I’ve been thinking a lot about how I made it through the years I was being abused. Now, when I have enough detachment of not being in the moment, I can look at it and realise how intense the terror, the pain truly was. And I don’t know how the 16-19-year-old me actually made it with some semblance of sanity.
One particular type of abuse which he inflicted upon me, which I can only assume is rare, was death. Let me tell you about how he used death, specifically his death, to inflict torture on my mind which, again, I have no idea how I survived.
T moved from the city I lived in, shortly after the abuse started. The first time he left, I thought I was free. I was so naïve. I thought the slaps, punches and kicks were the worst things I had had to deal with when it came to physical pain. I thought that making me strip down to my panties in front of him and let him maul my breasts was the worst I would have to deal with, sexually. I was 15, and I was SO naïve. He left and I thought I was free. Till he suddenly popped up. No warning. Just demands and violence.
It went on like this for the entire duration of my abuse. He would disappear and appear at will. I can still picture the look he would get when he would inflict some new form of torture that would terrorise me beyond what I had thought my limits to be. It was a mix of glee and pride.
When he would leave, he would oscillate between extreme anger towards me and a weird version of repentance. Sometimes he would email me all the new horrible ideas he had planned to inflict upon me, and the others he would beg me to forgive, tell me that he didn’t know why he did what he did, that he loved me, would take care of me, and would never be able to forgive himself. There was the phase where he kept telling me how much he hated himself and didn’t deserve to live. A few days later, his friend, who by this time was not just aware, but complicit in the abuse, contacted me telling me that T had killed himself. He told me it was my fault, and that he would make sure T’s family knew that. Hell, he came all the way to my city just to slap me across the face and make sure I knew that I was a murderer.
I don’t remember how old I was when this happened, but I was definitely in school. And my mind was a mesh of everything T had infused into it, along with years of being bullied in school and just overall having zero confidence. I believed the friend. I believed that I had been the cause of T’s death and deserved to die because of it. I don’t think I was ever able to process the shred of relief which must have existed somewhere in that mesh. I hated myself too much for that.
A few weeks later, I saw T again. The man I thought was dead. Because when his friend told me T had killed himself, he had lied. T had made some half-hearted attempt at suicide but was perfectly fine. They just cooked up this genius idea to lull me into a false sense of security, and then rip all notions of safety from my existence. The abuse started again. Before I even had time to comprehend seeing someone I thought was dead, in front of me, his demands and pain started again.
From that point on, even when he left again, I never felt safe. I think I stopped believing that I would ever escape him, escape what was happening to me. And T made it very clear to me that I didn’t deserve to escape. Because I had driven him to attempt suicide, so my punishment would be to be a mix of being his punching bag and slave forever. What I hate the most is that I did believe that I deserved it. I believed him.
But my story of death as a form of abuse doesn’t end there. Years later, after I had informed his parents of the abuse, and his father had taken steps to ensure it wouldn’t happen again, T actually killed himself. It was after he broke free one last time to come back, rape me for what I thought was the first time (full story of that), and was taken back. He was furious. Furious that I had found a way to live life beyond him, furious that his father had taken ‘my side’, furious that I wasn’t quite as complacent and easy to manipulate. When he realised that his father would now ensure that he never came in the same vicinity as me, he wanted to enact a final revenge, which, in his head, would ensure that I never escape him.
He killed himself and left a note which basically said that it was my fault, and that this would ensure that I would never escape him, that I would live with him, and ‘what I had done’ forever. And he did it very close to my birthday, to try and ruin that too. For a while, I believed him, again. I knew better, but I believed him anyway. I felt that I had caused a person’s death. I got lost in the things I could have done differently, to lead to a different result. But a few weeks or so into that rabbit hole, I started feeling a rage I hadn’t felt before, and for a change, it wasn’t directed at me. It was directed at him. It was the first time I think I truly realised what he had done to me, and I was just determined to not let him succeed. I stopped feeling guilty that he was dead, and was just unashamedly happy about it, because this time, I was actually free.
He used his own death to try and torture and abuse me one last time. I think death was a pretty big gun in his arsenal of abuse.