As a survivor of several abuses and abusers, I can tell you that there are many kinds of abuses in the world today…and many abusers. And yes, we all have compassion for the innocent victims. But, how many of us have stopped to think that most abusers learned their behaviors from the way that they were treated. In other words, the abusers were once the victims in many cases. Abuse cycles in families as children are the victims of abusive parents, family, or friends… then grow up to become abusive to their own children and others… who then grow up to be abusive to their children and others also. So, as we think about this vicious cycle of abuse, we have to realize that the abusers were probably innocent victims at one time.
In my previous post “MIRROR, MIRROR, on the wall…” I have listed several personality or character traits for those who are abusive as well as those who are non-abusive. Some may find that they have characteristics of both types. It is this pattern of being nice one moment, then explosive the next that seems to trap the victims into their situations. I know, because I experienced this trap in my own life. Now, I would hope that just seeing the list of these traits may bring a realization of how a person acts. Unfortunately, many abusers do not even see that they are abusive. They relate more to being a victim. Whether they visualize themselves as the victim of their past or they are in total denial to their real current behavior, we don’t know. My question to you is then,
“Does the fact that those former victims, who have learned abusive behaviors and then become abusers, make it any different? Does it change our opinion of abuse?”
Well, I can only tell you how I feel… The realization that my main abuser was abused as a child and had learned his behavior from his family was the thing that helped me to forgive him. But remember, forgiving is not forgetting. And forgiving does not mean that you have to have anything to do with your former abuser. But we have to forgive according to God and this just gave me more empathy for him and others like him to be able to forgive. However, it did not give me sympathy for abusers. It does not excuse abuse. The reason is that we all have a choice—we can choose to be angry, happy, or sad and we can choose to abuse or not abuse. We all have a choice. But one thing that we all have to do is forgive!
Hopefully, this blog will help some of you to take that step toward forgiveness…
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”