reevaluating, “abused people, abuse people”

Abused people, abuse people.

I’m sure you’ve heard that. Or seen it on a meme. I say it to myself as a reminder that it’s not personal when an abuse victim abuses me. It doesn’t excuse it, of course. But I can empathize.

It’s easy to find yourself trapped in that mentality. As angry as I’ve gotten at my ex-metamour (sorry, but she’s really useful for life lessons!), I know that she’s mostly repeating what her own mother did to her. In many ways, she’s never learned better. Nor taught herself better, for that matter.

I feel for any abuse victim. Rightly or not, I believe most perpetrators of abuse suffered abuse themselves. But I don’t believe it is the abuse that continues the cycle. I rather find that to be an excuse. No, I believe the thing that keeps the cycle moving is trauma.

Yes, my munchkins were/are abused. It happened. It was real. But this is separate, it is different from, their trauma. Their trauma is the reaction that happened, not the actual thing.

Traumatized people, traumatize people.

I’d personally like to see the phrase, “Abused people, abuse people,” replaced with “Traumatized people, traumatize people.” Might not roll off the tongue as easily, but I like how it acknowledges that experiencing abuse isn’t an excuse to abuse. And that not every abuse survivor inflicts abuse on others.

I’m already seeing my own munchkins work past their hurt (I feel I have, too, but it’s different to see someone else work through theirs). They will never leave behind their memories. But that doesn’t mean they will remain traumatized, in the sense that they will stay trapped in that mindset and that world where they hurt others. Whether as a means of survival, simply not realizing it, or whatever the reason.

They can, and probably will, choose to not abuse others.

Despite their own abuse. Anger. Hurt. Actually, they are probably less inclined to abuse others in a similar manner, because they know exactly how it feels. They know it is abuse. They already know better.

Sometimes they even tell me. “Kitty,” my youngest munchkin reflects, “I’ll listen to my children. Cause you should listen to children.”

People that suffer abuse cannot change their reality.

They were (or are) abused. They almost certainly suffered trauma (reactions) to that abuse. That’s human, to react. But not all abused people stay in their trauma. Not all abused people, abuse people.

Traumatized people? They are trapped in a world where even helping people means hurting them. They do this with and without self-awareness of the actions they are choosing. Please do not take this as justification. It is not. But it is what they do. They hurt others. And they will keep doing it, again and again. Whether they understand it or not.

Traumatized people, traumatize people.

At least until they free themselves.

@the_stormyone, thank you for helping me think about this and hopefully find a way to be more sensitive to abuse survivors!

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