A Note for Survivor Supporters

Those who have never experienced an abusive relationship assume that at the inception of one they would take charge and respond with empowerment immediately.

“I would NEVER allow that.”

But a domestic abuse truth is that its victims are groomed and conditioned from the beginning, through subtle yet effective behavior by the abuser, not to react any way other than submissively

with self-blame

and with involuntary forgiveness.

Also true is that the quiet, insidious, controlling abuses are typically introduced long before physical violence—if physical violence even becomes a component of the abuse. Sometimes it does not.

So even if you mean well, stepping into a survivor conversation with comments like:

“If they hit me even once I’d hit them back” or
“I’m packing my bags as soon as they lift a hand”

…may be true to you in this moment,

but can also be painful, condescending messaging to survivors who never asked or gave permission for the abuse they received.

You might think it could never happen to you.

We thought the same thing.

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