Since March, Zolfyer’s cousin and his fiancee (henceforth to be referred to as Cousin and Fiancee) have been staying with us. They were about to get kicked out of their apartment, one of their roommates ditched them–like, packed up all his things, moved out in the four hours the house was empty, cut his phone off and hadn’t paid his share of the final rent or utilities, ditched– and Fiancee is pregnant. Further, Cousin’s mom is unstable, with a house that really isn’t fit to live in and Fiancee’s parents are racist (Cousin is black like us, Fiancee is white). Since they wanted to move north anyway and they didn’t have money or time to find a new apartment down south, they begged all of our family to let them stay. We told them they could stay here, although technically Fiancee was supposed to go back down south to finish school and graduate. Did I mention she’s 18 and he’s my age? No? She doesn’t have her high school diploma, her birth certificate or her SSID card. To say it’s a lunatic situation is an understatement and mostly irrelevant. That’s her life, I’m only going to get but so involved.
They came here in March. There is now four people in a one bedroom apartment, and a baby on the way. They also have two ferrets, and it was lucky that Fiancee had someone who was able to keep her snakes. We already have a cat, she’s currently lounging on our clean laundry with her pure black fur. Our house is very busy. Zolfyer and I accepted this and we’re doing our best to take it in stride. We assisted Cousin with his job search, having two HR professionals detail his resume, suggest jobs they knew were hiring and we even paid for some of the things he needed, such as bus fare, car insurance before he lost his car (no job=no money=repo) and something to wear for an interview. We scraped, scrounged and asked for money from our parents and siblings to make sure everyone was fed. We took them to one of the city’s biggest festivals as a treat and a distraction from the hard first month. Cousin got a job and we told him he’d only have to give us $100 a month so that he could save as much as he could, as fast as he could. We thought the baby was due in September, so first week of August you need to be out.
This is ma’at, helping others in desperate situations. Helping the people you care about and love. Making the world a little more orderly, more awesome. Being generous.
Then we realized, slowly, that this was not nearly as ma’at as we thought.
Cousin is argumentative. He has bad communication skills. He likes to give people the silent treatment when he is angry. A post he made today made clear that he believes he is never in the wrong, that he is always a victim.
People get upset with him unnecessarily because of the things he says. Why isn’t he allowed to have an opinion? Why is everything he says supposedly sexist, racist, wrong, hurtful or messed up? Why are people always attacking him? He’s also passive aggressive. He and I argued fiercely yesterday because I do not allow slurs to be used in my home. In this case it was “midget,” directed towards a short character, who may very well have been a child, in some inane video he posted on facebook. He’s made rape jokes in the past, though he wasn’t living with us at the time. I was in the wrong when I got upset at him and ruined his gaming mood. He ruined my gaming mood. He didn’t consider at all my feelings and why I was upset and took offense to it. He spent all day today posting passive-aggressive memes on facebook since I won’t let him say “midget” in my home and called him out for being sexist the day before.
Normally i dont post my feelings on pictures and social media..but why..why..When i open my mouth its sexist, mean, assholish, or coming of wrong. I justthink shutting up and not saying anything like i did before i way better.People wouldnt get offended and attack if i did that.
His passive-aggression doesn’t end there. We also discovered, over these painfully long four months, that he’s emotionally manipulative. Zolfyer used to have an anger problem because he spent his entire youth being bullied mercilessly and experienced loneliness and abuse at home. He was in anger management for seven years. I have only seen him angry enough to hit objects ten times, and that’s an overestimation. Somewhere between five and ten. I’ve only seen him angry enough to break objects twice, with the third time being an accident. The second time was last month, when Z was trying to explain to Cousin why he was angry and upset that he had blown him off, been passive aggressive and otherwise very dismissive, callous and belittling. The situation was that we were planning on going to a tournament (we play Cardfight! Vanguard) and Cousin and Fiancee were coming with us because they wanted to participate. Cousin was supposed to put up for gas and potential tolls. Coincidentally we had received news about unexpected extra money (debt really, increase in credit limit) and Cousin commented that he didn’t have the money to put up for gas like he’d promised. Now, not once earlier in the week had he mentioned that he’d be short the money. We wondered when he intended to tell us, and we knew why he was short, he’d purchased cards off of the internet. Both Cousin and Fiancee admit to not being very well educated in finances and being irresponsible, we were teaching them, Z had gone so far as to draw up a savings plan and carefully explain it.
Then Cousin and Z got into an argument about some cards that were worth money. I missed what initially started this, but the point is that it was part of the gas money disagreement and was also calling on their words and memories of events earlier in the week. Namely, the budget, what Z had written down for Cousin, which cards were supposed to exist, who was supposed to get them and why, and where they were supposed to be. Everything was supposedly recorded, and Cousin, in an attempt to be correct, tried to find proof he was correct. The paper didn’t say which was correct, although it supported Z’s story more. Z insisted he knew what he was talking about and what he had said. Cousin gave an angry non-apology (I’m sorry you think I’m wrong, sort of deal, I’m sorry you’re upset and arguing, type of thing). This made Z angry. Not only is it disrespectful, but it’s also dismissive, and manipulative. It’s belittling, contemptuous even.
Zolfyer largely hates conflict. He experienced it too much as a child, and being tormented and isolated makes him afraid of being disliked, however he pushed off the fear of backlash to confront Cousin about his behavior. Cousin continued being distant, passive-aggressive, dismissive, belittling and emotionally manipulative. Acting cool and collected, like he’s reasonable, never once admitting that he was wrong. Constantly turning things around and making non-apologies and double-bind statements to make it seem as if Z was being totally out of control and his memory was suspect. Eventually, when Z said that he wasn’t trying to fight but he was so totally frustrated by Cousin’s arrogance and his refusal to take any responsibility whatsoever, Cousin said “I’m not fighting, you’re the only one who is fighting. I’m totally calm.”
Thoroughly upset, frustrated and angry, feeling taken advantage of and like his memories and thoughts and feelings were being dismissed, ignored and feeling twisted into the bad guy position (which, considering his past history with emotional abuse, bullying and dealing with unintentional emotional neglect from extreme poverty, is totally triggering) he goes into our bedroom, slams the door and puts a hole in it. Then dents his mini fridge, mostly because he wanted to avoid putting a hole in the wall. I spent fifteen minutes cleaning and bandaging his hands. It took two weeks for his knuckles to heal.
This is an intense example. This is one of the most intense examples. Most of my other examples are much smaller, more low key. Cousin refused to go to the tournament, which meant that the two friends who were also going (this was a team tourney, you need groups of three, now they were one short) were assed out. Because he couldn’t grow up and get over himself, he failed two people who he made a commitment to. I had to go instead, because I tell our friends that I will always play if they need me. I’m not competitive and despise crowds, enclosed spaces and especially crowded enclosed spaces. Traveling also takes a lot of energy from me, and this tournament was in Maryland. I was extremely cranky and exhausted from the beginning, especially since, as an empath, arguments take a lot out of me just to be around (on top of that my deck was behind everyone else, so I was at a huge disadvantage because support for my clan didn’t exist yet). Cousin also acts this way towards Fiancee, including frequently getting angry at her and yelling at her when she confides or vents to us, then follows it up with telling her he’s “glad she has someone she can talk to and confide it.” Then, when she vents and confides, gets really angry at her again. Also gives her the silent treatment, going so far as to lock her out of their bedroom while they were still down south.
My intense example was yesterday, about him treating me with contempt. I don’t hit people or objects, so there won’t be any of that. I did, however, rant a metric ton to other people. If you’d like to see the rant detailing most of the situation, you may do so here. More clarifying information for that is this: Cousin was insistent that his future daughter could not have sex in his house before she turned 16, but his future son could. BGF and I asked him repeatedly to clarify, to elaborate, and all he had to say was “because that’s my girl, my princess and that’s my boy, my prince”. We asked why the boy got to but not the girl, we asked why was there a double standard, we asked why did it matter, we asked why could he but not she. We phrased it about six different ways, each, and he still gave the same answer. He insists I jumped down his throat and never gave him the chance to answer. He also told Z that I am always shoving my words down his and Fiancee’s throats. Among other things. He basically ranted to Zolfyer that I’m a huge problem to them and that I act in an unfair and antisocial manner. He hasn’t spoken to me all day, never even looked me in the eye.
If you’ve chosen to read this far, and have even read my rant, you’ll understand what I’m about to say next.
Ma’at is decaying. It is becoming isfet. It needs to change.
They are creating one hell of a toxic environment. They are literally taking up space, food and energy without giving a significant balance back. My house is dirty and smells from their ferrets. I’m tired of being confined to my room or the kitchen because their things are spread out in the livingroom and they can’t be bothered to clean up after themselves consistently unless someone starts cleaning. My bathroom stinks and is perpetually dirty because of the extra people taking long showers. They don’t seem to know how to get out of the shower without dragging water all over the floor, which means my rug gets soaked and nearly had to be thrown out from mold and mildew.
I am angry. I am perpetually angry because of things they do, or things they say. Usually to Z, but also to me. I am tired of being disrespected and treated with contempt in my own home. I am tired of my boyfriend being treated with contempt and disrespect in his home. He pays for literally everything, almost $2,000 per MONTH, with two jobs and freelance work and we only ask for $100 from them. He should not have anyone say to him, but especially not the person in his home out of the generosity of his heart “well, be glad you don’t work nine hours a day.” (I actually nearly went off on my mother for saying something about his work hours. People like to demean the fact his jobs are part-time and discount their value and the toll they take) He shouldn’t be experiencing the anxiety, insomnia and lack of appetite he got from the mortgage job on his way HOME. He shouldn’t feel like he can’t be in his living room or kitchen because of the dank energy and nasty, petulant, cocky attitude of his cousin.
I should not have to argue with anyone about whether it is or isn’t ok to use slurs in my house.
It occurred to me, that I haven’t been able to connect or focus as well on my spirit work since they got here. Now, part of that is Dapper being sick, another part is that I quiet my plants and Dapper when there are guests over. Some of my frequent guests are sensitive, so it’s only considerate. However, a lot more than that has taken a toll on my practice. I do still think it best for me to reach out to other gods and explore other paths and ideas, but I do know their being here has significantly impacted my spiritual health as much as my emotional health. It isn’t ok. They need to go, we were already thinking about moving up their date because it turns out Fiancee is due in August, not September, but now we’re getting to the point of being thoroughly fed up.
I’m not saying I’m completely in the right. I know that I’m not. I am not exactly a “fair” debater. I have very intense emotions and extremely strong opinions. I also want people to mean what they say and say what they mean. I expect people to back their statements and opinions up, and not expect me to take them at face value. I don’t like it when people try to dodge. I do attack people sometimes, or otherwise “jump down their backs.” Could I have handled my particular intense example better? Hell yeah, I could have. I did try and be calm from the get go, since I was calm and wasn’t trying to fight when the disagreement began. I genuinely didn’t think he knew that the slur “midget” was a big deal since lots of people use it. I know that I can handle things better and that doubtlessly some arguments I’ve had with Cousin or Fiancee are my fault and escalated because of me. That doesn’t excuse their behavior either though.
This cannot continue. When ma’at turns to isfet, you must turn it back. When they leave, my home is getting the most thorough cleansing I can possibly give it. There will be execrations, to say the least. I don’t know what else I’ll do, I’ll figure it out.