First off, I am so, so sorry that you are in this situation.
Secondly: from my admittedly amateur perspective, I’d say you have good reason to be scared. You’re living with an abusive man with a history of physical and emotional violence, who has a (I am inferring) terminal diagnosis and now a fucking gun.
Darling, you’d be stupid if you weren’t scared, and I seriously doubt you’re stupid.
The question is: what to do about it?
Here’s the catch: a restraining order likely won’t help. For one, your aunt would have to file the charges. For another, it won’t do her any good if they live together. Additionally, they’re hard as fuck to get without a previous record, and lastly, restraining orders actually appear to escalate the issue in a lot of cases.
So: what do, Anon?
Well, if you were asking me, I would say to contact a domestic violence line local to you. They’ll have vastly more training than myself, and will be much better situated to assist you. If nothing else, they’ll be able to provide you with practical support should you need it.
But you didn’t ask them, you asked me, so here’s what I’ll tell you to do:
Put your own oxygen mask on first.
That’s standard emergency response—essentially, in this case it means that you are only responsible for your own safety. That MUST be your priority. Your aunt has chosen—for whatever reason, and I am sure she has a few she believes are completely valid—to stay with a violent man.
So have you; but you have also come to the realization that he’s probably going to kill you, her, or himself one of these days.
So: save. yourself. first.
You’re the one with the situational awareness and objectivity. You can see the warning signs. You may want to help your aunt, but you should not do so if doing so compromises your own safety, because you will be no use to anyone—least of all her—if you’re dead.
Save. Yourself. First.
Read “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. Memorize the trigger signals for someone about to lose their shit. Have your aunt read it, if possible.
If you see those signals amping up, I need you to get the fuck out of the house. A neighbour. A friend. A shelter. A cardboard box in an alleyway. MY house. I don’t care, just get out.
Understand that your aunt may not follow you. Consider it a bonus if she does. Try to slip her a copy of the relevant passages of the book, or better yet, talk to her.
Explain your concerns. They’re valid. If she tells you, “you’re overreacting”, “you’re being dramatic”, she’s lying. She might believe the lie, but it is nevertheless a lie.
If you have a job, I’d like you to start a private banking account and sock away whatever you have to spare. This will be your “get the fuck out of dodge” fund. Open a credit card, if you have to. You’ll want enough for a week or so at a cheap motel or youth hostel.
Keep cash on you at all times, if possible. A smart technique is to sew a small pocket inside each of your bras. Tuck a $20 in each one, if you can. That way, if you have to run, you’ll have a little bit of money that he won’t know about.
If you can talk to your aunt, and do convince her to leave, the two of you will have to be extremely careful. As you say, this is a man with nothing to lose but his fucking mind, and that sounds like it’s already happening.
The plus side here—and this is a plus—is that if he’s dying of cancer, he hopefully won’t be an issue for very much longer.
Essentially, you just have to outlast him.
I hope this was able to help—and like I said, pleaseplease please call a local domestic violence line. They’ll be able to help you much better than I ever could.
And for the love of god check in with me every now and again. Otherwise, I am gonna give myself an ulcer worrying about whether or not you’re okay.
Stay safe, anon, and if there’s anything at all I can do to help, please let me know. <3