Should I call my abuser on his behavior, even though it's been over twenty years since we've last spoken?
My first boyfriend was very intelligent, very charming, and an abusive narcissistic psychopath. I was utterly engulfed by his manipulations and psychological bullying. It took me a couple years after we'd broken up for me to realize that our relationship had been a textbook example of an abusive situation (mentally, emotionally, and physically, even up to and including what I consider rape), and I have consistently ignored his attempts to get in touch with me.
Our year-and-a-half relationship was a horrible life-changing event for me. (Possibly pertinent: when we started dating, I'd just turned 16, and I'd literally never been kissed. He was 19 and had had eleven previous sexual partners. I am female.) It colored my interactions with men for many years, and left me traumatized and angry and scared. I'm not angry or scared anymore, however, and am happily married to a wonderful man. But I've written a letter to him, and don't know if I should send it or not.
He's tried to contact me a few times over the past twenty years. It might have been a little stalkery in the first couple years (he once showed up at a friend's mother's house at 7.00 AM asking after me, knocking on the door but refusing to identify himself), but no red flags in recent times. He last contacted me via Facebook about four or five months ago, calling me "old friend" and asking if we could get in touch. I ignored the message, but three days later I received a friend request (I promptly blocked him). I was incredulous. It was clear that he does not remember our involvement in the same way I do, and thinks a friendship might be possible between us.
My mother recently told me he'd also approached her via Facebook. She actually replied to him and said no, they were not going to ever be friends. When he asked her why, she said simply "You abused my daughter." He did not contact her again after that. He lives in the same town as she, but thankfully he's never gone to her house, called her, or approached her in person.
A twist: I've kept track of his whereabouts periodically, mostly because if he ever showed up in my city, I'd really want to know. I must explain that I think he's... slightly off mentally, and although I doubt he would harm me, I think there's a distinct possibility of some unpredictable behavior if we lived in the same area. I genuinely think he may be psychopathic to some degree (lack of empathy, grandiose sense of self-worth, extremely manipulative), but aside from that he's got a peculiar brand of spirituality. For example: when we were together he told me he was probably the messiah or perhaps some other spiritual leader of equal significance. He also believed that the band Rush were prophets and regarded their music/lyrics as a message from god. He's had at least two websites that read like garbled spiritual/religious tracts, sprinkled with some pretty odd claims. Perhaps most significantly, he attributed some mysterious significance to my presence in his life as well. So, yeah, there's that.
Anyway, the appeal of sending the letter is that he would hear from his abuse victim that he was undeniably abusive, a fact which I don't think has really occurred to him. Part of me really, really wants him to read it. And I think it would be therapeutic for me to finally say to my rapist: "You raped me." I also want to make it crystal clear to him that there is no possibility of friendship, and to again make the request that he not contact me or my family again. I am not looking for any particular reaction from him, and I have no intent to make him feel bad. But I want to have my say.
I would contact him via Facebook, since I have no email address for him, but keep him blocked. My husband wonders if I'd be opening up a can of worms, but there's really no way for him to contact me, and the fact that he lives 3,000 miles away is comforting. I would tell my mother I was sending him a letter beforehand, and let her know that if he does anything odd to tell him she'll call the police if she needs to. I don't think this would be necessary, though.
In the letter, I link to an abusive behavior checklist
and point out about 25 items that apply to his behavior during our relationship. I also list several things that I remember about the relationship that were particularly inappropriate or horrible, stated as fact. Content examples:
- He told me that he wanted me to be his disciple, and that he saw himself as my instructor; he wanted to mold me into his submissive counterpart. This manifested in him withholding affection and compliments unless he deemed me "worthy", and giving me the silent treatment.
- I walked on eggshells constantly; and I lived in fear that I would say something wrong, do something wrong, think something wrong.
- He used to question me about basic beliefs I held, then ridicule me until I reversed my position and was begging him to forgive me. He was far more verbally skilled than I was, and used this to his advantage.
- He threw things at me, physically restrained me, once made me sit in the bathroom while he shat, removed the condom when he didn't feel like wearing one (including the night I lost my virginity), and psychologically bullied and manipulated me into having sex with him. Once I had sex with him because I was pretty sure he would have hit me if I didn't.
- He had little to no empathy or compassion towards me for the majority of our involvement, and he did not have basic respect for me or who I was.
As I say, I have no intent to make him feel bad unnecessarily, and in the letter I tried to omit inflammatory or accusatory language. I tried to simply present my recollection of things while leaving out as much emotion as possible.
Should I send the letter or not?