There is No Excuse For Loved Ones Who Keep Positive Connections With Your Abuser(s)

People who do this are no better than the abusers themselves

image by Jackson Simmer from

Innumerable people throughout our culture downplay abuse, rationalize it, sweep it under the rug, look the other way, and even in some cases, claim it was not even abuse.

Either way, a lot of people continue to purposefully maintain a seemingly positive relationship with the abuser.

This is part of why abuse continues to run rampant throughout our society. Because far too many people do not hold abusers accountable. Instead, we rationalize away what they did. We downplay it. We “let it go.” We keep them in our life.

And guess what?

This makes the people who maintain positive connections with these abusers, also an abuser themselves.

Yes, you read that right. You need not directly physically, emotionally, or verbally abuse someone to be an abuser. If you condone abuse by maintaining a relationship with someone you know abuses other people, especially people you care for, then you are also an abuser.

These are people who ultimately enable and accept someone else abusing another person, by means of their continued relations with such a person. And this is the same thing as being an abuser themselves. They are an abuser too, just once removed.

It’s the same concept as “there are no innocent bystanders.” By nature of being a bystander, this implicates you to act. As a bystander, you are now automatically involved, whether you like it or not. And if you say nothing, do nothing? You are a not-so-innocent bystander. You are allowing it to happen. You have a hand in it. You are enabling it.

If we choose to continue relations, to rationalize away, or even side with icky, physically, sexually, or emotionally abusive, cruel people who hurt others…well, this says something about the person who wants to remain in that connection, especially if they are under no physical threat themselves.

We live in a culture where abusers are not just routinely forgiven, but even, are protected and revered. A culture that allows abusers to run wild. A society that is, by and large, silent. An enabling bystander to all of it.

This is a form of abuse by proxy. These people might not be doing the abusing directly, but they are allowing it, so they are abusing in their own way.

Think about it. Pretend you had a close friend or other loved one who either horribly abuses their dog, beating and starving it, or allows their own child to be sexually abused and did nothing to report the perpetrator. You knew, but you did nothing. This means you allowed that abuse to happen. You did nothing to stop it. Thus, you are also an abuser, but in a different form.

Our culture protects predators and shames victims. From wives being told that they need to change so their husbands will stop hitting them, to children being told to “let it go” when they are victimized, to blaming women for being murdered by their husbands for supposed trespasses to fragile egos, we blame victims. We shame victims into silence to save face and to keep the peace.

Do you know what else we do? By allowing abuse to happen, by dismissing and downplaying it, and by shaming victims, this also makes us abusers in a different way. People who do these things are not much better than the actual perpetrators.

Consider Charles Manson. He never murdered anyone. And yet, he absolutely was a killer (check out Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi for a wild ride). The same concept applies.

You need not smack someone around, or rape them, or emotionally or physically abuse them, to be an abuser. If you downplay, enable, or dismiss the abuse? You are an abuser too.

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store