10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Survivor/Victim of Abuse

All of these things have been said to me, and I don’t think they realize how much it actually hurts.

  1. “Stop making yourself out to be the victim.” Saying that to someone in recovery from being abused infers that they’re still a victim. There’s a difference in surviving abuse and being in recovery versus still being in the abusive environment. If I was still in the abusive environment/around it, it still wouldn’t give you a “right” to say this to me. Also, even if a person still refers to (his/her)self as a victim even though they’re a survivor, that’s none of your business, either. It takes a while to work up the courage to say, “Hey, I’m a survivor!”
    Although I’m no longer a victim of abuse, I’m still living through it daily via PTSD. I do consider myself a victim of that. And I hate it. I just want to get away from it, even if only for a day.
  2. “Stop living in the past.” If it’s all you know, it’s hard to live life without abuse in it. The person who was abused could have a(n) disorder/illness caused by the abuse and you wouldn’t know until you found out. Or if you do know, then you still can’t really justify that they’re just living in the past. It’s all that’s known. The past may be in the past, but I can’t erase my memories. My mind’s blocked out some things, but not everything.
  3. “One day you’ll be able to close this chapter in your life and forgive.” I’m not holding a grudge. I’ve forgiven, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget what happened to me. What I went through is the reason I am the way I am today. If I had never been abused, I don’t think I would have as much compassion for people as much as I do. Actually, people who don’t know I was abused and what I went through cannot adequately understand me. People who’ve never been abused/went through what I’ve went through will most likely never understand. The most I can do is educate people about abuse from my point of view and experience. I cannot change their perceptions.
  4. “There are other people who have it worse.” This gives the impression that my story is redundant and irrelevant and unimportant – as if it’s okay for me to have had to go through something I never wanted to go through. Sure, there’s always going to be a situation worse than another, but that doesn’t make said situation any less important. They’re all important. Being abused should never be a competition.
  5. “She’s your mother.”/”You have to forgive her.”/”You’ll always love her.” There are many couples in this world that would have loved to have me as a child because they cannot have kids, just want to adopt, etc. My mother was selfish, and although she received child support, I was always told my dad never paid it. She lied and neglected me. Her husband, my step dad, abused me. They see nothing wrong with that. Just because she’s my mother doesn’t mean I have to love her. If you want to throw God’s views into this, I personally like to think that he has an exception for abuse victims and survivors and wouldn’t be upset that I don’t want to love her. Unfortunately, I do love her, and that is the problem. This is the same as telling me, “Well, back then, parents __________, and it didn’t matter.” Since when was abuse okay?
  6. “My boyfriend abused me for 2 years, and I’m over it. You can’t be hurting as much as I am.” Sorry to hear that, but I was abused for over a decade. Time doesn’t judge pain caused by abuse. In fact, I don’t think it can. That would be like me telling you you can’t possibly hurt as much as I have because you were only abused for 2 years. I could also throw in that you didn’t lose your entire childhood to abuse. Either way, it would still be inconsiderate of me to say those things to you.
  7. “I feel sorry for you.” Why? This doesn’t change anything aside from the fact that I think maybe I should feel sorry for myself – and helpless. You can be sorry, but there’s nothing you can do to change what happened. No one can ever change what happened in the past.
  8. “Just ignore them.”/”What they’re saying doesn’t matter and isn’t true, so stop letting it affect you.” When you hear something so much, you can’t just zone it out. Ignorant people are the ones who say things like, “Just deal with it,” because they can’t wrap their brains around it. They’re uneducated, so maybe they think it makes them sound smart. But ignoring problems only results in said problem growing bigger somewhere down the road.
  9. “You’re just telling people what happened to you because you want attention.” I tell people what happened and whatnot because I hope to help educate them. Before I started over, I received traffic from people searching about abuse and whatnot. THAT is why I blog about it. Somehow, someday I may help educate someone enough to get help/get out/help someone else get help/etc. People handle it differently, though. Some do better talking about it. I don’t really like talking about things, so blogging helps. I’m educating people on abuse through my blog in some little way. Even if I didn’t, I’d still be sharing it with the world. It helps me feel like I’m putting it out “there”, in the crowd, LOUD and CLEAR that abuse exists and should be taken into concern and consideration, not tucked away in a box with “TABOO” written on it. I’m making it loud. I need people to know that abuse isn’t okay, and this is the only way I know how.
  10. “You’re lying. I know [insert name(s)], and they said they never abused you.” People who knew never did anything about it. I know what happened to me, and according to the Texas State Law, I was abused. From this document, I apply to 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 4A, 4Bi, 4Bii, 4Biii1, not sure about 4C2. Hopefully that gives you some reading material. The problem with abusers is that they don’t know they’re abusing/doing wrong; they see it as something that is completely fine, yet they still want to keep it in the family.

 

  1. Unless you consider junk food all the time okay to eat; not really pushing this one, unless making me go without dinner because I disagreed with/wouldn’t ____ for a good reason is considered abuse.
  2. I ran away because I was terrified they were going to kill me. They called the police, and the Seagoville policeman just said to “beat her because she deserves it”.

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Comments on this post

Robin’s gravatar

On the subject of your mother…I believe that being family and being biologically related are two different things. I don’t blame you for not loving this person as a mother.

It’s always easy for a person to talk about forgiveness when they did not go through a situation. They may have also been abused by someone, but THEY are not YOU and did not experience things from your exact point of view.

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Stephanie’s gravatar

I just read this post, and the last two posts, and agree that people are just damn ignorant and don’t understand psychological disorders. But I think that that will change in the future, when people learn that psychological disorders are a disease – they’re not normal, and they’re a bit out of your control. But instead of crippling your legs or arms, they cripple your emotions instead. I think that you should go create a nonprofit to raise awareness about psychological disorders. (Maybe some of your old posts can be compiled into a website so that people can learn.)

I know that you’re afflicted with MDD and PTSD right now, but I honestly and truly believe that you will overcome both of them. It won’t be easy, and it’ll take time. But I know that you’ll do it.

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Kristine’s gravatar

OMG, yes! This post speaks to me because I can relate to everything you’ve mentioned.

I have heard so much of #5. People think I’m the bad person for hating my father aka the bane of my existence, but little did they know about the abuse he’s done. Also, my mom is just as guilty and I think she doesn’t deserve any respect for abandoning me. My relatives have the twisted perception that I am a horrible person for talking back to my mom and that my heart is filled with hatred.

No! I am just resentful towards her because she had let my sisters and I suffer years under the tyranny of her husband. I don’t care if she is the “bread-winner” and that she gives me “everything I want” (which is utter bullshit by the way) – fact of the matter is that she is a neglectful parent that just didn’t give a shit. -sigh-

This post definitely spoke to me, and unfortunately, brought back shit I have been trying to forget. (It’s okay, though!)

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Shiri’s gravatar

True. And the same goes for so many tragedies that we could have in our lives.. like the loss of someone close to us, or a certain traumatic event.. <3

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Jojo’s gravatar

I definitely agree with the list here. As a victim of domestic abuse myself, I can totally relate to this. Even reading your list was stinging me a little. Some people have said some of those things to me that were on your list but I can’t imagine hearing some of the harsher things on here in real life.

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