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Family Violence Messages in a Minute - Survival strategies – Self-blame and minimisation

Non-disclosure is normal, as is minimisation and self-blame. When I was with my abusive partner I never disclosed until the last day when I went to the Police. This was because I didn’t want people to know how terrible my life was. I was ashamed, humiliated, and embarrassed, as well as hopeful that one day I would wake up and my abuser would be the incredible person that I wanted them to be. And so, I was doing all I could to keep myself safe from judgement. Non-disclosure, minimisation and self-blame are totally normal aspects of family violence victimisation as well.

If someone has previously been not believed, or let down, or had their confidentiality breached, or judged, or blamed, or so many other things that tend to be projected onto our primary victims, this will reduce the chance they will risk disclosure again. The answer – self-blame and minimisation because that will keep you at arm’s length, it will make you think that things are ok, or not so bad, so you will stop asking questions.

Self-blame and minimisation are a survival strategy, please see it as such. Primary victims are not doing this to piss you off; they are doing this to keep as much control over their lives as they can by keeping other people out.

There can also be shame and humiliation attached to self-blame and minimisation, people are too embarrassed to let you know how bad things are.

There can also be love and dedication and hope that the predominant aggressor will change, and so they minimise and self-blame, so people don’t expect them, or push them to leave.

It’s okay to tell people that you are worried about them and that you are there to support them, but it is not okay to tell them what to do or judge them for their circumstances.

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