Aspects of Geological Time (fig. 1) by elisabeth
My favorite thing my abuser ever said to me was “you’re just in love with me.” I say “favorite” with a wry sense of humor, but in in all seriousness, their words signaled my impending closure. In that one moment, after a whole year of fighting and hissing and spitting, with that one phrase, I knew it was time to rest my case.
There was no feeling of victory about the few people who sided with me, or even the satisfaction of knowing I no longer had to keep a relationship intact with a terrible person. Rather, the victory lay in the simple fact that it no longer mattered what I did or said to make my truth known.
My father, the incipient figure in my life who would later spur on years of resentment and self deprecating memes, once said, after years of radio silence over his grave failings as a parent, “If the end of the world comes by God’s judgement day I know he’ll kill me.” Religious context aside, mind you, he never actually explicitly admitted what he had done, but it’s what he didn’t say that made it obvious to me that he wanted to. When a person doesn’t even deny what they’ve done to you, but rather, digresses on en emotional detour to invariably mess with your head and make you doubt yourself — your experience, your feelings — that not only displays an adept form of manipulation but a subtle hint of their own guilt. There was not enough guilt to apologize, but enough shame to say “I naturally won’t confess, but I will play on some fact that will detract from the possibility that someone would believe the victim over me.”
Everyone loves their abusers. I certainly loved both of mine. If I didn’t, they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to abuse me. In the eye of the abuse’s whirlwinds I more or less rationalized that I loved the person, but hated what they had done, wanting to believe that a person’s actions are definitely separate from themselves. I met closure with my abuser a long time ago, but the cycle between “depression”‘ and “acceptance” (recovery often follows a grief cycle in most forms) seems to skip and bounce between one another like an overplayed mixtape CD.
Sometimes I have a revelation about something I had compartmentalized and filed away to be addressed at a later time, and then I find a way to express it. I perhaps experience a sense of growth, or maybe a feeling of having the rotting part of me hollowed out to make room for something else. Today was one of those times. I think I’m facing sunward.