tw: abuse, suicide
For the majority of my childhood and adolescence, I saw grown men use their mental health as swords against women and girls - mainly suicide threats, but also the idea that women had an obligation to take care of these men because their health. My abuser targeted me especially and not my brothers with this: If I didn’t do a certain action, he would kill himself. If I didn’t prevent my mother from doing a certain action, he would kill himself.
One time, in middle school, I bought cucumber scented hand lotion. Apparently he hates the way cucumbers smell. This resulted in him screaming at me and having a fit till three in the morning till I would’ve promised literally anything just to sleep. After he finally left us, I bought the cheapest scented cucumber body spray because I could.
I was eight when this started. When I became a teenager and my friends started dating, their boyfriends would say “I can’t live without you”. The first time I gave a talk on campus about sexual assault to my LGBT+ group I was asked about if it was abuse.
Growing up as someone with my own mental illnesses, I felt immensely guilty for having them. I associated the very act of telling people about my health with being a burden. Weirdly, I didn’t share this thought about other people. I knew that the majority of people who were suicidal weren’t abusive. But me?
But my abuser fucked me up in regards to myself. I didn’t want to become him. I didn’t want to be a burden. I was prevented from getting the help I needed for years because of the abuse.