Monday, 19 December 2016


Dysfunctional Couple Who Couldn’t Handle My Honesty

During my early days in California, a guy I barely knew from Egypt reached out to me saying he’s there visiting. He also offered to share his place for a few days as I look for my own around the nearby area. Nice of him.

Being open to whatever, I went to his one-bedroom rental and spent a total of five days with him and his spoiled girlfriend. Of course when you spend that much time living with mere strangers you get to see through them, or at least I always do. And that was precisely what happened. 

I remember on the first day at the place I could notice that there has been a recent physical fight. Stuff thrown, a broken lamp, shower curtain detached among other remnants. But that was none of my business.

When the guy and I were alone he began indirectly talking about addiction. I later found out from him that the girlfriend has medical issues, so she chases pain killers by doctor shopping and that he wanted to help her. Knowing about my past and knowledge on the topic, he possibly thought of me as a healer. I did what I usually do by educating him on the matter, which he didn’t seem to know much about. I proceeded to share my own story and how sobering up needs to come from within; how you can never really force anyone to get clean.

I also remember that on the second or third morning I woke up to the girl angrily storming out of the bedroom while carrying some stuff, leaving the house and slamming the door. Obviously the relationship was messy. Though I had seen a lot of this in my life so I simply ignored it. After all, they were not friends of mine.

On a lighter note, there was one bathroom which was inside the bedroom. So in the middle of night when I would get up to pee, there was nothing much to do. Of course I had to find an outlet and it came in the form of a plastic bottle found in the kitchen.
 More fun can be found on this earlier piece of mine: Things I Couldn't Quite Understand After Being On The Road For Seven Month

Through the following couple of days, the tension was always there between the couple. And I could sense it, which made me often play that mediator/entertainer role in order to ease the vibe. 

There was, however, something which really stood out in this experience....

On three different occasions, the guy and I would be eating somewhere when he receives a call from the girl. He begins talking to her in a different tone than the one he has been using with me — much lower and submissive. Then eventually he gets up for a least five minutes — looking all anxious — before coming back to tell me that he has to leave, letting me finish the meal by myself and often paying for the both of us. What? Not once, not twice, but three freakin’ times in a matter of days.

Naturally I began feeling uneasy around those folks. I didn’t even know them, so if they were not peaceful I’d rather quit and the hell with that sofa bed I was crashing on.

Finally, I left the disconnected couple and remained in touch with the guy. By the time he left the city a week later I had already found a place. I think he mentioned that him and the girl were through by then because “she’s too rich and spoiled and the relationship turned out to be toxic”.

Well, some relationships are not meant to carry on, especially dysfunctional ones, which is usually for the best of both partners.

He also wanted help with some writing and editing and asked about my fees. I was ready to collaborate, and actually ‘worked’ on whatever it was over the following couple of days before sending him a good portion of the total project. 

Then one day the girl and I spoke on the phone when I invited her for dinner. Not that I liked her at all, but just that I didn’t know many people yet and thought why not. On the other hand, she has her health issues so maybe some chatting with someone who has been there would do her good.

During dinner we talked about her relationship with the guy as well as about addiction. 
Apparently she didn’t really know that he had told me about her problem and got slightly defensive when she found out — though she tried not to show it much. She even subtly conveyed that he was the one with a drug issue. Noticing this, I told her the truth about what had initially transpired; that the guy cares about her and asked me for advice. 

Still, it was quite obvious from the way she looked at me as I explained how recovery is the best thing that could ever happen to anyone that she was highly interested. Yet, she was still fighting the idea of admitting that she had a problem — denial is a typical defence mechanism when dealing with addiction. It didn’t take long before I was able to assess the situation and have an idea about where she is.

Another thing she talked about was how regressive and close-minded the guy can be. This topic led me to tell her about how poorly she treats him and how dominating she is over him.

Other than those three times he left me mid-meals, the few times we went out together she treated him as a servant: Always complaining about her orders and looking at him to deal. So acting a tad pissed off he would call the waitress and ask for a change in the order, while she’s sitting there looking unnerved. Every freaking time. It was a repetitive pattern I got to witness. And honestly, I despise seeing a man stuck and taken advantage of in such a way.

Interestingly, the girl did the same when we were together and made me try something out of her plate because “It tasted weird”. She was thinking about calling the waitress, but I chose to try it just to show that her food was actually pretty good and “as it should be”, which was exactly what I told her. Of course I had no idea beforehand about how her food tasted, but learning from the patterns I took my chances and I was right.

When I later pondered the whole situation, I came across a common characteristic of people who are obsessive about control: When you lack control over certain parts of your life — health in this case — you try to assume dominance over other aspects, or people, in order to compensate. Though it is a forced, unnatural dominance.

Being myself, after talking about their relationship for a while I just truthfully blurted out what she needed to hear. “If the girl I’m with ever treated me like that, I’d get up and leave her forever.”  I could see a look of acknowledgment in her eyes, like she already knew quite well, along some slight embarrassment.

The night ended after dinner and I thought that it would probably be a long time before we meet again.

The next day I got a call from the guy when I noticed that he was very keen to know what the girl and I talked about. His voice was reeking of insecurity despite the fact that I do not fancy the girl at all and was mainly trying to help her — them. He probably doubted that something could have happened. 

Another day or two, I received a missed call from him followed in the same minute by another from the girl. A few minutes later, I was bombarded by messages which I chose to ignore for a while because I knew it was about some drama. When the guy called again I just picked up to get it over with.

The girl is causing me lots of problems now because she said you told her that I told you about her drug use.

Uhm, isn’t that understood by now? You think I’ll keep pretending that I can’t see that the person in front of me is addicted to opioids? 

You shouldn’t have said that and bla bla bla… .”

This is when I realised that I’m dealing with the complexes of a couple of strangers who happen to lead an unstable, dysfunctional relationship. I tried my best, but it is certainly not for me to fix as none of it vibes with my frequency. I’m not even their therapist who’s charging $100 per hour. So I ended up the conversation politely and that was that.

At the end, I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps he was the one with the real addiction problem and tried to project it on her by seeking advice from me disguised in the form of an advice for her. Such stuff do happen in this circle, so who knows. In fact, he mentioned that he occasionally takes from her meds and enjoys the high. So it is even possible that they were both into it. But to be honest, I don’t care. One simple reason being is that you can never help anyone who doesn’t admit they need help.

Not-so-surprisingly, some time later the guy wrote me saying that he wouldn’t be using my writing. Afterwards he either blocked or unfriended me on Facebook; same as that Ashram Sweeper. Now I can freely tell the story of the dysfunctional couple who couldn’t handle my honesty.


When Choosy Men Reject Women

Things I Couldn't Quite Understand After Being On The Road For Seven Months

What Is Fear of Abandonment and How to Overcome It

Codependency: What Being Addicted To Someone Means

Why I Choose to Remain a Non-Dad for Now — Reflections on Being Childless

Personal Questions I’m Often Asked and Their Answers

The Ashram Sweeper Who Blocked Me on Facebook

The Bloke Who Thought I’m Too Much of an Alpha Male

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Share Toilet Paper

Not Sleeping With a French Hooker at 14

The Spell of the Topless Redhead 

The Night We Turned ‘Beast Mode’ On

The Night I Became a Stripper

The Day I Became Bill Gate’s Elevator Boy

Placebo Effect & The LSD Prank

The Joy of Being a Wanderer and the Credit Card Number

I Kissed a Grandma... and I Liked It



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