Why People Defend Abusive Parents

So many people are quick to defend abusive parents.  They may say they did the best they could, or you should forgive & forget what they did to you since they were abused as children so they didn’t know any better.  Others simply refuse to believe the abuse happened, accusing you of lying or exaggerating.


Why does this happen so often anyway?!  I have some thoughts..


If you notice, people who came from truly loving, functional upbringings aren’t the ones doing this.  They know what real, Godly love is, so this means they also know what it is not.  When you tell them horror stories of the abuse you endured, they normally are shocked & horrified that a parent could treat their own child that way.  Their parents never would have done such a thing to them, & they know that.  They won’t make excuses for the abuse or try to normalize it.  It’s wrong & they call it wrong.  They offer you love & support because they know that is the right thing to do.  They may not understand how you feel since they never endured such things, but even so, they empathize with you, & it hurts them you have been so mistreated.  I have two friends that I’ve known since Kindergarten & first grade.   One male, one female.  Both were raised by loving mothers, she had a very kind wonderful father & the his father physically abused his mother.  They have no personal experience with being abused narcissistic parents, yet they are very supportive & kind to me.


People who come from dysfunctional upbringings however act much differently.  They are the ones who are quick to say, “But those are your parents!  They won’t be around forever!”  “I’m sure they did the best they could!”  “They just don’t know any better!”


I can’t help but think this is because these people are triggered by your openness.  You discussing your painful childhood makes them think of theirs, & they aren’t willing to face theirs at all.  If they can shut you up, they can resume their denial of their own pain.  For years, my husband thought I should try harder with my parents.  Ignore their cruelty.  He made excuses for what they did.  At the same time, he was doing just that with his own abusive parents.  It took him many years before he would say anything even remotely negative about his parents, let alone admit his parents were abusive.


Some people also may recognize their own behaviors when you describe the abuse you endured, & they don’t want to face that either.  They may be abusing their child the same way you were abused, & don’t want to admit they are abusive or wrong. They like the control they have, & don’t want to lose it.


There are also others who can’t handle anything negative.  These are the same people who expect every book & movie to have happy endings, & they want the same from real life.  My mother is that way.  She hates anything negative.  These people don’t want to hear about your problems.  They want to hear only about light, fluffy, happy topics, ignoring anything bad or negative.   These people don’t seem to have good coping skills, so they avoid anything that is even mildly upsetting.  You discussing your pain is upsetting, so they don’t want to hear about it.  Unless you can share something light & happy with them, they don’t want you to talk about it with them.


Whatever the reason someone defends abusive parents, take it as a warning for you that this person is NOT safe to discuss your painful experiences with!



Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

7 responses to “Why People Defend Abusive Parents

  1. I use peoples reactions to “sift” relationships. I speak about the neglect and abuse I endured with very few people who are not known to me to also be survivors of abuse. Most of the time that conversation is just not necessary. But when it is, If they don’t believe me or if they make excuses (but she’s your mother, she’s had a hard life herself, etc.) for my abuser, I won’t be spending time with them. I’ve been through too much over too many years to hear anything other than “I’m sorry that was done to you”. That’s all I really need. I don’t expect other people to avoid my abusers or somehow come to my defense; I’m perfectly capable of defending myself. But I absolutely won’t tolerate being pressured into removing my boundaries or being accused of harming an abuser just by refusing to be abused again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Makes perfect sense to me! That’s a good idea. I haven’t done that deliberately, but I’ve done it too. When I’ve heard those same comments, I’ve pulled away from people who say them. I can handle a lot & rarely have a problem with difference in opinion with people unless they’re hateful about it. Comments like that though.. they’re so invalidating & cruel- they’re a red flag the person saying them isn’t someone I should be close to.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cindy

    Sil did that.Mil stabbed her in the back,and sil makes her out to be a saint.And the way she treats us,inc. the kids,her niece and nephew…how can she claim God and then act this way? It’s not kind or loving,then she wonders why we don’t want anything to do with her,and even that we’re the ones who should apologize.@@

    Liked by 1 person

    • So maddening & hypocritical as well. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    • My NM gossips about everyone. She criticizes and maligns her own children, children-in-law (and their families), grandchildren, sister, and friends. She uses manipulation to pit us against one another. And I’m the only one who will admit the truth and protect myself. My siblings wait on her, pay her bills, hover over her when she’s sick, and tell her she’s a great Mom. And they all blame me for NC. They may be able to live that way, closing their eyes to the truth and accepting that “that’s just the way she is”, but I can’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t blame you one bit. I saw that exact same scenario with my mother in-law. Everyone- her children, their spouses & grandkids- bought her act. I didn’t, went no contact & was the bad guy. Thank God my husband finally understood, his father may as well from things hubby has said, but no one else does. If they can live in that dysfunction, go for it. Not everyone can. Some of us need truth!

        Liked by 1 person

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