Making “Peace” With an Abuser

Photo by Manos Gkikas on Unsplash

By Carol L.

Listen to the experts.

Non-Violent Communication, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and many other counseling interventions present guiding principles that aim to disentangle us from toxic conversations that do nothing but make abuse worse. Can we ever really make a difference if both parties are not willing to try? 

Some of the suggested ways are good ideas but woefully inadequate in the case of targeted behavior which is a) long term and b) rigidly set towards harm. The following are suggestions we may have heard, and they were kindly meant but at best naive and at worst harmful.

Let’s try and see why these peace-making forays don’t work in abusive relationships.

1. Admit what he says about your shortcomings and promise to change

2. When emotion is escalating into an angry argument, try to make peace using kindness and consideration of the other person’s side of things

3. Try to see his side of things

4. Never get angry or show negative emotions but learn and grow and thank him for his input

5. Let your commitment to keeping the peace continue to increase; make your only goal love

6. Try to let go of your anger so you can be at peace again

7. Look for a solution so both of you ‘win’ and nobody loses

8. Don’t confront the other person’s behavior and keep the peace

9. “Love is all there is”… the Beatles

10. Continue to examine your own behavior so this won’t happen in the future

11. In every situation, show respect

12. Solve the problems presented to you at all times

13. Never talk about family problems outside the family

This is an interactive post. Please help us complete this list. What are some of the damaging and dangerous suggestions you’ve heard in regard to how victims should respond to abusers? Feel free to add what you’ve experienced or heard in the comments section below.


©2020 Christian Coalition for Safe Families

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