If you are the victim of a tragic event or an abusive relationship, the people around you will often question your actions or your inability to defend yourself; this is called “victim blaming.”  The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that they cannot empathize with you or your situation because they have never experienced anything like it.  They would ask questions like, “Why didn’t you leave?” or “How could you let him/her get away with that?”.  When a victim has been trapped in an abusive relationship and did not have the strength to leave or is afraid of telling people the truth because they are ashamed is very common, and is also known as Stockholm Syndrome.

If you are going through this or have gone through this in the past, then you know how it feels.  However, knowing how to deal with this is not easy especially after coming out of an abusive relationship.  Other people cannot possibly understand your situation, nor will they be able to empathize with how you feel. As a victim of abuse, it is never easy opening up to other people about what you went through.  However, when confronted with a person who questions your actions, it can worsen your anxiety and depression.  It is unfortunate that there are people who cast judgment on you even though the best thing they could do is be supportive and kind.  Knowing ways to handle this issue is important, taking a stand for yourself in the face of a tragic event is every victim’s worry.

  • Setting healthy boundaries with people who are victim blaming is an effective way to let them know that it is not ok for them to treat you like that.
  • Do not engage with people who are treating you negatively; you can walk away from them.  It is that easy!
  • Remind yourself that it was not your fault that this has happened to you, and that they must not completely understand.
  • Find a therapist that you like.  The less you talk about your problems with people around you, the more critical it is to have someone whom you can safely discuss your feelings.  It is an essential part of the healing process to release the pain and acknowledge it with someone who is supportive.
  • Never should you feel alone, if you do not have a support system then there are hotlines available like the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800)799-SAFE or the National Organization for Victim Assistance (800)TRY-NOVA.

Having friends or family turn their backs on you is hurtful, especially during a time that you need them the most. Surround yourself with people who honestly and lovingly care about you.  This is your journey to walk on, so make sure you have the right support system.  You should not have to defend yourself against a person that victim blames you.  If they do not understand your journey, then they do not need to be a part of it.