In the first days of abuse, I wasn’t scared. He was not, effectively, trying to scare me: narcissistic abuse comes with humiliation, verbal offence, the abuser’s utter and profound pleasure in making the abused feel belittled, bad and at the heart of it, fundamentally unlikeable. But in its early stages, it doesn’t come with threats. In my case, the heart of it was the volatility: I went – within seconds – from being his wonderful girlfriend to “ugly”, “poorly dressed”, “crazy” and “a prostitute” (that was his very favourite). It all happened within seconds, and – like I said before on these pages – here lied the heart of the problem: I believed him. Emotional dependency meant clinging every second on the moments he demonstrated his love, because I knew those moments, so frequent in the early days, would not last long. It was humiliation, pain, physical suffering all caused by the emotional dependency. But again, it wasn’t fear.
Fear came later, and god knows I am scared now. Threats started when I managed to break away – a little bit at least – and not answer the offensive texts anymore. Then it all happened very rapidly: his obsessive need to spot my “cheating”, the violation of my email, his access to my web message exchanges. That’s when they came. Threats – and they were loads – came then and it was horrible, but what is more horrible now more than one year later, is that I’ve realised yesterday how a just a little trigger of fear brings it all back again. I’m safe, I’m at home in a different country and then again, a minor trigger and it all crumbles down on my head. I understand now, all the times I was told not to go through the legal route as it will all come back, all the memories will came back to you. Well – know what – memories come back every day. The real problem is the fear. I wasn’t used to it anymore – it paralysed me, it’s an old feeling and yet one I can’t make peace with. All coping behaviours come back again. Ever wondered why so many women drop court cases against abusers, or never start them? I’ve always thought it was a mixture of bad memories and lack of trust in the judiciary. Had’t calculated the fear. So here I am.
Revert to post 1 in this blog, The Survival’s Responsibility. Harsh on myself as I might be, it means not to let fear own me – I am alive to tell and won’t be silenced, whatever it’s gonna bring. For a moment yesterday, home alone with the fear only, I thought I cannot do this. I think it’s the first time that thought took clear shape in my head. It is there, in a little corner, now that I know the fear it will probably always be. But while the triggers are powerful, and last night I’ve learned how bad it can really be, there is no way, no way fear will silence me or stop whatever I can do, every day, to save other women from falling into this. I think I say so because I’m not alone anymore, so that’s an easy win one could argue. But while being scared means paralysis, and terror that I won’t wish to any human being except for the ones that caused it, responsibility is bigger than terror. Whatever is gonna happen with me in this moment, responsibility stays and is gonna combat everything else. And win.