10 Excuses for not believing abuse victims–and why they are wrong

Foto: Ariel da Silva

Foto: Ariel da Silva

People will usually believe an abuse victim who has “proof” in the form of bruises or broken bones, but it’s not easy to “prove” that one has been emotionally, verbally, mentally or financially abused. As a result, so many of us who were tormented by an aggressive, violent and vicious narcissist are disbelieved when we try to get help or support. We are revictimized by people who accuse us of lying, exaggerating, or being the abuser ourselves because we spoke out.

When people don’t believe us, they have excuses that sound pretty reasonable, but ignore the reality. Here are some of the myths people will use for not believing the truth about abuse, as well as the corresponding truth:

1. Myth: “I’ve never seen that person abuse anyone.”

Fact: Most abuse occurs in private–and the abuser does that on purpose to protect their reputation. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

2. Myth: “They are such a great person, there’s no way they could be an abuser.”

Fact: One of the top criteria for a variety of predatory personality disorders is the ability to be charming as needed. Just because you are seeing a good side doesn’t mean there isn’t a bad side.

3. Myth: “They are always talking about their kids. Obviously they are a great parent.”

Fact: Abusers want you to envy them for their perfect children. Those children bring them attention. They might make a big deal out of showing off what a loving parent they are. That doesn’t mean they aren’t abusing their kids in private.

4. Myth: “They are a pastor, nurse, teacher, police officer, etc…, they are obviously a good person.”

Fact: Abusers come in all professions–including those where they can earn accolades and awards for their “goodness.” It doesn’t mean they are actually good people or that they aren’t abusers.

5. Myth: “She’s your mother. She loves you.”

Fact: Abusers come in all forms. Caylee Anthony would agree…if her mother hadn’t killed her.

6. Myth: “He goes to church and talks about his religion all the time, he must be a good guy.”

Fact: There is a high number of predators in the church. They are counting on you to believe that their attendance makes them good people. That makes it easier for them to take advantage of you.

7. Myth: “If it wasn’t physical, it wasn’t abuse.”

Fact: Abuse is more than physical. Many studies show that emotional abuse has longer lasting effects than physical. It can cause PTSD and haunt a person for life.

8. Myth: “They are so nice to me. There’s no way they are an abuser.”

Fact: Most abusers start out being extremely wonderful to their victims. The contempt and hatred doesn’t come out until the abuser has had their fill of the victim and gets bored. If they are still being nice to you, it’s because you haven’t gotten close enough to see the real person behind their superficial mask.

9. Myth: “The person speaking out is angry. They are obviously abusive and slandering the real victim.”

Fact: A narcissistic or sociopathic abuser is far more likely to remain calm and “level-headed” in the public. They don’t experience the emotions their victims feel.

10. Myth: “They were just abusive in that situation because the other person was a bad match for them.”

Fact: Irreconcilable differences are not the same as abuse. Normal people may not get along with each other, but might still be great people. Abusers do not change. They follow the same pattern with everyone they get close to.

and a bonus….

11. Myth: “They say you are lying and they never abused you!”

Fact: Good luck finding an abuser who admits to being one! Of course they deny it.

7 thoughts on “10 Excuses for not believing abuse victims–and why they are wrong

  1. I agree with all of the above, then u manicest it and try to make a valid point and u come across as an abuser.

  2. Because they have no emotions, only you look frazzled and crazy. This supports their lies, that you did everything they actually did.

  3. I am currently assisting a women who is being abused by her partner because he can. He threatens to report her to immigration if she tells on him. Lucky for her, she has a South African one year old child and can therefore have permanent residence on his birth certificate.

  4. I agree with all of the above. I’ve recently tried to support someone I know in leaving a narcissist, and the lengths the abuser is going to just amaze me! I know fully what this person is like as I’ve been her victim too. Even to the point of manipulating the young child to hack into private conversations. Sick.

  5. Love this article! Great words, Janet and A daughter!

    I’m always cautious though of people that blame their own abusive behavior on others. The only thing that comes across as abusive behavior is abusive behavior. My own abuser blames the me and the children for all of their own poor choices.

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