Love + Sex, Love

My boyfriend held me hostage in the relationship, until I told his family

The feeling of shock from reading the text is still fresh in me. And it wasn't the only time he did it.

Editor’s Note: Some of the occurrences below may be triggering or upsetting to readers. 


I stared at my phone, reading the text that he sent me two days ago. It was a simple text, just a sentence of words. But it was so powerful. Those words could affect how I feel and act. Receiving the text already brought the uneasiness in me, I couldn’t even describe the horror reading it.

“Just wondering how it feels like and how would you feel if I drive over that cliff over there.”

With that text, there was a picture attached. A picture of his hand holding the wheel, not far from the edge of the cliff coastline.

The feeling of shock from reading the text is still fresh in me.

I can still feel it. Foolishly, I bought it. I called him immediately and spent hours, begging him not to do it. I tried as hard as I could, convincing him that I would never leave him again. In the end, his threat worked.

As usual.

Not long before that, we’d had another fight. It was a big, serious fight but that wasn’t unusual. Him sending a suicide threat via text wasn’t unusual either. As messed up as it sounds, it became a routine.

I couldn’t say I got used to it, but that was what I expected from him.

Our relationship started just like any normal relationship. It was all romantic and sweet at first, but then we found a lot of differences and we couldn’t compromise. Things became complicated. I did love him very much, but some things just couldn’t work no matter how much we tried. There was no point in keeping this relationship going, even if I wanted it.

It was like a dagger to his heart the moment I said: “I can’t do this anymore.” I still remember his face and his reaction. It was a mixture of shock, disbelief, and brokenness. He begged me not to leave him, but I had no choice. I walked away, leaving the love of my life.

Not long after that, I got a text. A text saying goodbye to me… and the world.

I was terrified.

My hands were trembling with fear as I read that text. I quickly rushed to his place and tried to calm him. In the end, we reconciled even though I could feel it wasn’t right. I knew that it was never going to work, but I couldn’t bear the guilt if he committed suicide because of me. With reluctance, I gave in and hoped for the best.

It continued for what felt like forever.

We fought almost all the time. Every time I reached the point when I needed to end the relationship, he lost his mind. He threatened suicide, by any means. Noose, blade, or even bullet. There were more methods he threatened and all of them were horrifying.

He gave me two choices: either stay in this miserable relationship with him or live my own life knowing that his had ended because of me.

Either way, he’d still win.

Sometimes I did think it was just his trick to hold me hostage. I’ve never seen any sign of self-harm, like scars or fresh cuts. I did check in his car and room every time I came over, just to make sure there was no sharp object hidden.

I never found any and I was always relieved.

But he kept giving me the same ultimatum. Every time he did it, I forgot about everything, even myself. The only thing on my mind was the fear of his action next. No matter how much I wanted this relationship to be over, I still cared about him. But I was living in a nightmare of intense anxiety.

I made my decision.

I’d had enough. He’d been anchoring himself to me for way too long, dangled his life in front of my face too many times. I couldn’t let him toy with my emotions and guilt-trip me all the time. In the back of my mind, I knew it was emotional abuse.

I’d been trapped in an abusive relationship.

I called his family and told them everything. Self-harm and suicide were still serious threats and I couldn’t neglect that. But there was no way I could stay in this relationship any longer. If he thought that he could tie his life to me staying, then he was wrong. His threats wouldn’t work on me anymore. And I was sure his family would know what to do about him.

I always thought that leaving him would be the best decision.

I had to do the typical breakup things people do – blocking numbers and cutting off all the communication.

Once I did, I knew I was right.

I couldn’t be freer.


If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, check out the resources below:

* Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255). Here is a list of international suicide hotlines.

* People who are deaf or hard of hearing can reach Lifeline via TTY by dialing 1-800-799-4889 or use the Lifeline Live Chat service online.

* Text TALK to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free counseling.

* Call the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Hotline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), for free, confidential support for substance abuse treatment.

* Call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), for confidential crisis support.

* Call Trevor Lifeline, 1-866-488-7386, a free and confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ+ youth.

7 Cups and IMAlive are free, anonymous online text chat services with trained listeners, online therapists, and counselors.


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