they would deal with the real issue but apparently that never took place and bad feelings were zip zapped zoomed all over the place.  One person in particular thinks now that the people who hate me (the most) will be leaving, that I could enjoy the cohousing community I had envisioned all those years ago.  They claim I’m a nice person and a good fit for cohousing and the others were not. They saw signs of selfishness early on and I wish I had but I’m not sure it would have made a difference. That selfishness plays out every day they keep living there.

I love the idea that new people are moving in and could really make it a nice place to live. However I thought by being one of the first, that I could help form it into a cool culture. I felt like even moving in barely 6 months after others, a culture of don’t ask don’t tell don’t deal with anything real had been established. Plus, the problems from the big deal never were dealt with and still have ramifications.  The new people seem to have not been informed and run into that issue.  So, I’m not sure I could move back. I understand those who hate me the most but I lost respect for the others who stood by. I can’t live with them.

Or could I?  I heard some feel regret for not speaking up.  For how it all went down.  Sounds tempting. Then, I think, they never told me that. It’s not like I disappeared. I’m on the email list. I’ve sent things, even gifts like a $300 worth of conflict resolution material. Crickets. I never get a response on anything unless they need something from me.  If they were really sorry, why not pick up the phone (I have the same number) or email a quick apology.

I know I played all my cards wrong.  When we had the big mediation (my last hope and it blew up), I laid down the facts. The other party cried and used and got lots of sympathy. They also got to keep doing the behaviors I was trying to address.  Since then I”ve read articles and see that being up against a true narcissist, I had no way to “win”.  To me there were no winners or losers, I wanted the whole community to support each other and work through things. By everyone quietly (not apologizing to me, reaching out to me, standing with me even though some told me they did) choosing a winner, I believe, they made us all losers. We lost. The community lost.  

Anyways, one card I dealt wrong was by sending an email right after that mediation to say I’m leaving. I specifically said that I see that my values do not match up to theirs. I meant speaking up and being honest, but didn’t say that and no one asked what my values were.  So, from what I know of that community, once you say you are leaving, they decide not to put an ounce of interest in you anymore.  Which is sad.  So, when I asked one person if we could talk and work out our differences, they said no.  They said they don’t like people being mad at them and don’t know how to deal with conflict. I just wondered why they moved to cohousing in the first place? 

If that’s the reaction I got then and no one has told me their regrets, why would I move back?  Sure, I could have a fake relationship and superficial with these quiet ones. There is one or two people I wouldn’t even want to try with since I see their true selves and quirks and it would be a waste of time. Nothing wrong with that. In cohousing, many realize they won’t like everyone. You can still be neighborly. I even heard someone say recently “it’s a neighborhood, not a family”. If only they would stop marketing it in major publishing outlets as the latter!

The other issue is forgiveness. I made an attempt to fix the problem and the big incident happened. Most felt it was a huge mistake that I made.  I get that. There wasn’t much I could do to undo what I did, but it seemed like no one would ever forgive me. Like ever. Another reason I left, there wasn’t an entrance ramp.  I was voted off the island.  I wondered how that made the culture of the community. I was new to cohousing just like everyone else but one misstep and you’re out of here!

Of course the answer is no. I won’t move back. I do wonder why my house hasn’t sold and is that a message that maybe I will want to move back. Or let my son live there like I originally wanted. I wanted him to be around neighbors who understood he is on the autism spectrum.  Yet, their cruelty to differences and misunderstandings now make me feel the opposite – I want to protect my son from them.  And the new neighbors here get him and it’s fine. We aren’t a cohousing or intentional community but we are neighborly. I feel safe here.  Which I didn’t feel there.

It’s sad that some people want and love the idea of communities but those who don’t have the right qualities and those who just stand by ruin it.

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 bad behavior and bullies of any age, living in community, moving in and out of cohousing, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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