Trigger Warning. Talks of suicidal thoughts
My [24F] cousin [40 M] J is very Orthedox and religious to the point where my conservative family considers him fanatical. He also has a personality problem where he can’t let go of someone challenging him and an incessant need to be right.
Usually he directs his energy towards my other cousins [28M and 24M] who are less religious than me and are more apathetic toward Torah Learning. I on the other hand, have completed Torah learning up to college, am kosher and shomer Shabbat, and regularly attend synagogue so i thought I could engage in a light debate about the personal versus the factual practice of Judaism.
The past year the rabbis lessons have really touched me and helped me along on my mental health journey along with my therapy on meds.
I made a mistake this Friday of pointing out how his obsessive idea of keeping track of which Mitvotz are violated is not congruent to a healthy way of living a life. Which then devolved into him obsessively being proven right about how it’s not possible for individuals to gauge their own interpretations of the Torah and you can only rely on what the Chachamim and the commentators say. I was setting the table so I dropped the subject
Saturday comes and just as I’m about to leave for a walk with them and their kid; he brings it up again about how I’m wrong. Again I try to politely debate and my mom try’s to help. My cousin J calls me mom stupid for her opinion and I get angry and storm out for the disrespect at my mom. I then cool down and catch up with him at the park. He says he apologized to my mom and I say I forgive but I can’t trust his opinion anymore because a true scholar does not talk down to people. Five minutes later he’s trying to correct me on my logic why I can’t respect his opinion and I storm out.
I go back to his moms apartment where he’s staying and he goes and takes a nap while I try to calm myself again. At this point all the interactions are triggering my suicidal thoughts. As he’s about to leave for Marvit, he again ignites his obsession and say I need to look up certain passages over the week and this point I just decide not to bait him and tell him I won’t. That gets him more angry and won’t stop talking to the point of giving me a mental breakdown and major suicidal thoughts. And I yell at him to shut up
What’s wrong with me and my Jewish education. I know my reactions were bad but anyone else in my position have experience in my position. I feel like an idiot for not knowing as much Torah as him and I’m insecure about struggling with saying prayers out loud. Is there any Jewish resource I can show him that explains why I believe what I do or show his obsessiveness is wrong