It has come to my attention in the past few months that I am, in fact, living with my nemesis, though I did not realize this at first. Or, as above, I would have NEVER agreed to it. In reality, my brother-in-law moved in. Maybe he isn’t the worst person to live with, as I think my mother would top that list, but he pushes ALL of my buttons, in order, and on purpose for entertainment. I’ve had to generate a new style of interaction, a ‘win’ system, so I don’t… well… murder him. I was taught that if I cannot say something nice, then to not say a thing, and I abide by those teachings daily. However, some people do not qualify for the kindness that saying nothing creates. And thus, my instructions for how to live with your nemesis.
READERS BE WARNED: Following any of the methods below will likely result in a failed relationship.
Begin referring to them as “The _____________”.
When they are irritating you, and won’t discontinue, refer to them as something else. This will confuse them, and likely annoy them, in which case, a negative reaction is likely to occur, directed toward yourself. Worry not. Step two counteracts any repercussions and throws it back in their face. Referring to them as “The Subject” (my personal favourite) allows you to think of them as more of an object and less as a human, nullifying some of the pain in your heart caused by their mere existence. You can prove this to yourself by asking: If they’re an object, do they really exist? This will probe you into a philosophical battle with yourself, allowing you to forget that they exist in the first place! This is a win. They are unhappy, and you are at ease.
Analyze their actions, out loud.
When they continue to irritate you, speak at them. Always begin with “The Subject” or whatever name you’ve chosen, then follow with their actions or their speech. For example: “The Subject seems to be angry over ‘something I’ve done’. He is starting to raise his voice, and make impossibly repulsing faces. Anger does not suit him well… Is that a vein on his forehead?” And so on and so forth, until The Subject leaves the room. This is a win for you. Now you don’t have to look at their face and ponder how they even got this far in life.
Try to catch them in a lie, and call them out.
The Subject loves this one. If he tells you some elaborate story that makes him sound like some kind of hero, corroborate it with his family members or friends. Then bring his false accusations to his attention, in front of someone. Always in front of someone. It didn’t happen if someone else can’t say it did. For example, my nemesis says to me, “When I was 5 I used to go into the woods by our house and build a tree fort. I stole wood from the neighbours fence to make the walls, so it didn’t look very nice, but I was 5, so the accomplishment here is that I built it at all”… right. I asked his family one night when we were all gathered around the dinner table. Turns out, his uncle built the tree house, and The Subject was too afraid of heights to even go inside. And he wasn’t 5. He was 10. Another win for me. Now I get to laugh, alongside his family, at him.
Offer to include them in your activities.
Yes, this one seems odd. Here’s my logic though: If they don’t want to be included, then you win because you were the bigger person and offered (this is the most common outcome). At least you can be nice. If they do want to be included, find a way to make them miserable about it. But don’t go out of your way to make them miserable, because then you’re wasting activity time pining to make them not enjoy themselves instead of enjoying yourself. If you can’t make them unhappy in an easy way, then have too much fun. Having more joy than them is a win. Other wins include, but are not limited to: Making them sit in the back seat. Dropping their drink at the drive-through window. Leaving the store without them. Forgetting to tell them your plans are actually going to take multiple hours. Driving away as they try to enter the car, start and stop style.
Disrupt their homely routine.
This one is a “Last Resort” kind of method. This involves a sort of prank system, to which you would need to keep on your toes in case of backlash. If you pie-face them, expect to be pie-faced in return. However, there are more simple ways to go about making their home life a little more uncomfortable. For example, move the bookmark in their book. Unscrew the cap of their toothpaste, and put a small piece of scotch tape over the opening. Fill the empty portion of their shampoo bottle with cold water. Sweep all the dirt on the floor to the base of their door (Especially if they are like my nemesis and refuse to remove their boots at the door!!!!!!!), this way they muck up their socks when they leave the room. Unplug everything that is plugged-in in their bedroom. Anything else you can think of that is small but annoying, do it. There are many wins that can be gathered by this method, however there are also many loses, if their reaction or ‘prank’ is greater than yours. Be careful.
Agree to do everything they ask, but don’t actually do it.
This is the worst one by far, because they may think you’re helping them, or they’re going to be doing less work, when in reality you have no intention of agreeing to what you agreed to do. If this is a little out of your comfort zone, then disagree to everything without excuse. “Can you take my plate too?” Either yes or no, and walk away. “Can I get a ride to the airport in the morning?” Either yes and refuse in the morning so they have to cab, or say no and make them cab anyway. Doing the opposite or doing nothing can be one of the biggest upsets, and can also get you the most amount of wins. Just be sure to never ask for anything in return.
Thus concludes my list of how to live with your nemesis. Do you have other thoughts or ideas? As long as it doesn’t involve actual murder, I’d love to hear it. Comment below, and maybe I’ll make a part two of this list!