Anonymous said: how can you tell if someone is projecting and acussing a vcitim of what they do? like in the case of a couple saying the other is abusive how can you tell which one is telling the truth and which one is a manipulative liar?

dear anon,

this is a hard, hard, hard question - one that organizations that serve abuse victims continue to struggle with. a friend of mine works at a women’s shelter, and she shared the screening tool they use there to assess abusive situations. here’s a PDF of a presentation by The Network/La Red that works to answer this question. what happens if both the abuser and the victim both contact an organization for help? what if it’s hard to tell who’s who? how should we respond?

here are some of the major takeaways from this document:

  • mutual abuse is a myth - partner abuse is never mutual. self defense is not the same as abuse.
  • this can be complicated by the fact that abusers often see themselves as victims
  • victims may have been forced into a corner, meaning they have had to use coercive or manipulative strategies or fought back as survival mechanisms. this does not make them abusers.

so, what to do? the reason this document is used as a training module is because it has taken a lot of people who make it their professional work to answer these questions, providing the best support possible. i’m not going to suggest that you use the screening tool in your day-to-day life, since it takes time to become familiar with the kind of listening that leads you to recognize domestic violence while also noting abusive tactics.

the questions are continuous, and new information may present itself at any time. questions of who committed the abuse aren’t always clear-cut, which is why the screening tool suggests paying attention to 6 factors:

  • context, intent, and effect of actions
  • empathy
  • agency
  • assertion of will
  • entitlement
  • fear

HERE is an extremely helpful post from back in 2012. I recommend reading it in full for more information about being a third party.

Long story short, if you don’t know the truth, don’t insert yourself into the situation in such a way that it adds unreasonable distress and discomfort. Generally speaking, abusive situations often become less opaque over time, but the possibility exists that you might never know. Conduct yourself in the manner that is the least intrusive. The only thing you can hope to do is avoid causing additional harm.

Tags: Anonymous


#whyistayed is trending or whatever, and I think it’s great that victims/survivors are sharing their stories and perspectives on their own terms.

That said, we still don’t owe anyone answers. And I still think people are gonna take this as another opportunity to break us up into “good victims” and “bad victims”

I stayed for so many reasons, and I don’t think any of them would classify me as a “good victim”. I hold the patriarchy almost entirely responsible. But on a more personal level, I stayed because I wasn’t ready to leave. I left when I was. And that doesn’t make me any less deserving of compassion or respect or support.


we as a society need to start talking about abusive friendships, bc those exist and seem to be really common

and most people in them dont know how do deal w the abuse bc its normally emotional abuse which.gets delegitimized, and its a platonic relationship and not a romo or sexual one, so it gets delegitimized for that too

(via secretandroid)


  • Abusers can do nice things for people they are not abusing.
  • Abusers can do nice things for people that they are abusing.
  • Abusers can otherwise seem like nice, caring, supportive people when they are not actively abusing someone.
  • It does not mean they’re not fucking abusers.

(via small-black-flowers)


Realizing I’m operating in my romantic relationship as though I’m still in an abusive relationship. I’m afraid to ask for anything I want in a relationship because I’ve been groomed to believe that not even getting, but just asking for what I want is abusive, that doing anything other than exactly what my partner wants is abusive, and that it’s up to me to figure out what my partner wants. I’m still afraid that I’m with someone who will spend the first several months together saying they want one thing but will turn around later and reveal that they wanted the complete opposite and blame me for not knowing.

Anonymous said: on the subject of forgiveness what's a good way of saying just b/c u forgive someone doesn't mean u need to let them back into your life. i feel like ppl around me use forgiveness as a tool to force victims to go back to their abusers and when the victim refuses to go back they claim they aren't forgiving.I always say to people that you could forgive a friend for robbing your house but that doesn't mean you go back to being friends or let them near your house (the house being ur feelings ) but

[pt. 2] i don’t think this is a good enough analogy since every time i say this it goes over people head

Really our culture spends too much time focusing on how survivors/victims should behave and feel and rarely any time reflecting on how abusers should behave.

No one is obligated to forgive anyone for anything. If someone WANTS to forgive, that’s fine and that’s their own choice. But survivors/victims of abuse should not be told to, or expected to forgive.

I personally find it very damaging for me to forgive my abusers and quite therapeutic for me to be angry. That’s not to say that everyone needs the same thing I do. Just that everyone is different, there’s no one way to do things, and we should be supporting survivors/victims in however they cope or react to abuse (as long as they’re not abusing other people in the process, of course). We should not be telling them, or even giving them advice on how to cope or react unless they specifically say they want advice.

Our culture often tells survivors/victims to “forgive and forget” while at the same time victim blaming them for staying with an abuser. They can’t win. Personally, every time I gave an abuser a second chance, I just got abused more. Whether it was abusive exes, abusive friends, or abusive family members. That is not to say that anyone who chooses (or is forced) to stay or go back to a situation in which their abuser is back in their life that it is their fault if they experience abuse. Again, it is ALWAYS the abuser’s responsibility not to abuse, not the survivor/victim’s responsibility to not get abused.

I think our culture more commonly expects us to forgive abusive family members (or people in a specific community), like, for the sake of the rest of the family (or community). They tell you you’re “breaking the family apart”, when really the abuser, and everyone who supports the abuser rather than the abused, is who is responsible for breaking the family apart. Survivors/victims are being blamed for both being abused, and the after effects of the abuse, and then told how to feel and react while the abuser’s behavior is ignored.

Forgiveness means different things for different people, but for me, it often has connotations of absolving someone of guilt. For a lot of people it means no longer having angry or resentful feelings towards the person who harmed you. And often people say that you have to forgive to be able to move on. I think this tells survivors/victims that 1) moving on should be their goal, 2) moving on is the right thing to do, while also suggesting that 3) the only way to move on is to forgive. None of these things are true.

As a victim of abuse, my personal goals are to take care of myself, however that makes sense to me. Moving on and forgiveness are not part of my self care. In fact, a huge part of my healing has come from focusing on and processing what happened to me and showing my anger about it because I couldn’t safely do that while I was being abused.

This is really long, I have a lot of feelings about forgiveness and I kind of don’t feel like editing this down. Sorry if your question wasn’t exactly answered. I just don’t think anyone should necessarily have to explain how someone doesn’t have to let their abuser back in their life to forgive because they shouldn’t have to forgive in the first place.

"Here’s the dirty little secret about this though: there is no such thing as withholding sex because there is no situation in which you owe another human being sex. Ever. Your body is 100% your own and you get to consent or not consent to other people doing things to or with your body for whatever the hell reason you would like. This includes because you’re pissed off at the person, because they did something you didn’t like, because you just don’t fucking feel like it, because you’re tired, because you don’t feel attractive, because you’d rather read a book…any of the above. And not wanting to have sex with someone because you have negative feelings towards them at a given moment is not in fact punishment. It’s actually a very natural human feeling not to want to be physically intimate with someone when you’re annoyed/angry/hurt/sad with them. Oddly enough letting someone be close to your body when you don’t feel emotionally close to them doesn’t always feel great (if that’s your thing then go for it, but for those who don’t like it then there is no fucking reason to apologize).

But the idea that you can pull some sort of power play in a relationship by not giving the other person something which you don’t owe to them in the first place makes no sense. It would be like telling your partner that you’re going to punish them by not baking them chocolate chip cookies every day: sure, maybe they would like those cookies but in no way are you obligated to bake them cookies anyway, so they should probably be just fine getting along without it. The idea that you should feel as if the only way you can express that you’re angry or upset or unhappy in your relationship is by taking ownership over your body in a way that is so basic it should never have been a question is somewhat disgusting. If your partner has you so convinced that you owe them sex, no wonder you feel a little angry or vindictive towards them."

“Withholding Sex” and Other Lies | We Got So Far To Go (via keetsey)

(Source: brutereason, via eenymeenypia)

Anonymous said: What are the signs of emotional abuse?


Abusive Expectations - Makes impossible demands, requires constant attention, and constantly criticizes.

Aggressing - Name calling, accusing, blames, threatens or gives orders, and often disguised as a judgmental “I know best” or “helping” attitude.

Constant Chaos - Deliberately starts arguments with you or others. May treat you well in front of others, but changes when you’re alone.

Rejecting - Refusing to acknowledge a person’s value, worth or presence. Communicating that he or she is useless or inferior or devaluing his or her thoughts and feelings.

Denying - Denies personal needs (especially when need is greatest) with the intent of causing hurt or as punishment. Uses silent treatment as punishment. Denies certain events happened or things that were said. Denies your perceptions, memory and sanity by disallowing any viewpoints other than their own which causes self-doubt, confusion, and loss of self-esteem.

Degrading - Any behavior that diminishes the identity, worth or dignity of the person such as: name-calling, mocking, teasing, insulting, ridiculing,

Emotional Blackmail - Uses guilt, compassion, or fear to get what he or she wants.

Terrorizing - Inducing intense fear or terror in a person, by threats or coercion.

Invalidation - Attempts to distort your perception of the world by refusing to acknowledge your personal reality. Says that your emotions and perceptions aren’t real and shouldn’t be trusted.

Isolating - Reducing or restricting freedom and normal contact with others.

Corrupting - Convincing a person to accept and engage in illegal activities.

Exploiting - Using a person for advantage or profit.

Minimizing - A less extreme form of denial that trivializes something you’ve expressed as unimportant or inconsequential.

Unpredictable Responses - Gets angry and upset in a situation that would normally not warrant a response. You walk around on eggshells to avoid any unnecessary drama over innocent comments you make. Drastic mood swings and outbursts.

Gaslighting -A form of psychological abuse involving the manipulation of situations or events that cause a person to be confused or to doubt his perceptions and memories. Gaslighting causes victims to constantly second-guess themselves and wonder if they’re losing their minds.

Love, Salem

Anonymous said: My abusive mom kicked me out earlier this week and everyone keeps telling me that if she asks for forgiveness that I should just give it to her. They think that I should ask for her forgiveness too and that I should apologize for the way I was acting around her. I really think these people are all incredibly wrong and since they've never had an abusive parent before, they shouldn't give advice on it. Am I wrong? Should I forgive and ask for forgiveness?

hi anon. so sorry that happened to you - it sounds awful. and it’s true, the advice of people who haven’t been in your situation may not be worthwhile. technically we’re not really qualified to give advice like this. i will say that you are in no way obligated to forgive her, nor are you obligated to ask for forgiveness if you feel you didn’t do anything wrong. if forgiving/apologizing will make the situation easier in the short term, and if you feel comfortable doing so, it’s not wrong to do that either. ultimately it’s up to you, and we’re happy to direct you toward any resources that may help.

Tags: Anonymous

Anonymous said: My doctors encouraged an eating disorder and over-exercising to the point where I literally broke my body down. Now I have in addition to my back injury and mental health issues, chronic muscle problems and ribs that are always out of place. I worked until my body broke down because that's what doctors said I had to do to "get better" instead of actually helping me, they just told me to go be "with nature more". WHY DON'T YOU JUST PUT ME OUT TO PASTURE THEN DOC!? Geez.


That’s horrible. I’m sorry they did that to you.