Recovering from abuse is never easy. It is something that can still catch you off guard several years down the road. It is tantamount for your own safety and well-being that you avoid a certain mentality. The mentality that we’re speaking of is the “it’s not that bad” mentality.
“It’s Not That Bad”
People who do not experience abuse and are at a loss at what to say—or are simply too uncomfortable to truly tackle the reality of awful situation tend to compartmentalize it. Their idea of helping an abused person cope is to remind them of the things that they should be thankful for.
While this isn’t bad by itself, this can be quite detrimental to someone who is recovering. Whenever someone tells you that what you’re going through or what you went through “wasn’t that bad” because:
- You’re still alive
- There are more worse things in life
- You never have to see the abuser again
- At least, that’s over with
- Know you know better
They effectively imply that the absence of the perpetrator and the abuse should invalidate your pain and your trauma. This mentality is completely dismissive and puts pressure on the abused to “move on” because the bad thing is over. This is not only quite ridiculous but not helpful in the least.
How You Can Help Them
If you have someone in your life that has ever said these words and you are actually good friends with them, it is worth pointing out that they may have just said the wrong thing and not particularly know what it implies.
If you want them to understand or if you want them to help you, here are a few things you can teach them:
Not all abuse is physical. There is abuse that is uses words and only words. If they have ever said “it’s not that bad” to you, teach them about what those words imply and how it affects you. Words have always played a rather large part in recovery.
If they do care about you, they had best realize how strongly words matter and how their mentality can be damaging.
This “it’s not that bad” sort of mentality predominately stems from ignorance. Someone who has never been actually abused will be able to tell what it is actually like for someone who is recovering from it. The solution would be to suitably educate themselves about the system of abuse and consider the point of view of the survivor.
Explain the Continued Impact of the Abuse
To help them understand you, it is important to be honest about how the abuse has affected you—or how it has continued to affect your life. Abuse has far reaching consequences which affect mentally, psychological, and even emotional well-being.
Abuse can even bleed into the financial aspect of a person’s life. An abused person is generally kept penniless and is not given any opportunity to access money (even if it is their own). Explain to who you are speaking to about the impact of abuse.
The abused individual is going to need all the help that they can get from those around them. If the people that they are counting on to support them end up being the one to dismiss them, recovery can be set back by years. We hope that today’s discussion helps to avoid this sort of dismissive mentality altogether.
What is your opinion of this mentality? We would certainly love to know.