Not so simple

When someone shares a traumatic experience with you, telling them that you would never tolerate that or that you don’t understand why they still love that person isn’t at all helpful. Those situations are far more complicated than most people realize. Love / hate happens all the time, and usually it happens when someone has been abused as a child. They don’t know what “normal” looks like. For example, they got sexually abused by someone they were taught to love, like a parent or grandparent. That person isn’t awful to them all the time, so they wind up feeling so confused and conflicted. They grow up and encounter other people who abuse them, but not all the time and they don’t know what normal is so it feels like love hurts, and they keep trying to do things differently so that person will treat them right, because they’re used to being blamed for their own mistreatment. So instead of immediately jumping to that conclusion and judging that person for being in that type of situation, try understanding why they’re in it in the first place. It can happen to anyone, even someone who appears to be strong on the outside.

7 Comments

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Agreed

Aug 1, 2022 at 8:55am

We tend to shift all blame to the victim by asking, “why didn’t you leave?” rather than holding abusers accountable.

You do a great job of describing the things that keep people stuck in these relationships, including trauma bonding and the difficulty of recognizing abuse as abuse when it has been woven into the fabric of your life from a young age.

Some resources for people who want to better understand abuse and coercion and break out of the victim-blaming mindset include Dr. Ramani’s YouTube channel, cult recovery resources such as the podcast A Little Bit Culty or Janja Lalich’s book Take Back Your Life, and the Netflix series MAID.

6 0Rating: +6

Yeah

Aug 1, 2022 at 10:43am

I have an ex who was physically abused by his father and spoiled by his mother, he had strange attitudes about a lot of things. When I tried to relate, talking to him about the psychological abuse I suffered from my mother when I was a kid. He couldn't understand where I was coming from. In his mind only physical abuse counted as abuse and moms were the good guys. He couldn't understand why I was so distant from my mom and kept lecturing me on how I should try to be closer to her. Needless to say, we broke up.

4 0Rating: +4

Hurt

Aug 1, 2022 at 11:02am

Sounds like my job.

3 0Rating: +3

In this world

Aug 1, 2022 at 1:13pm

That is normal relationships, it's just not healthy relationships which seem to far in between. :(

0 4Rating: -4

This

Aug 1, 2022 at 9:55pm

Is very true.

2 0Rating: +2

There is rarely ever accountability

Aug 1, 2022 at 10:09pm

Even for those who recognize the signs and try breaking the cycles. Nobody wants to hear a victim's story until it's too late including so-called reputable persons. They're all too busy neglecting, questioning, blaming & shushing victims who come forward to deny hearing about qualities that may exist within themselves. Them not understanding is barely scratching the least of the surface worries, real freaks out there will believe you deserved it and try to keep you in place, siding with abuser over victims.

10 0Rating: +10

@there is rarely

Aug 2, 2022 at 2:14pm

I think one of the worst aspects of living through this type of abuse is the refusal of so-called friends or even family members to listen or even sympathize. So frequently it’s just a judgemental response that makes the victim feel even more ashamed for having tolerated it at all. So this allows the perpetrator to carry on abusing more people because they’re rarely held accountable. The level of damage they can cause to multiple victims throughout their lifetime is massive. This is even more true when the type of abuse is mental rather than physical, because the scars they leave aren’t visible from the outside. I’m so damaged that I doubt I’ll ever trust anyone enough to get into another relationship. Not that they’d want me anyway because my life is a mess.

5 0Rating: +5

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