Victim blaming is an insidious form of abuse in and of itself. In the betrayal trauma community, abusers, clergy, therapists, and others blame victims for “their part” in the betrayal and abuse that they experience at the hands of their partners. Recognizing victim blaming is an essential in the toolkit of every victim.
Victim Blaming Is Harmful To Women
“We see time and time again women thinking: If I would have done something differently, if I looked different this wouldn’t have happened to me.”
Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
When women are blamed by abusive partners, family, friends, and professionals for their partner’s abusive and compulsive behaviors, there can be deeply harmful effects.
Because victims are conditioned to be compliant, many internalize the false and harmful claims and begin to blame themselves. Further, those close to the victim have the unique opportunity to help and support her. When they choose to blame her, overtly or covertly, they are enabling the abuser and putting the victim into harm’s way.
What Does Victim Blaming Look Like?
Wonder if you have experienced victim blaming? Here are some common statements that indicate that others are blaming you for the abuse and betrayal.
- “How have you contributed to your husbands infidelity?”
- “If you make yourself more available, he wouldn’t need to act out.”
- “If you take care of yourself a little more, he would be more interested.”
- “You need to be a safe person so he won’t lie to you.”
- “You should just forgive him and move on.”
- “How can you ever stay with him after this?”
How Can I Respond When I Experience Victim Blaming?
Victim blaming is deeply hurtful to abuse and betrayal victims. Here are some phrases that may help you respond when you experience victim blaming:
- “I don’t have to prove my point, my feelings, or myself and I’m done talking about this for now.”
- “That’s not how I see it, I’m walking away.”
- “I’m feeling defensive right now so it’s best if we end this conversation.”
- “That’s not who I am, this conversation is over.”
- “I’m not feeling heard, so I am done with this conversation.”
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Betrayal and Abuse
At BTR, we place the blame where it belongs: with the abuser. Women who join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery community are never blamed for their partner’s abusive choices.
The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets daily in every time zone and offers women the unique opportunity to process trauma, share their stories, ask important questions, and express hard feelings in a safe place. Join today and find the validation and support that you deserve.