How are you supposed to feel when you hear your abuser is terminally ill?
This man was physically violent, an emotional bully, a drunk and a paedophile. He spent most of my childhood either administering a riding crop on bare skin, or behaving in ways I’m not prepared to mention here. I’m not saying there weren’t good times, but they were always overshadowed by wondering how long they would last, and how we were going to pay for them later.
This man tried to mow down my mother and me on a country road in the middle of the night: we had to climb the hedge to escape his car.
This man made me walk about 5 miles down those same country roads with him (also in the middle of the night) and the whole way he was telling me how he was going to kill himself at the other end, that there was a gun in his workshop. Made sure I knew he would probably shoot me first, without actually saying the words (kept reminding me how an old friend of his had killed his wife and himself several years before.) He laughed at me when we got there and the gun wasn’t loaded. Ha ha.
There are other things, too numerous, personal (and hideous) to mention, so, without going into any deeper details I’m wondering now, how I’m supposed to feel when I hear he doesn’t have long to live?
Part of me is viciously glad; part of me feels cheated that he’s going to get away with it, that the rest of my family are still in touch and presumably caring and supportive of him. Natural enough, given that he’s my younger brother’s father, but I feel guilty for that little stab of relief that I won’t have to spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder or being afraid to attend family events in case he’s there too.
I know I’m not expected to express regret for his illness, after all I didn’t get so much as a get well card when I was diagnosed with cancer and going through chemotherapy, but I always thought I’d soften a bit towards him if I heard something bad had happened.
I haven’t. Is that wrong?