Mental Health.

What Not To Say To Abuse Victims Trying to Leave — Week 3.

“Abusers were abused”.

Write Mind Matters
3 min readJun 14, 2022


Photo by Patricia Zavala on Unsplash

Around four years ago I was suffering from terrible emotional flashbacks and phoned a friend for some support.

I was just out of an abusive relationship and when I tried to talk about it my friend suggested my abuser probably went through ten times the abuse I had been through. Ten times, really?

“Childhood trauma is NO excuse for abusive behaviour” — Bri & Nicole.

I was exhausted, not long home from SCBU (special care baby unit) with my newborn son, physically in pain from engorged breasts, had terrible cramps, and was a mental and emotional mess when I phoned my friend. The entire call was uncomfortable and I’ve since learned who better to phone.

I also had a 16-month-old baby girl who had known nothing but violence between her parents, and I was finally at the stage of protecting her and my premature son through the family court. I needed support, not judgement.

The line that abusers were abused makes an excuse for their actions and downplays the damage those actions have on victims. It’s a broad inaccurate statement and adds no value to the conversation around violence.

  • Not all abusers were abused.
  • Not all who were abused become abusive.
  • There are no excuses for abuse.

Family violence and intergenerational trauma lead to further violence, mental illness, and suicide. To end the cycle of violence in families and greater society, we need to stop avoiding the conversation by minimizing and denying abuse.

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

People who have not experienced family violence struggle to comprehend why those who are abused remain in the situation. Victims of abuse are physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained; add that to a trauma bond that rewires the brain to accept less than they deserve and you’ve got part of the answer.

Most importantly, know that unless their abuser is in jail or has passed away, there’s a very good chance the victim is still in danger of the abuser returning.

So little is understood about violence, and because abusers blame their victims, many true survivors are labelled abusers or avoided because nobody wants to hear about it. If it wasn’t for places like Medium, some of us would have no one to talk to.

If a friend reaches out to you during traumatic times, please keep your well-meaning advice to yourself, and just listen with the intent to understand as best you can.

Thanks for reading.❤

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Write Mind Matters

BA(psych), GradDipPsych(student), DipHlthSc(NatNut)|Parenting, personality disorders & trauma.