I’ve noticed so many people are quick to judge victims of abuse for tolerating abuse. The nature of the relationship doesn’t seem to matter, the same things are said to victims. These judgmental people say things like, “Well *I* certainly wouldn’t have put up with being treated like that!”, “Just go no contact!” or, “Why didn’t you leave sooner?”
This post is for those people who are quick to judge, & need a lesson on the reality of what it’s like to be abused.
Unless a person has been subjected to the effects of daily, intense gaslighting, they truly don’t know what they would do in that situation, & have no right to judge a situation they can’t understand.
Abusers use gaslighting to convince their victims that they can’t make it in life without their abuser. Abusers convince their victims that they are so stupid & incapable that they need the abuser to help them navigate through life. Not even the most highly intelligent people are immune to this.
They also convince their victims that no one cares about them other than the abuser. People only talk to them because they are trying to be nice, not because they really care, abusers say. They also create doubts in victims’ minds about their loved ones by saying things like, “She isn’t really a good friend to you.” “He doesn’t care about you yanno.” When an abuser says such things with conviction, & a victim hears such things often enough, they believe them no matter how much evidence to the contrary they may see.
Abusers also are very good at convincing their victims that if they would try just a little harder, the abuser would threat the victim better. Watch a young child with an abusive parent, & you will see this clearly. The meaner the parent is, the harder the child works to please that parent. Adults aren’t immune to this behavior though. During my first marriage, I did this with my ex husband. The problem with this behavior is whatever the victim does is never good enough. Abusers are notorious for changing what they say they want, raising that bar a bit higher once the victim does what they originally said they wanted, or denying ever wanting that thing their victim just did. A person unaware of this manipulative & abusive behavior will keep trying to please their abuser, which leads to utter frustration in the victim & satisfaction in the abuser for having such control over the victim.
There’s also the fact that most people don’t want to end relationships with those closest to them, & abusers are usually those closest to the victim. Deciding to end a romantic relationship is a big deal, especially when abuse is involved because the victim is going to feel like a failure or stupid for falling for someone abusive. If the abusive relationship is a parent/child relationship, that is incredibly hard to end too. Who can feel completely comfortable telling their parents they never want to see them again?!
Lastly, many abusers prevent their victims from leaving. They often take the victim’s money & ruin that person’s credit, making it impossible for the victim to leave. They make the victim completely financially dependent on them. They threaten to take the couple’s kids away so the victim never will see them again. Some have been known to lock their victims in their home, making them a prisoner. And, still others threaten to kill either the victim, their pets, their children, their friends or family if the victim leaves.
After considering all of this.. can you honestly still wonder why victims tolerated the abuse as long as they did?