Approaching your Abuser

havoca approaching abuserApproaching 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“.

28 Responses to Approaching your Abuser

  1. Tracy Groves says:

    Do people send letters to their abusers? Are there any legal implications if you send a letter? I don’t feel strong enough to approach my abusers but I want them to know that I haven’t forgotten and to remind them of what they did to me when I was young.

    • Myra says:

      I would like to write a letter as well. My abuser was sentenced to jail, but the articles I read don’t say where. I have searched a bit, but don’t know how to find him. Good luck on the letter.

    • Heather says:

      I have been thinking about this too. I am not sure. One big issue I have in confronting my abusers is that they are in their 60’s now, I feel like it may be mean for me to confront them now. Even after all they did to me, all the hurt, I feel reluctant to confront them.

      • Sherry says:

        You do what you need to do for yourself. How this said “break the code of silence that you’ve been obeying for so long” if you choose not to say anything because of your abusers age then they still have all the control over you. Old people can be shit people. Don’t let age discourage you. They have much more life experience than you and full well know exactly what they were doing to you. Do not give them the benefit of the doubt. Make that old man admit and take responsibility for he did to a young innocent child.

    • Hi, are there any legal restrictions on accusing your childhood abuser of the abuse? thanks John

  2. Katina says:

    My abuser is a frail 85 year old. Why do I feel guilty for wanting to confront him? I’m only one in a long list of children he harmed.

    • Jasmin says:

      Don’t ever think you need a reason to seek closure for something that happened to you,

      Even so being in a long list of kids would you feel the same way if another victim wanted to confront them?

      You have your reasons and that’s respectable you want to do something so brave! Remember that as long as you are doing it to help you feel peace and not something pressuring you do what you need okay?

  3. Mike says:

    I want to confront my abuser but I’m afraid it would destroy another relationship

    • jack says:

      i did confront my abuser just now throw a phone call he was a teacher that abused me since like 11 years when i was child and started my education , i’m 20 years old now( idk 10-14 years ago) he is a 73 years old now and he’s sick… he was hitting and insulting me lived about 6 years in that hell most what i hated is that other kids laughed about me in the past we was a group of 30 or 35
      kids he was laughing while being brutal with each one of us and making laugh to each one another everybody takes a part it was a sicking shit, what so ever i don’t know how to feel now , during the call i said everything that came out in my mind and i didn’t fear or hesitate unlike before as a kid when i couldn’t talk to him back
      i think i grow stronger than i was a kid a fear that lasted 10 years that i wanted to face as i did, i honestly don’t know how this helps me in future or even helps me now , but it’s the only way i could figure or put together to help my self as an adult i have always wanted to become fearless and if that was one of my fears then i faced it, i would gladly do anything that will make me feel better about myself i’m ready now to challenge my shyness and lack of confidence and the only way i know that i’m ready is simply by doing so, i don’t know that the thoughts inside my head will be like about that phone call later, idk if it would fire back or be beneficial to me,,,brain is strange organ isn’t it, however in the phone call i did talk more than he did his literally point of view was
      ” all what i have done to you was meaningless and you should look forward and if your past is bad don’t seek to learn anything from it , there is nothing to learn from it if it was a terrible past i want only for you success and promise me to look only forward”

    • Christopher says:

      Me too, I want to confront my abuser but privately.i think It does not matter about the relationship when it keeps effecting YOUR mind. thats what I think.

    • Rani says:

      Think if it’s worth it. Sometimes the best hung is to walk away

      • Dale says:

        Walk away and suffer in silence?? Absolutely not. Take control and confront the abuser – beside did they care about the pain they caused you?

  4. yousef says:

    i did confront my abuser just now throw a phone call he was a teacher that abused me since like 11 years when i was child and started my education , i’m 20 years old now( idk 10-14 years ago) he is a 73 years old now and he’s sick… he was hitting and insulting me lived about 6 years in that hell most what i hated is that other kids laughed about me in the past we was a group of 30 or 35
    kids he was laughing while being brutal with each one of us and making laugh to each one another everybody takes a part it was a sicking shit, what so ever i don’t know how to feel now , during the call i said everything that came out in my mind and i didn’t fear or hesitate unlike before as a kid when i couldn’t talk to him back
    i think i grow stronger than i was a kid a fear that lasted 10 years that i wanted to face as i did, i honestly don’t know how this helps me in future or even helps me now , but it’s the only way i could figure or put together to help my self as an adult i have always wanted to become fearless and if that was one of my fears then i faced it, i would gladly do anything that will make me feel better about myself i’m ready now to challenge my shyness and lack of confidence and the only way i know that i’m ready is simply by doing so, i don’t know that the thoughts inside my head will be like about that phone call later, idk if it would fire back or be beneficial to me,,,brain is strange organ isn’t it, however in the phone call i did talk more than he did his literally point of view was ” all what i have done to you was meaningless and you should look forward and if your past is bad don’t seek to learn anything from it , there is nothing to learn from it if it was a terrible past i want only for you success and promise me to look only forward”

  5. Victoria says:

    I contacted my father who sexual assaulted me fr infancy to like 5 years old when my mom found out and hid from him. He said he thought of me often and was waiting for the day I reached out. I called and we talked like time had not passed. But I have yet to say to him what I want to say. So far he tells me he loves and and can’t wait to meet. But with COVID-19 I don’t want to put him in jeopardy as he’s in his 70s now.this is the first contact I’ve ever had with him since I was just 5 years old. Im on the fence with bringing it up. Because of the abuse from him and my mom I’m a really messed up cookie and do e some things I’m ashamed about. But my life made a turn around and I know for me I would rather leave the things I’ve done in the past, but also if someone had a problem with me I’d want them to feel comfortable with talking to me. So I guess I have to make the choice to confront him or not. He said we can’t change the pass and should just move forward from here. But that seems like a cop-out to me. I still haven’t made up my mind. I will post again when I have anything else more useful.
    Oh.also when I went to talk to my mom about when she sexually penalized me, for touching my little brother inappropriately, she got defensive and said, “well I’m sorry that bothered you”. I tried talking to her 3 times and ever time it was “why don’t you hate your father?” And, “well it’s like when a kid is biting other kids you bite them back”. I even asked is hypothetically if her granddaughter did something like that if she would touch her to teach her a lesson. And she said, “well, lovey would never do that.” I was floored and realized. Well she’s not going to admit she’s wrong and pretty much admitted she’d do it again if it came up. So I don’t have anything to do with her. And when I told her that I appreciated what she did right but that i couldn’t have anything to do with her, and handed my sister the phone, she told my sister, “well, I know I’ve done work g to you and ( my brother), but I don’t know what I did to (me) to upset her so much. ” I was like WTF! She does know cuz she went and convinced my drug addict brother that what she did wasn’t a big deal and to get over it. So, she’s garbage and I don’t have anything to do with her. Of course everyone wants there parents to love them. But I feel no remorse for cutting her out of my life.
    Anyways. I’ll update about how things go with my dad. Hope everyone finds the peace they need to live semi, or full, lives.

  6. Victoria says:

    Side note. I’m enjoying the normal loving relationship I have now with my dad. Whether or not that lasts I don’t know. But I’m allowing myself to be happy about the reunion for now. He might be sorry and feel bad. Or he’s a total tool. Either way I will be okay.

  7. Mango says:

    I am 21 y.o. now and was sexually abused by my adopted uncle when I was around 6 or 7 y.o., I never talked to anyone about it before since I was away from my childhood home and whenever I would be home, he wouldnt be. It just so happen now he’s been sick and jobless for a while and has been living with us. Everytime I look at him i feel disgusted wih myself and I really want to confront him for what he did but I just never find the courage in fear that he’ll just deny it and worse no one will believe me as I have no prove other than my vivid memory. What should I do?

    • Kate says:

      Hi. I am your age now, and was abused from age 6-13 so I understand. I also came here looking for answers as to what to do. Personally, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to confront my abuser. I think only they can give us the closure, or answer the questions we have. As long as you are somewhere you know you will be safe whilst confronting them then I say go for it.

  8. Veronica says:

    I would like to talk to my uncle about how did me when I was growing up. I remember from around age 5 when I would visit my grandparents (he lived there) he would kiss me on the lip and put me on his lap , or when we stayed all night he would fondle my private area . Then when we lost our apt , we moved in with my uncles. He started to violate me. I am so shame to say this but he was able to do it in my moms presence and that made it worse . I think I still carry so much pain from just knowing it was allowed . I’ve talked to my mother but deep down I truly want to talk to my uncle . I think it would at least ease the pressure because I feel tormented at times living with those memories but I’m still enjoying life . Conflicted

  9. Birkbeck says:

    I was sexually abused by my grandma when I was 6. I am 33 now, the memory came to me few months ago. The event was so traumatic that I forgot about it. The memory tried to come out in different times in my life but I was not prepared and it was the worst thing ever, not accepting reality and not sharing with other people. It was horrible living with her in the same house and having fear of her. My grandma not only abused me sexually she tried to drown me in the bath and she hit me really bad. I have very extreme thoughts towards her but it will harm me if I make them happen. I do not know what to do, meet her in person look at her eyes and talk to her. Because I already spoke on the phone with her I sent her letters but it is not enough, she denies. But in the first phone call with her talking abut the sexual abuse it was obvious what she was saying she remembers but she does not want to accept it and say sorry. I want to keep reminding her what she did until she dies, that is the only punishment I can think of.

  10. Diana says:

    I was drunk when I was abused by my colleague. All I remember is he took me out from the car and walked me down the forest nearby. I remember a car passing by and he told me to stay calm and held me from behind. Then I remember him kissing me but I spat and I ran saying I want to go home but I walked another direction and fell on a bush. I then remembered searching for my house and dropping me off. In the morning I had a really bad hangover but I had doctors appointment so I went and came back. I told my friend about it but she said to pretend it never happened.
    I went home and checked my clothes, I didn’t find anything unusual but I found out that front button had been trampled because it had mud stain on the inside part.
    I had scratches at the back of my hand as if it was pressed down, I had few scars on my cheek bones, my knees hurt as if I fell, my elbow was hurt and I had a really bad back pain.
    He texted me the other day as if he doesn’t remember dropping me off and not to tell others that we went on a walk.
    After that I felt really bad about myself but whenever Oi was in front of him, he would give a funny smile and I pretended nothing happened. I avoided talking but I landed up dairying him more. This part makes me mad, why didn’t I tell him I remembered these and confronted when I could. I feared if embarrassing myself in front of people and bringing down my reputation but now I keep thinking about it and I feel worthless. I can’t think I can move on ever with another guy and I want to confront but I fear I would discover more than what I think had happened and denial.

    • KG says:

      YOU ARE NOT WORTHLESS! YOU ARE NOT WORTHLESS ! YOU ARE NOT WORTHLESS! . You were just a little afraid and that’s ok . It’s not easy confronting those who has hurt us . We don’t know how they will react so we choose to not say anything hoping it’ll all just go away. But we have to Speak UP and not allow this pain to hinder us and keep us in a loop . I Pray you find the strength and healing you need to overcome the pain this has caused you . You deserve to be free from this and to be happy ! Nothing that happened to you was your fault and Always remember that . And for the ones that told you to “ let it go” “ act like it never happened” are not your friends. You should surely let them go and find real friends . You can still confront him but when you’re ready . This is something that YOU will have to face in order for you to be released from it so you can be free and no longer feel trapped . No it doesn’t take away the fact that it has happened to you but this SHALL make you STRONGER!!! God Bless you. And remember
      YOU ARE NOT WORTHLESS!
      Sending Love, positivity and light ! Your way

  11. Kg says:

    I’m so sorry you guys had to go through this . I too was abused as a child (8) by a family member and came here to see how everyone has dealt with their abuser and possibly How to confront .I know it’s hard, even a little scary but this is something we have to do to rise above our past traumas and to be better. We have to forgive them to move forward so that these thoughts stop affecting us negatively . Let’s remember to approach with love and compassion even if we were victims . We are better than our traumas and better than our fears and we will rise. It won’t be easy but as long as we do it with the kind heart we were blessed with we will get through this and next time these thoughts appear we’d be able to perceive it differently . Remember everyone has a past , now im not trying to justify what anyone has done to us but just maybe they too have gone through that same abuse and kept the cycle going … But WE will not . Let’s be strong and face our fears because it will not keep us DOWN! . We are Stronger , better and wiser ! . And we will RISE above the enemy that wants to keep us in a loop …
    Love You all Stay strong and Be better than your traumas.

  12. M says:

    I was abused by a neighbor who happened to be our babysitters brother. W waste always told he was not okay I’m the head but he seemed normal. He abused me and my brother and many kids on our block and in our neighborhood. My earliest memories is being in pre-K and him wanting me to sit on his lap and bounce up and down. It affected me mentally for years. The abuse was ongoing for years and I wasn’t the only one. Recently I saw him because I attended his mothers funeral. I want to confront him but don’t know how. I sent him a long text once and his nephew basically contacted my brother and I and said if we said anything and something would happen to his grandpa (abusers dad) that we would be sorry.

    I can’t, I need to confront him. I feel like more children can be in danger 😔 how do I do this? Can I post posters on the block?

  13. JP says:

    I’ve been thinking (a lot) about this recently and I’d like to confront/talk to the man who sexually abused me from age 4/5 – 20; he’d been a very close family friend of ours and lived across the street from us when this had started before going on to be a semi-famous NBA basketball player. I recently found out that he has been working with young boys as a basketball coach/official (again, he’d been a coach in our hometown before and had moved around now lives in NJ) so I feel an obligation (or guilt) to address this and i’d like to have some sort of sit down with him but not sure how to feasibly orchestrate that.

    What if he declines the request, where would this take place, etc. Given that he and my dad were so close, its important for me that my dad be present for the sit down, just not sure how to compel the abuser to show up without having to go through the court/legal/media to do so (challenging I know)…

    Does anyone have any experience putting those types of situations together? In this era does it always have to be the social media blast or turning your story over to a journalist? While I feel comfortable discussing my situation on a small scale, I’m honestly not sure I’m ready to have my life (trauma and personal life) blasted across the internet given who he used to be.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

  14. Kay says:

    Last night I sent a message to a girl I dated when I was 16. We were sexually active at first until I wanted to stop. And she guilted and coerced me into still being intimate with her. I never knew intimacy could feel so wrong but only now understand what consent means.

    She was my first sexual experience so she took the lead and I just followed. And when I tried to pull away several times she basically pressured me into staying. The manipulation and mind games were too much for at the time.

    For a long time I didn’t see it as a big deal and I just tried to bury it under the rug. But then a friend of mind asked me to reverse the roles in my head and I started to see more clearly.

    I was and am really scared about her response. If she’ll down play it or dismiss or try to blame me for something. Because I’m a man I feel like people don’t see it as big of a deal. And I feel like kinda guilty even posting on this website. But I’m learning to value my pain.

    Thank you for everyone who shared their story here. It has inspired me to understand I’m not alone. But now in my head they’ve been so many times somebody has touched me inappropriately and violated in some way it feels so overwhelming. When I was younger I had a maid who was physically abusive but I doubt I’ll ever see her again because I’m in a different country now.

    So it’s empowering and overwhelming to start to consider comforting people. My first boss touched me inappropriately quite a lot i did communicate that I don’t like to be touched but she still did. I’m too scared and embarrassed to say anything to her because I know she’ll down play it. And because we work in the same industry she could make me the laughing stock. At the same time I feel guilty for being afraid.

    I just want to say I’m really sorry that you’ve gone through what you’ve gone through and I hope and pray that you find healing. I’m gonna start counseling soon and hopefully I find more closure there

  15. Olivia says:

    My college best friend (at the time) sexually assaulted me while I was doing homework a few weeks ago. It is especially painful since she lives on the same floor as me and even though I am trying to avoid her, I still occasionally run into her. I feel like I need to talk to her about what happened but at the same time, seeing her makes me very anxious and I don’t think I’m ready for that. I might send her a letter or text once I feel more comfortable. Feeling very hopeless.

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