Tag Archives: empathize

Stop Asking Victims To Feel Compassion For Abusers!

There are so many victims who have been told, scolded really, that they need to have compassion on & even feel pity for their abusers.  People say stupid things like, “You can’t get mad at him!  He just doesn’t know better because his father did the same thing to him!”  “That is your mother & if you really were a Christian like you say you are, you wouldn’t get mad at her!  You would honor her!”

Some people who say such stupid comments are well meaning, yet ill informed.  Mostly though, such people are quite aware of their comments & the effects they have.  Their goal is to shut their victim down by invalidating or shaming them.  Maybe they have their own abusive past, & your situation reminds them of theirs.  Being too cowardly to face their own demons, they attempt to shut you down instead.  Or, maybe they have bought the narcissist’s “good guy/gal” act, & you speaking the truth threatens that.  Rather than face the ugly truth, they try to shut you down so their delusion can stay in tact.  I’m sure there are countless reasons that people say such cruel remarks.  These are only a couple of possibilities.

I don’t think that people who say such ludicrous statements stop for one second to consider the ridiculousness of their words, only the effect they wish to have.  I mean, what sense does it make to feel pity for someone who deliberately causes you pain?  This actually reminds me of something my father told me.  When he was 15, he was driving home one night when the local drunk hit his car head on, flipping his car over into a ditch.  My father nearly died from the traumatic brain injury, yet people told him he should feel sorry for the man who hit him.  Think about that for a second.. people said he should feel sorry for the man who decided not only to get drunk, but to get behind the wheel of his car in that condition, endangering everyone else on the road & nearly killing my father.  Why feel sorry for him rather than my father who lived with lifelong health problems stemming from this man’s poor choices?!  As far as I know, the situation with my father didn’t even stop this man from driving drunk.  Maybe if someone had confronted him, & made him realize the depths of the problems his actions caused, he might have stopped driving drunk.

They are also supporting someone’s choice to hurt other people.  How does this make any sense at all?!  No normal, functional person would support someone who deliberately chooses to hurt another person.  They know what it’s like to hurt, & don’t want others to feel that way.

Instead of encouraging victims to feel compassion for their abusers, why not support a victim who has had the courage to escape the abuse & tell their story?  Tell them they are brave & strong.  Tell them you admire them for having the strength & fortitude to survive what they have experienced.  Encourage them to share their story in whatever way will help them & hopefully also will help raise awareness.  Listen to them.  Validate them.

And if you somehow end up talking to an abuser, don’t excuse what they did.  Abusers need to know what they did was bad & why.  They also need to know that they hurt their victim & there was no good reason to do it.  They need to be aware of the fact that to abuse another person is a choice, just like being good to another person is a choice, & they chose the wrong thing to do.  Hold this person accountable!  Maybe doing so will open their eyes somehow & make them see that they need to make some changes in their behavior.  It’s certainly worth a try though, isn’t it?

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

How Do You Treat Those Who Are Suffering?

I was talking with a good friend recently.  She told me about something traumatic that happened to her a while back.  She also said that many of her friends & relatives told her that she needed to get over it & trivialized her awful experience, rather than offer her compassion & support.  Naturally, it upset her badly that people she expected to be compassionate were instead cold & unfeeling.

Unfortunately I understand her feelings all too well.  Since I got sick at the end of February, I’ve experienced this same thing first hand more times than I can count, starting at the hospital.  Apparently even a potentially deadly illness isn’t enough to warrant compassion from most people.

There is a terrible lack of love, empathy & compassion in the world today.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “1 But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].  2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.  3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.  4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.  5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].”  (AMP)

I firmly believe this is what is happening today, why people are so indifferent to the suffering of others.  Look at how people behave.  Money & things mean more than people & relationships.  Animal & child abuse are commonplace, as is hypocrisy.  And most importantly, God is rarely invited into, well, anything.  Not many people have God as their top priority in life.  Without God, it’s impossible to truly love people God’s way- full of compassion, caring, & great empathy.

Dear Reader, I’m certain you have been on the receiving end of this hurtful type of behavior. Your pain has no doubt been trivialized or even invalidated.  (This is especially common for adult children of narcissistic parents, since our parents didn’t always leave bruises or broken bones like physically abusive ones did, & they act like good people around everyone but their own children.)

While there is certainly no way to control how people act & completely avoid their coldness, you can remember that a person who acts this way has a problem.  That will help you not to internalize their words, thinking something is wrong with you for being upset over whatever trauma you experienced.  You need to remember that, because you are not wrong, crazy, oversensitive, etc. for being upset when something bad happens to you.

And, also remember that people with problems naturally turn self-centered to varying degrees.  Some people become so self-centered that they don’t have it in them to care about others who are also suffering.  Remembering this too will help you not to internalize being treated so poorly.

I would like to also encourage you to consider how you react when someone tells you about a painful or traumatic experience.  Do you offer compassion?  Empathize with their pain?  Or, are you so wrapped up in your own problems you refuse to see anything or anyone except what relates directly to you?

If you are the type to have a hard time empathizing when you too are suffering, it may be time to change that.  Aside from the fact that behavior can be hurting others, being good to others also is good for you.  It takes your mind off your problems, even if only temporarily.  You also may learn that this person & you share a common problem, & now you have someone to talk about your problems with.  You may be able to help each other!

Don’t know how to change this about yourself?  Ask God for help.  Ask Him to increase your empathy, to make you more aware of the feelings of others  & to give you wisdom on how to help those He puts in your path & wisdom with your words.  God will honor your prayer, & bless you for wanting to help others.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Narcissism