This is a post about a contentious topic: abusive people, so I’ll say straight away I talk from a view-point of someone who has witnessed abuse [as a child and teenager], as someone who has been in various forms of abusive relationships, and someone who has unintentionally caused abuse.
Fun fact: Not a one of those cancels out the other. I did not stop being a victim because I was a victimiser (an abuser). I did not become a victim nor abuser knowingly. I would bet my last pound that when you read ‘someone who has been in an abusive relationship’ and straight after ‘someone who has unintentionally caused abuse’ you think of them immediately as separate circumstances or events; the point is, whether they were or not, shouldn’t be what gets called in to question: at what point, then, does someone who’s been hit get to hit back? There’s a thin line between self-defence and ‘waiting til you can’t be called an abuser’ and I’ve known both types.
Do I believe there are people who have not suffered abuse in their life-time yet still like to, being fully aware of themselves as individuals and not just imitators of behaviour they haven’t questioned, abuse others? …well, I might, if I had ever met someone where the criteria matched. As it is all of the people I have known, whether it be from living with them, being friends with them, or talking to them (and I’m aware of the potential for lies to be more easily thrown into it when you don’t have the opportunity to catch someone out in a short space of time), have been thrown in front of a bus, so to speak, before they started throwing others in front of a bus. And whether they started doing it because they’re angry or because it’s the way they’ve been socialised (or both) – there’s the identified issue.
Angry people with no outlet and no ability to work out their behavioural issues without further reprimand and isolation. People who are repeating their behaviour and suddenly they’re being told they can’t act that way when it’s all they’ve known because no one else wanted to step in earlier until they were the ones being affected. This isn’t an apology; this is a call to say that the use of dichotomies has got to stop; in an ideal world, there’d be no abusive people at all, but as it is, the world we’re currently living in doesn’t just have ‘victims or abusers’. Yes, get current victims out of their circumstances, but stop pretending that no research has been done on why abusive people exist. You want to remove a person suffering abuse, great. That is not the only problem to exist. It does not erase abusive people from existence; it does not change what their existence is or has been, and life will go on with them looking for people to abuse, because ‘control’ and ‘power’ are consequences of teachings of interaction.
Yes, condemn a person for being abusive, but you can’t condemn that as their whole personality until you can prove to me they’ve wanted to and worked toward being that since they were young and it is utterly unchangeable.
‘Killing with kindness’ here refers to turning a blind eye to another victim, who can be shunned and ignored because you can’t see – and chances are never will know if their trauma is that tightly packed up – their perpetrator[s]; because this is the second type of victim: the one who no one got to in time in the first place, and now it is to everyone’s convenience to pretend they were always that way. Too, let’s not pretend that the more preferable type of survivor is the one who is gratuitiously swooning under being rescued to the mainstream; most people don’t care for the stories of survivors who manage to dust themselves off afterwards quicker than others and get going again, who are grateful for those who were near when they needed them but aren’t planning to spend the rest of their life simpering about it. Too, let’s not pretend that the world really is based on people destined to be victims and those destined to be abusers. By the time we care to see victims who have become abusers it’s only to see them as destroyers – and often, the sad truth is, we don’t want to try and change people who are hard work.