Writing Tips #78: Basic Tips To Write Better Abuse Victims & Abuse Situations
As requested by someassemblingrequired
Abuse is a horrible fact of life, and it takes many forms. Unfortunately, it’s often misunderstood and handled badly in fiction. This page contains potentially-triggering material, so be warned.Abuse often starts out small and gradually gets bigger.
If abusers started off new relationships at their prime levels of nastiness, they’d drive away just about everyone at first go. But by starting small, they can progressively desensitize victims to physical and/or emotional abuse - and by the time they’re in full swing, the victim will have so much invested in the relationship that cutting loose will be difficult - if not next to impossible.
In some cases, the abuse escalates because the abuser discovers that xe can exert control over the other person and find that xe enjoys doing so. The abuser will escalateVictims are often reluctant to leave because they have a lot invested into their abusive situations.
Leaving the abuser/abusers could mean leaving behind friends, family, and even children. Depending on how much and how long the victim has been in the situation, it could mean leaving behind xir entire life. They may have nowhere else to go and no way to get out, particularly if the abuser has taken control of the victim’s finances and/or isolated xir from contact with others.
If the abuse comes from a cult/religious group, the victim may believe that leaving the group would mean losing salvation (or whatever metaphysical prize the group offers).Some victims fail to leave because they think the abuse is normal.
Brainwashing is half the game (at least).
If a person has grown up in an abusive environment, they may see abusive behavior as perfectly fair and normal. Depending on their level of isolation, it may have never even occured to them that there could be any other way to do things.