For more than 10 years, I was best friends with an abusive, controlling man, “Matt.” In my early 20s, I moved to a new city to be closer to him and collaborate together. He put down my appearance and personality and denigrated any friendship I had that wasn’t with him. He also dealt with extensive, episodic bouts of depression. About eight years ago, I started gradually cutting him out of my life, a sort of slow-motion ghosting. Six years ago, I moved to another city. He sought me out before I left and tried to get me to reminisce, but I said I just didn’t feel that close to him anymore. Only after that did I really start to realize how much he’d hurt me.
Two weeks ago he sent me a Facebook message, and I didn’t respond. A week later, he sent a long, accusatory message about how I’d wronged him, how I’d deceived him by “giving up on our dream,” and how cruel I was for cutting him off, then complained he was going through a breakup and the fallout of a DUI. I told him he needed to seek comfort from someone else and that he had belittled me for years, and then I blocked him. I found out that a few days later he attempted suicide, telling his family that I had told him to “fuck off” when he reached out to me for help. A few people have called and asked for my version, and I’ve told them. I don’t even think his version is that far from the truth. I just don’t care. Did I do something unconscionable? Should I have sucked it up and shown more compassion for this person whom, frankly, I have nothing but contempt for?
—Am I Responsible?