Approaching your Abuser
Taking the decision to approach your abuser will not be easy. It is advisable that you talk this through with a therapist or at least a very close friend. If you don’t have a confidant then we recommend that you do not approach the perpetrator of your abuse.
There are a number of reasons why you might feel like you should contact your abuser:
- telling him/her how you felt and how you feel now is an important part of the disclosure phase
- speaking with the person may help you to understand how and why the abuse occurred
- you may be able to alleviate your fears that others were or are currently being abused
- you may be interested in turning make the clock and establishing a normal healthy relationship with your abuser.
All of these reasons can be positive and will help to reinforce the fact that you were not responsible for the trauma that they may have caused you.
If after reading the information contained within this website you feel you are ready, then you must prepare yourself for this part of the journey. Here are a couple of stages you might like to go through;
- Make a list of everything you want to say to your abuser.
- Practice how you want to the conversation to go.
- Write to the abuser and prepare them for the meeting.
- Set out ground rules that you want to stick to.
- Take someone along with you to act as a mediator or just to listen and give you support if you need it.
- Ensure you remain in control. You may want the abuser just to listen and not say anything until you expressly give permission for them to speak.
- Be prepared for him to defend himself and/or minimize the abuse, i.e. “I didn’t hit you that hard.” etc. When this happens calmly reply by explaining the abuse in more detail. Tell the person how it made you feel.
- You may well leave the meeting feeling as though you accomplished nothing. It will however be a great relief to have finally broken that code of silence which you’ve been obeying all these years.
It is strongly recommended that you always take a friend with you when approaching them, even if they wait in the car. Meet in home territory or if you are uncomfortable with this then meet in neutral territory, somewhere you can talk openly but also somewhere you feel safe.
It isn’t always necessary to confront your abuser in person. You can still do it symbolically by writing a letter that you never send, role playing etc.
If your abuser is unavailable then there are still exercises you can do to help alleviate some of your frustrations. Try the exercises in “starting a journal“.