Story by Maaya Mohan
It has been seven years of my parents' divorce which meant an end to the abusive environment in our family. Unfortunately, things only turned harder as my brother became a gut-wrenching example of violence.
It didn't surprise me because it started way back when we were little, but everyone brushed it off saying we were kids.
As we grew older, he started verbally and emotionally abusing and found ways to hit me. He even hit our mother and grandma with a broom.
Once, he was so mad that he hit me with a curtain hanger pipe. He probably used me as a source to release all his frustration at.
Days later, he acted as if he remembered nothing. He questioned about the bump on my forehead. I told him that he hit me, but he denied and acted confused.
I thought he suffered from a mental illness. But, I realised his pattern of gaslighting as he tried that trick on me all the time - denial of things he did and accusing me of words I never uttered.
It was 2012. One night, I couldn't sleep. So, I went out and started watching the TV on a low volume. My brother woke up and blamed me for disrupting his sleep. He went away for a moment and I decided to return to my bed.
He came back and stood behind me. As I got up and was about to make my way to my room, he blocked me and tried to snatch my phone. As I revolted back, he forced my hands behind and pushed me to the wall.
His nails dug into my skin. While I kept asking what he wanted, he kept cursing me. My mother woke up and rushed to us only to tell me to stop aggravating him.
Finally, after hearing enough curses and receiving no support from my mother, I moved out from the house in 2018 after a month when I turned thirty.
A year after moving out, I realised the intensity of the abuse when I started noticing a certain amount of passive behaviour from my boyfriend and stumbled upon a video on narcissistic abuse on youtube.
I was truly stunned to acknowledge that I was the scapegoated, codependent child who naturally gravitated towards the same emotionally unavailable and abusive, covert narcissist. This realisation made me part ways from him for our betterment.
I started learning about specific abuse dynamics. Back at home, my brother's abusive nature escalated since I moved out. In December 2019, my mother called and decided to move in with me and I straightforwardly said no. For the first time, I voiced against my mother and took a stand for myself. I cut off contacts with my family.
I was so determined to save myself that I gathered the strength to bear the momentary suffering of losing them. It hurt more because she pretended to be on my side as I begged for her love which I never received.
Now, I'm on my journey of healing. Life has been tough with sudden triggers and many hurdles. But, what matters is I'm at peace away from all the toxicity. With time, I realised life's worth living.
Since the past year I've been very vocal about my life. I have built my capability of sitting with my emotions and let it be. I want to reach out to people, especially girls so they believe that it's possible, hard, but possible to be happily away from all the chaos.