The Other I

January 26, 2010

Why do abused children become abusers?

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 8:34 pm

Right now the news here in England is reporting a spate of extraordinarily painful revelations about child abuse, including some almost unbelievable stories of children as young as ten who have become vicious abusers themselves.

On first thought, one would think that people who had themselves been abused would be more sensitive, not less, to the pain and damage abuse inflicts.  Once in a while this happens, but more often than not, children who are abused themselves grow up to be abusers.


I think there are three reasons, two psychological and one bio-chemical.

Children who are abused by their caretakers, especially by one of their parents, often convince themselves that they deserve it.  They are abused, they believe — or at least partly believe it – because they are bad.  Awful as this conclusion is for a child, it is less terrifying than believing that it is their parent who is a bad person who does not love them.  Because then the child is absolutely alone, vulnerable and helpless in a terrifying world in which they have no protection, no place to lie down, no food, no guidance.  It is less hopeless for the child to believe that by being a better person he can do something to make things better.  They tell themselves that they are abused because their parent or caretaker loves them and are trying to teach them to be better.

An abused child also grows up to be an abuser because he or she has been taught that it is the bigger bully who gets what he or she wants.  He doesn’t learn from being abused not to abuse.  Just the opposite:  he learns that the abuser is the one people give into;  the abuser is the one who gets what he wants by sheer threat.  So he learns how to be a bigger bully than those around him or her.

And lastly, abused children often have not been given the opportunity to put themselves in another person’s place, to learn to understand what it must feel like to be in somebody else’s position.  There is some evidence that this is not only a psychological difficulty, but is actually reflected in stunted neuro-physiological development.

So I think the judge who looked at a young man convicted today of torturing a darling two-year-old toddler and said he was the epitome of evil was wrong.  I think he was almost certainly an abused child himself.


  1. From my perspective there are so many things wrong with the scientific method of delving into other peoples minds to find answers to questions that make you curious. I would like to suggest only a few athough i have many. My points will be candid and if they offend or shake please know that is not my intention.
    The sanctity of mind body and soul is the most important thing not only for the subject being investigated but for the inquistor as well. Consider telling a anyone they are not accountable for their deeds and offering excuses instead. There is the danger of interrupting the privacy one needs to examine their own concience. A space that belongs to only God. Some wounds are never closed because of it. What a waste of spiritual growth. Time could be better spent inspiring true teachings. Prayer. Contemplation, work teaching what we know, our creed and searching and freedom to avoid the occassion of sin and forgive and forget. Even if the scientist is clergy no sin is absolved without repentence.


    Comment by katheen mary f. — December 4, 2011 @ 8:10 am | Reply

    • Thank you for this comment. I certainly am not offended by it although, as you no doubt know, I do not agree. But I have come to believe that nobody is right about everything, and that it is immensely valuable to listen to points of view that are different from our own. But to share in the wisdom of others, we have to overcome our resistance to talking to those with whom we disagree. The only rule I impose on myself and on others is that we listen and speak with respect. We cannot possibly agree with everything everyone says. But we can respect it, and truly try to understand how they have arrived at the conclusions they have.

      And so I welcome your point of view wholeheartedly.

      Once again, thank you.


      Comment by Terry Sissons — December 4, 2011 @ 9:14 pm | Reply

    • i was not abused,,but my wife was,,after 20 years,,,i saw the light,,and left,,,these are the facts,,,the abused has little conscience,if any,,is ruthless,,cunning,uncaring,,egocentric,narcasitic,and craves attention,save your pity for the unabused ones,for they are the true victim,the abused cares not one wit,,not for a single second do the feel guilt,,,your sympathy for abused adults is severely misplaced,the abused is where the monsters are made,,they are the walking dead,,feeling nothing,caring for nothing,,this is reality,,,,


      Comment by michael geoghegan — August 4, 2015 @ 12:48 am | Reply

  2. I’d love to see some actual data to support your theory. I’m writing a paper on this subject and am hard pressed to find reputable data.


    Comment by Andrea Wheaton — July 26, 2012 @ 5:35 am | Reply

    • Andrea – I’m surprised you are having trouble finding supporting data for this finding. My major field of study as an academic has been cognitive development, but the study of abusers and of abused children has repeatedly found that abuse leads to more abuse. I have asked someone else who is presently working in this field to respond to your comment, and her suggestions may be of greater help than my more general directions to you on how to research this subject.

      Best wishes for your paper. Mostly because we ourselves often learn so much from writing them. Though, of course, good grades or other notations of appreciation are quite nice too.

      The Other I


      Comment by theotheri — July 26, 2012 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

    • Andrea – It will not take the place of your researching the professional journals and websites on the subject of abuse, but you may find the following website of interest:
      The Other I


      Comment by theotheri — July 28, 2012 @ 10:09 am | Reply

  3. The problem with this theory is that defence attorneys like to use it to get free passes for abusers.


    Comment by SB_Australia — October 18, 2012 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

    • I agree that using this theory to get what you call free passes for abusers is itself an abuse. Because although the theory does suggest that throwing most abusers into prison with a diagnosis that they are irredeemably evil is wrong-headed, it does not suggest that nothing is wrong. Something is terribly wrong. In a great number of cases, the theory does suggest a different approach than punishment and prison to stopping the abusive behavior.


      Comment by theotheri — October 19, 2012 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

  4. I think it’s true that some abused children grow up to be abusers themselves, but it’s not true as an overall given. People can grow up understanding that what happened to them was wrong and refuse to perpetuate the abuse on their own families or on other people; it takes courage. One of the commenters above mentioned Alice Miller, a person I too would recommend as a source of evidence to show that not all abused children grow up to be abusers.

    Some abused children grow up to be strong, courageous people who take on the fight on behalf of other people who have been abused; they turn their own abuse into a source of strength on behalf of others. Let’s not paint all abused children as future abusers.

    At the same time, I agree that prison and punishment are not the best treatment for someone who grew up being abused; custodial sentencing is appropriate for crimes of violence in order to protect society, but the person who committed the crime needs specialist help to overcome their own history of child abuse. Currently, “rehabilitation” isn’t always the full answer.


    Comment by Highland — November 26, 2012 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

    • I am in full agreement with everything you say, and am glad you have amplified what I have said or corrected anything I may have written that gives a different impression from your own. I certainly do not want to suggest that all abused children become abusers themselves. I know absolutely that this is not so.

      I particularly agree that some abused children grow up to be strong, courageous people. I would emphasize the word courageous, and add “insightful.” It seems to me they often recognize the wounds, the survival strategies, the scars – and the potential – of other abused individuals and are uniquely able to help them.

      Thank you for your comment. I think it is particularly valuable.


      Comment by theotheri — November 26, 2012 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  5. Is depression a factor at all?


    Comment by Midnight — December 1, 2012 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

    • As you might guess, the answer to your extremely pertinent and seemingly-simply question is not simple. Depression itself can be genetic, environmentally-caused, or both, and its effects are equally diverse. Depression is often highly distorting so that people will interpret things that happen very differently when they are depressed, especially if they are seriously depressed long term. They may blame themselves for everything that seems to be going wrong. But they may also develop rages at other people whom they blame instead. Freud believed that depression was anger turned on oneself, but it can also be turned just as irrationally on others. This kind of anger does deaden the depression but it obviously doesn’t get at the root cause.

      In addition, a child who is abused does not learn to value him- or herself, increasing the possibility of the debilitating effects of depression.

      So yes, depression may certainly be a factor in abusive behavior. That does not make it hopeless, but it can feel that way.

      I see the name you have given yourself, and think that perhaps you know intimately some of the things I have said. I hope in this season in which we celebrate both the darkness and the light that your midnight may also have its high noon.

      The Other I


      Comment by theotheri — December 1, 2012 @ 9:11 pm | Reply

      • Thank you!
        This will really help me out.

        My chosen name…I just really liked it, there’s not an actual story behind it.


        Comment by Midnight — December 1, 2012 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  6. I’m very glad – on both counts!

    Midnight, of course, is a time of celebration of new beginnings. Yes, it can be a very hopeful, joyful name.


    Comment by theotheri — December 1, 2012 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

  7. I was abused as a child, as as an adult in my marriage I was battered by my husband. Yet even with all the abuse I encountered during my life – I never tortured my children or anyone else’s children. This individual who was told by a judge he was “pure evil” obviously has lost a sense of morality. Irregardless of the sufferings we encounter in our own lives – each of us has the freedome to choose how we will react. He was an adult who knew right from wrong and irregardless of his past horrors he experienced it does not justify him hurting the innocent. The judge was correct and just in his observations and statements. To torture a two year old is pure evil, no matter what that man had been through before, it is still wrong!


    Comment by Shanna — February 6, 2013 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

    • Thank you for your comment. I did not in any way mean to suggest that all children or adults who are abused will themselves become abusers. Nor do I think abuse is trivial. It is intrinsically incredibly damaging and destructive. However, what I was trying to understand is why so many adults who are abusers were themselves abused as children. If one can gain some insight into this, then perhaps it is possible to help heal the destructive wound that the abuser him- or her-self both bears within themselves and inflicts on others.

      As for choosing to term abuse “evil,” I demur. I think that is a judgement that belongs only to God. Research is also beginning to suggest that there is real identifiable neurological damage that often (but not always) occurs to the child as the result of abuse, and that this damage makes it difficult for them to understand or identify with the feelings and needs of others. This did not happen to you, which is a great blessing. But abuse causes real lasting psychological and physical damage in some that I do not think should be called “evil.” I prefer the term damaged, or even sick.

      Again, thank you for your comment. It is important to remember that not all abused children become abusers.


      Comment by theotheri — February 6, 2013 @ 1:57 pm | Reply

  8. Whats yourname


    Comment by Flawless — April 8, 2013 @ 1:44 am | Reply

    • I am guessing that you have not included your name because in this context you don’t think it’s relevant.

      My name is not a big secret, but I don’t think it’s relevant in this context either. Do you disagree?


      Comment by theotheri — April 8, 2013 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

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  11. I find this article deeply distressing. It is sinister to make any link between a child being abused and any later potentiality that they as an adult have abused others. In doing this, you are potentially silencing vulnerable individuals who have been abused, but who are afraid to tell others for fear of how they will be viewed and for fear others will worry they will become abusers as well.

    No reputable scholar will support this insane notion. It is a notion that finds its roots in abusers, whose own explanations for the reason they abuse ie having suffered their own childhood abuse, is dubious. Of course an abuser will look to blame someone else for abusing. They are hardly going to say they had a wonderful childhood and it was a wonderful childhood that caused them to abuse others. They fabricate their own childhood abuses to excuse their despicable behaviour. As a society we need to reject this ridiculous relationship between childhood abuse and later becoming an abuser. If so many do not become abusers, then childhood abuse can not be implicated any more than any other event that may or may not have happened in a child’s life.

    There is no forensic link whatsoever in a person suffering abuse and later despicable acts of human cruelty towards others. Suggesting there is is to base a hypothesis on conjecture, supposition and generalisations – only a narcissisitic, moral absolutist would do this.


    Comment by Michael Larkin — May 18, 2013 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

    • I am sorry to have distressed you. My intent was to provide some modicum of insight and even compassion for those abusers who were themselves damaged as children through abuse. Punishment is not an effective treatment in these situations.

      However, abusing a child can cause terrible scarring, including the conclusion that what he/she experienced was not abuse, but actually the right way to raise a child. I am not sure, however, how much of the research about child abuse you are familiar with, but there are a good number of reputable scholars who agree with my position.


      Comment by theotheri — May 20, 2013 @ 6:57 am | Reply

    • Listen up, and let me tell you first hand that child molesters are EVIL, I saw it for myself, He scared my child and others by rolling his eyes back so all you could see were the whites of his eyes; almost in a trance like state. He told them their mother would be killed,and little sister killed. I know that this man was sexual abused as a child, they killed a pig in front of him to scare him into not telling… I do know they are the most manipulating people in the universe. This so called man said “I have no control over it” I fought for two years because I believe the boys &girls. I do know that boys will become abusers, maybe not all but a very high percent. You don’t want to hear that then you are scared of the truth. My son is alive today, but he died when he was eight years old. Yes the damage was done, without a doubt neurological damage was done to him. His spirit was amputated by that EVIIL man, and there is no prosthetic for that. They literally take your soul. Your spirit. Your humanness, Do not tell me you are offended by the word EVIL unless you have seen someone show themselves, when EVIL seeps out like a demon. I was frozen in fear, I could not move. He told me as he twisted my neck like he was going to break it, “Make it go away” “I just want it to go away” (meaning the court hearings) I said, “Break it Mother $%##” I will not back down ever in the face of EVIL, He is a coward,they are scared, sick, without feelings of any kind. He was abused, then he said my son would be a molester just like him, he said that is why he is. There is a place here “the Barbara Sinatra Children s center for abused children” no matter if you have money or not they will treat you. God Bless Barbara Sinatra and her work. It is right beside the Betty Ford Center. They had a group for “mothers of molested children”. When I sat in that room, I have never in my whole life felt so much pain in one small room, it was silent and you can literally feel the despair, hopelessness, and deep sorrow that cried out from each person’s soul without one of us saying a word. The room was so heavy, I could hardly lift my head. One Child Molester 25 years ago, affected 3 families, their children, and the children to come. And the pain still continues to this day…. We MUST stop the cycle. How? First boys DO NOT talk about it, the percentage is much higher then what is documented. It is so important to know the signs- Anger, aggression, chronic constipation without medical reason is one that is missed. Also the person as myself that told and told and told everyone the truth suffers more than anyone will ever know. They get blamed. “If you never said anything then all this trouble would not be happening, trouble maker, and on and on. Just try and shut me up. My life was ruined, I wish I could have one day without that monster in my head, just one day. The person that is abused is reliving the abuse over and over, somehow they think they will conquer it. They should not have children. This is one way of stopping some of the cycle. May sound drastic, but a small price to pay in comparison of generations of molesters in the making. FACT. too bad if you don’t want to hear it. Lets get real and tell it like it is. Girls go on to be with men that are abusive so they keep reliving their abuse that way and just maybe if their good enough this time, he will stop. They in turn are victims of domestic violence. What I am going to say, probably most will not agree, but I do not care. I am a victim, a witness, a survivor. The only thing that I ever saw that helped is when someone begged God; whoever God is to you and cried out for help. In this fight you are facing a demon in the other person. I believe without a doubt that the molester casts a type of evilness or demon or whatever you want to call it, into the person they are abusing. The only being that can fight Satan is God. I am not a religious person, it is just when this evil child abuser showed himself, his face began to change, it was like he was transforming in front of my eyes. I was literally frozen, I could not move, or run and I do remember saying “don’t do it, don’t do it.
      If you saw and felt what I did that day, you would know what evil feels like. ( he finally took a plea bargain for a lesser charge & did jail time, he is back in prison on burglary and drug charges) That judge was (above comment on this site) right on to call the guy who abused the 2 yr old evil. He was right!! Also Child molesters cannot be cured. There is no cure. I believe they should all get a life sentence, because the day that they get out of prison, they will do it again. I promise you they will. If you do not think so, then have them babysit your child, or grandchild, or daughter. I DIDN’T THINK SO! Drastic measures must be taken, and if you know nothing about the subject other than what you read, then you really know nothing. These people take your God given spirit and they wont give it back. Whoever is reading this and has been abused, know that you are LOVED. When life is too hard to stand, kneel. Prayer is powerful. I never thought that would come out of my mouth but I am a person who tells it like it is. Ask GOD to fight for you. Only He knows if you truly mean it. Out of 5 of my children the ones that had their spirit taken are on drugs. The others are productive, with great jobs, education and family. My girl has been in abusive relationships and will do anything for someone to love her. She was straight A student, maybe if she got all A’s then she would be good enough. Homecoming queen & she was and smart This is her belief. The abuser destroys the very essence of Self. I know this won’t be printed but I have told the truth, I sometimes wonder if it was all worth it. Maybe the guy that needed facts for his research should make this Attachment A….it might help someone because NO one talks. Sometimes I say to God, Why me? He says “Why not you?…. Someone has to do it. To see me on the street you would think I was the happiest, friendliness , well dressed, confident, beautiful woman and you would never know that I am dying inside with an ache i carry that hurts every day, I just want to be free, I am tired of wearing a mask, of being the great pretender. I just want to be free. Sorry, so sorry if I have offended anyone. TeenaMac


      Comment by Kristina — June 18, 2013 @ 10:05 pm | Reply

      • It is impossible to read your anguished comments here without appreciating – if one doesn’t already – how terribly destructive child abuse is. In some ways it is the most destructive act I can imagine because it is waged against defenceless and innocent children who will carry the effects with them all of their lives.

        My own experience is that not every child who is abused becomes an abuser, but many do. Not – and I do have direct experience of this – is it impossible for abusers to change. I doubt very much that prison is the place where this can occur however.

        I cannot see how anything that you have said might offend anyone. To speak out against child abuse takes strength and courage and unfortunately great anguish. Personally, I don’t think “evil” is a particularly helpful description or cause. But insofar as you are using the word describe the terrible damage it can cause, and indeed the broken soul of the abuser himself (or occasionally herself), I cannot disagree.

        Thank you for taking the time to share you experience and insights. Yes, we must speak out. It is too terrible to let child abuse continue without a murmur.


        Comment by theotheri — June 19, 2013 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

    • Thank you


      Comment by laura cowden — June 20, 2013 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

  12. I think your bang right on this subject, such a shame that there’s not a safe and happy home for every child out there.


    Comment by This Website — June 11, 2013 @ 10:14 am | Reply

    • Thank you for your feedback. I agree – it’s so painful to know that children are abused. But knowing and caring about them can make a difference. Again and again, abused children tell how the kindness of a single person saved them from despair. We can’t save the whole world. But we might be able to smile at a single child. And make a difference.


      Comment by theotheri — June 11, 2013 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

      • This comment is for theotheri in response to my June 18, 2013 comment above. I am new to this blogging, but I need to Thank you for your comment. I received an email saying “you might be interested in other blogs by theotheri and I read one you did in 2010 on “Why do people lose faith?’ The two blogs became connected to me somehow as you wrote that “like Jung you were a thinker and not a feeler” well, I beg to differ; when you commented “It is impossible to feel your anguish…. etc.. (above) I began to sob uncontrollably, you said Anguish ! Someone for the first time in my life said they felt the anguish in my words.. you will never know the weight that was lifted in that moment; someone actually validated my anguish! I could not stop crying….so for you to write in another post that you were a “thinker” and not a “feeler” could not be further from the truth…YOU felt my anguish. You had empathy, compassion and the insight to feel my anguish through my anger and hatred of what happened to myself and family. You even used the word courage. I hope you see the connection between the two blogs because you wrote at the end “I don’t consider myself a believer” You must Believe me when I say that your words have in some way freed me; the load that I carry became so much lighter; I believe (even if you don’t) that you are doing God’s work everyday and just maybe you do not realize how powerful your words were to someone like me who was never once told that I was in any pain at all, and then I felt like you defended me by saying ” I cannot see how anything you have said could offend anyone” I was in complete disbelief! You described the way I have felt for over 25years in one word; Anguished; definition for extreme anxiety or emotional torment. suffering, torture, pain, grief and sorrow. I have never heard of a “thinker” that could “feel” as much pain as you did as you read the words of a stranger…..for that, I am forever grateful to you.


        Comment by Kristina — June 24, 2013 @ 10:48 am | Reply

        • Kristina – I don’t know how to tell you how much your comment means. Thank you so very much. Truly it does seem to me that the cruelty of abuse, especially of a child, is one of the most terrible things human beings can possibly do to each other. To know that in some small way I have been able to stand by you is a gift you have given me.

          Thank you again. Truly Terry – TheOtherI

          On Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 11:48 AM, The Other I


          Comment by Terry Sissons — June 24, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

  13. Its idiots like u that destroy people like me’ s lives! So because I was abused im a sicko? Seriously where do people like you get of categorising us all? I have never harmed anyone and never would but because of people and social workers like you with this ridiculous logic I get branded a possible bad parent and have to fight tooth and nail to be able to keep my children… did we not suffer enough being abused in the first place without morons destroying us over and over as adults! !!!!


    Comment by laura cowden — June 20, 2013 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

    • No, I have never said that because you were abused that you are a sicko! Abuse is a terrible thing, but I know that there are people who can use this experience to find a great depth and wisdom and kindness that is outstanding. I do not think you are necessarily a bad parent. On the contrary, your own childhood may, as you suggest, be a source of strength that is making you an outstandingly good parent.

      I have tried to understand and explain why some people abuse. I think abusers themselves have been damaged, and in order to help, one must understand that. But I am NOT suggesting that all abused children become abusive adults. I know for an absolute fact that they do not.


      Comment by theotheri — June 20, 2013 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

      • And how many people with a brilliant child hood become abusers a lot trust me. Perhaps before u stated all this as if fact u should look at the other side kids from rich families kids with happy up bringings etc… hell how many socual workers and foster carers them selves who have been checked over and over become abusers.
        Why do people abuse? Who knows to be honest same as why do people get cancer… because umfortunately there is good and bad in every walk of life if your going to become an abuser u will regardless of your own experiences!


        Comment by laura cowden — June 20, 2013 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

        • Yes, I agree wholeheartedly that child abuse is not limited by socio-economic status, and it is a grave mistake to think so – completely distorting and unfair to the poor, as if more money is equal to greater virtue. You and I know it is not.

          However, child abuse is potentially damaging whoever the abuser is. That is one of the reasons why it is worth trying to understand its causes and to stop it, as well as support those innocent people who have been “knocked down” by it. Yes, some people are knocked down by a drunk or by abuse, and get up and go on with their lives. But some people are knocked down and are badly hurt. And some of them are not only angry but want revenge as well. It is understandable, even if taking the law into one’s own hands ultimately will not make things better for anybody.

          Thank you for reminding all the readers of this blog that the “successful” are not necessarily strangers to bullying and abusing.


          Comment by theotheri — June 21, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

      • So by this logic…. say u were knocked down by a drunk driver ud agree that could mentally a physically scar u… would u then get drunk and go and knock someone down? I mean really its rediculas logic completely flawed and with no proof.


        Comment by laura cowden — June 20, 2013 @ 5:39 pm | Reply

  14. I was abused as a child and I am now 55 I married someone who was abusive twice and I am co dependent every time I think there is light at the end of the tunnel I end up back repeating the cycle, my children were not directly abused my me but saw first hand abuse through my relationships, sometimes I think I was put on this earth to be abused. The people that are supposed to help dont, they just threaten you by saying they will remove your children, they do not seem to understand that you cannot just walk away, be rehoused and then be left as sooner of later you will go on to have more abusive relationships thus repeating the pattern over and over again. My children have definetly been affected by this but no abused person asks for or deserves to be abused, it is a learnt behaviour, through various things and can be triggered by certain factors in their lifestyle and choices but it is definitely a combination of lots of different aspects and wholly complicated. 2 out of 3 of my children the two eldest have problems directly related to this and similarly I am the eldest of 3 children and both myself and my middle sister have been affected more the youngest one as with mine family seems less affected. I always thought there was good in most people and I still do to a point but my second husband has been so damaged by his childhood that I became so genuinely scared of him and still am to this day that after he tried to kill me, broke my nose and cheekbone, then wrapped an electricial cord around my neck I hit him with a hammer to get him off me only once but in law you can not do this I was told by the police I could not prosecute him, I did try. I now cannot tolerate abuse if I see someone who is being abused I inevitably will go and try to intervene thus putting myself in danger, I have become more agressive I will hit back now but thats a two sided coin. I now know that I am tired and enough is enough and I intend to try to get on the freedom programme for women to see if this helps, some of us walk away from abuse others dont and a very small percentage learn not be abused by anyone again. I have low self esteem and am vunerable but I am a survivor and Im going to try to do what I can do to stop this cycle so I can be happy, thank you for listening. As a society we need to offer more structured help and realise that some people can be helped there is a small percentage of people that cannot and will enexplicably go on to do dreadful acts.


    Comment by Pauline — June 22, 2013 @ 6:55 am | Reply

    • Thank you so much for sharing so honestly and fully your experience and struggle with abusive behavior. I think one of the things you point out of special importance is that learning how not to be abused, and even learning how not to abuse, is not always easy or obvious. So often we tend to think that someone who has been abused would know how not to abuse, but so often that isn’t how it works. What children see is adults defending themselves by punching, hitting, bullying (sometimes physically, sometimes verbally). But learning how to defend oneself without punching back, that is, to be truly independent, isn’t easy.

      You also suggest that there is not enough help for the abused or abusers. I agree. In my limited experience, even social workers and other professionals who are trained often do not understand the kind of support and guidance that is needed.

      Again, thank you for your insightful and personal comment. I profoundly hope that the freedom programme for women is helpful in your journey.


      Comment by theotheri — June 22, 2013 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

      • thank u for taking the time to read my insight into this and your feedback, I truly believe that no one is born evil it is a combination of luck, social factors and choices, peer pressure which influence our behaviours if we do not nurture and care for the vunerable in our society who will Just one kind word or a smile can make all the difference. I do not believe that prison is the answer much more insight and help needs to be made available.


        Comment by Pauline — June 22, 2013 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

        • Thank you again for your additional comment. I value it particularly because it is coming from someone who knows first hand what abuse is like. I too believe that sometimes just a kind word or a smile can change the world for someone.

          I also think that children who are abused often choose partners who are abusers – not because they admire abusers but because they sometimes mistake the threat of abuse for strength. I wonder sometimes if we Americans don’t also sometimes do this on the international level, mistaking our bigger bombs for true strength, and the willingness to negotiate or to respect differences as weakness.

          What do you think?


          Comment by Terry Sissons — June 23, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

        • i personally dont think people choose their abusers as they mistake the abuse for strength think rather they see similar traits of perhaps their peers, the good traits and over look the bad ones as they look for what is familiar and normal to them. Most abusers do not show the abuse at first and we tend to only see what we want to see, human nature overlooks the bad wanting to see good. Again in terms of governments think its fear that makes them think they need the biggest weapons etc, a sense of superioty and its a quite fix rather than negotiating all which takes time, in the same way as prison is seen as a quick fix yet statistics prove its ineffectual.


          Comment by Pauline — June 24, 2013 @ 11:43 am

        • I think you are right in that often potentially abusive friends and partners are capable of great charm, and that the abusive possibilities are not always obvious at first.

          Perhaps more critical to solving the problem is to recognize that there are no quick fixes – whether we are talking about governments or individuals. What I find unusual is that you, who know first hand the pain caused by abuse, are nonetheless able to see this. Part of the solution to abuse must, unfortunately, come from those who have been most hurt by it, and I wonder if you have any insight into how you have come to understand that prison is an ineffectual solution.

          Thank you for sharing your insights. I believe they are of great value to those of us who need to understand better than we so often do.

          On Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM, The Other I


          Comment by Terry Sissons — June 24, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

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      Comment by theotheri — July 30, 2013 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

  17. Hi, child abuse is evil and the evil people who engage in it are evil. However, your focus seems to be directed towards men. Yet, there are women who are worse-women who rape their sons and daughters-women who drown and strangle their children. If we are to look abuse properly then we must understand the cycle-often little girls are abused and then they grow up to become abusers too. If we dissect the entire homosexual and feminism movement then we will see that it is all a product of child abuse and anger. A gender identity disorder is a disruption into the development of a normal identity- a child is abused y the same sex and then becomes a self abuser and becomes homosexual. Many gays will deny this, but must have to them deny that they are being victimized by their childhood abuse-must gays are abused either pre-puberty or post.


    Comment by Lilith Elgan — August 2, 2013 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

    • Yes, certainly women – mothers, teachers, sisters, friends, waives – also engage in abuse and it is often as destructive as abuse by men. Here in England, the news has been covering at this very moment the life sentences given to a mother and her partner who murdered her 4-year-old son after months of anguishing torture.

      Your assertion that gender identity disorder and homosexuality are the result of abuse is subject to less certainty. My review of the research into this area does not provide anything like the substantive evidence that would be required to prove your hypotheses. Have you yourself studied the research, or are you conclusions based on religious convictions?

      Thank you for adding your opinion to this immensely important issue. I suspect that it is one which is not unrelated to our cultural attitudes toward violence, gun control, and even war.


      Comment by theotheri — August 2, 2013 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  18. Hi,
    I am a female who was both physically (not sexually) and mentally abused as a child. I spent my childhood scared for my mum and afraid of my dad. I’ve seen things no child should ever have to see.
    As an adult I feel an overwhelming urge to be a ‘rescuer’ of anyone who I see is in trouble and can’t/won’t help themselves – Men, women and especially children.
    However, in my 2 long term relationships I became the abuser. I would scream with uncontrollable rage, smash things, punch and kick them, throw things at them etc. I was extremely violent. In the end I realised I was pushing and pushing them until they hit back. And hit back they surely did!
    So… the cycle of abuse continued.
    It took a long time for me to realize I needed professionally help. I had regular appointments with a mental health doctor and weekly sessions with a therapist which are still ongoing.
    I’d like to think I have ‘fixed’ myself and am now a better person. I have not had a new relationship since I started my session but I am hopeful that I can have a violent-free, loving relationship in the future.
    I am now working in community service and helping others and it feels great.
    My insight on your 3 possible reasons for ‘some abusers becoming abusers’
    1. I never thought as a child I or my mum deserved it, quite the opposite – I hated my dad and thought he was a horrible person. I was a good kid who behaved well.
    2. Totally agree. With everything in this statement.
    3. I am very empathetic to others, I often had to save my mum and would always wonder what it was like for her and what she must be going through.
    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic and even more enjoyed reading your replies to people posts.
    It’s a complicated world inside peoples heads….


    Comment by understanding myself — May 2, 2014 @ 2:13 am | Reply

    • Thank you for sharing your very personal story, and what seem to me to be valuable insights for anyone who has suffered abuse. I particularly appreciate you feedback on why some abusers become abusers themselves. It is amazing, isn’t it, to discover that one has learned oneself the very behaviors that caused you so much pain and distress. But, as you suggest, those who “can’t or won’t” help themselves have rarely learned how to defend themselves in any other way than by abusing and bullying.

      I think it takes courage to be as honest with oneself as you seem to have been and I deeply hope that it leads you to a enriching and loving relationship. But even now, it sounds as if you have found a way toward overcoming the limitations of your childhood.

      Again, thank you for sharing.


      Comment by theotheri — May 3, 2014 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

    • Oh my goodness! Why do we, as humans, assume that the first thing that pops into our stupid heads is just as valid as the cumulative knowledge of experts in a specified field of study? I’m talking about some of the people commenting here. It’s fun to read something and attempt to pick out its fallacies of logic, but it’s so hard for people to be just as relentlessly analytical about their own logical lapses. I don’t advocate that we blindly accept the dogma of a particular field, but before we decide to stand in defiant opposition, we should probably take a moment to investigate where the holes in our own arguments may lie. A) No one’s going to let child molesters off, just because we’re making an attempt to get to the root of the issue. That’s right wing rhetoric. “We can’t try to more fully understand the motivations of the sick so that we can figure out some preventative measures, because it’s a ‘slippery slope’ which will result in us setting all molesters free, and giving them state-sponsored jobs as cotton candy vendors, and school counselors.” It’s a fact that the abused become abusers.
      Needing the privacy to examine one’s own actions, and having that very space only belonging to God, are statements at odds with one another. If the person needs that space to come to their own revelations, then what is God doing there? And, if the ‘space’ wherein we make moral decisions about our actions, belongs only to God, then why in the world didn’t he/she tell us we shouldn’t be abusing in the first place?
      The only issue I have with the original post, is that the perp was not the epitome of evil. Unless you believe that there is no such thing as evil. I do believe that, even though ‘evil’ is simply a word that someone came up with to describe something bad. I suppose it has to mean something…I feel that everything we do is directly related to the personal history of the actor, their genetic makeup, and the resulting interaction of those two elements as they enter into a specific circumstance. With no exceptions, I believe those three components dictate our action or inaction. In this sense, I don’t believe in good, nor evil… nor free will.


      Comment by fatalshores666 — July 3, 2014 @ 9:21 am | Reply

      • I could not agree more wholeheartedly with almost everything you have said. When occasionally one of my university students would say that he/she didn’t need to learn some theory or other because they disagreed with it already, my stance was always that you don’t have to agree with a theory to pass my course. But you do have to understand it.

        As for the use of the word “evil”: I would not use it to describe anyone’s behavior. Not because many things we do are not horribly destructive – like child abuse. But the term “evil” has connotations of responsibility and the need for punishment that are religiously based, and for the reasons you give, using it gets in the way of identifying what genetic, social, and environmental factors tend to lead to abuse. Those are the things we need to focus on.

        Thank you for your comment. I hope you will stop by again and share your thoughts.


        Comment by theotheri — July 3, 2014 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

  19. I am a nurse in the prison system and I can honestly say that %95 of my offenders have been abused in childhood. Some offenders are in for things other that assault of course but this shows that abuse definitely disrupts “normal” human thinking and hinders coping mechanisms. When people say they can’t blame their past, I agree, however we (society) needs to teach HEALTHY coping mechanisms to surpass this cycle.


    Comment by corn — May 21, 2014 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

    • I have been thinking about your observation ever since I read it 12 hours ago. I don’t know what prison system you work in, but in so many cultures today, people believe that it is the power of the military, their bombs and drones and guns and missiles, that keep them safe. I am not against a well-armed military, but I do fear that in many ways it leads to a bullying attitude not only in international affairs but in our personal relationships.. When a society condemns a criminal for acts which are sometimes are horrendous, it is hard to look into our own hearts and ask if in some way his attitudes are outgrows of our own assumptions. As you say, we as a society need to teach healthy coping mechanisms.

      Thank you for writing. If you have further thoughts down the line on this issue, I hope you will share them. Again, thank you.


      Comment by theotheri — May 22, 2014 @ 8:22 pm | Reply

  20. Many children of abuse often find them self at a cross road when young, they have to make a decisions as to whom to become. My wife and family was abused by the father. She told me some time ago that she said when she was young, she would never be like her mother, take the abuse. In doing so, she becomes the other one. She has now become like her father in order to protect herself from perceived attack.Always defensive nothing ever her fault. This has taken many years to develop. Most of her family is abusive, so yes, it surely goes in circles.
    As for a cure, not much hope.
    As for people who ask God for help, please spare me. Most abuse happens under God’s watchful eye, in Christian homes. One one hand he allow it to happen, and then on the other, some one ask him to help them get over it. How can he serve to at the same time.
    Looking forward for your comment.


    Comment by michael — June 1, 2014 @ 11:07 am | Reply

    • Thank you for sharing your very personal story. I am sure you do not need me to confirm that abuse is not only destructive in myriad ways, but it is extraordinarily difficult and painful to live with a person crippled by abuse.

      I am not sure that I would say that there is not much hope for a cure. It is impossible to know the numbers. But I personally know people who have been able to learn from the experience of abuse to care for others in deeply insightful and sensitive ways. But it is by no means simple or quick. It takes a relationship with someone who can somehow help the abused person reduce the barriers of fear and replace them with self-confidence and honesty that does not depend on raw psychological or physical threat. The source of this support might be a therapist, though by no means do all therapists know how to help the abused person. Sometimes it is a spouse, a friend, an aunt or uncle, even a neighbour. But sometimes, however much one may love the damaged person, one is simply stymied. That is extraordinarily difficult.

      Personally, I am like you and do not see that asking God’s help is an effective strategy. You point to what I see as an essential contradiction in the Christian concept of God — someone who is presented as all-loving and all-powerful, and yet who permits the suffering of innocent people, and who also, should one be unfortunate enough to die in a “state of sin” will never be forgiven but instead condemned to hell fire for eternity. I think the contradiction is unresolvable, and I have no patience with such a God whom I personally believe does not exist.

      I know no more about your personal situation than what you have said in your comment, and I do not presume to offer you advice. But I do hope that somehow you and your wife might find that glimmer of light that leads some out of the tunnel of darkness that is abuse.


      Comment by theotheri — June 1, 2014 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

  21. […] most frequently read post on this blog by far is the post  Why do abused children become abusers?    Why, I asked, are a disproportionate number of abusers people who have themselves been abused? […]


    Pingback by A heroic lesson still unlearned | The Other I — July 5, 2014 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

  22. we give the abused our love and charity,they would give you none,they are the enemy,number one,it is not peodophiles we should fear,it is the abused,,the so called victims,who would victimise us..make no mistake,,they are the monsters of our society,,save your sympathys for the little ones they will hurt


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 4, 2015 @ 12:55 am | Reply

  23. if you think you can change an abused persons mind,,and behaviour,,you are wrong,,it never changes,,ever,,,,ive heard a hundred stories of abuse,the outcome is always the same,,and never once did any show remorse for things they themselfs have done,,not one,,they are the eternal focus of their own minds,besotted with themselfs,and their life,,,,they are indeed the living dead,,feeling nothing,caring for nothing,,they are to be avoided


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 4, 2015 @ 1:06 am | Reply

    • Michael – Thank you for sharing your experiences of living with an abusive wife for two decades. I agree with your description of abused persons. They are often seriously damaged and go on to become seriously damaging to those in turn who look to them for love and care and respect. In some ways I think the ongoing-trail of abuse is one of the most destructive forces unleashed on humanity by our own.

      I also agree that the damage caused by abuse cannot usually be mended by the love and care we might offer in our every day relationships. That love and care will, as you say, often be met by unfeeling manipulative self-serving egocentrism.

      What I don’t agree with you about is that the abused-become-abuser can never change. Unlike you, I have seen more than one abused person given the opportunity to understand what it was that happened to them. I have seen them sometimes change fundamentally, and several have gone on to help other abused persons.

      I don’t know that every abused person can gain sufficient insight to truly change however. I strongly suspect they cannot. And I certainly would not suggest that someone who found themselves in a spousal relationship could and should achieve this if one truly loved one’s partner. The tragedy of abuse is often too deep and fundamental for the relationship even to continue. I offer you my deep sympathy that you struggled with this for 20 years of marriage before finally realizing that you needed to leave. I don’t know your circumstances, of course, but it sounds as if you may have needed to leave for your own well-being. I hope that you find happiness in the future.


      Comment by theotheri — August 4, 2015 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  24. psychopaths,,sociopaths,,,most are abused,,they have insight,,,,but care not,,and never will..was at a funeral of an abusive,abused alchoholic,,church was packed,,,kind words were said,,,all lies,,,deceptions,,he was cruel,agressive,bullying,and remorse was completely absent in this man,he did nothing but hurt others,he was the walking dead,,,he was the abused,,,,the victim,who escaped his own victimisation,by victimising all around him,.even in death,they play the victim, and escape retribution,,which most do,,only good thing to say,,is the abused are very easy to spot,,they are .after all,the walking dead,,


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 5, 2015 @ 1:58 am | Reply

  25. the abused lack that spark of human happiness,,that energy a loved person has,,and eminates in every action,the abused are a portrate of saddness,.deep burning pain,,,,of which they would inflict on you,,given the chance, one abused man said,,i am an emotional vampire,,i will drain you of love,,then move on,,says it all,,,30 to 40 percent of abusers will become abusers,,in some kind of way,,dont fall for the hard luck story they allways spin,the anger,,or the poor me,,,they will victimise you and all around them,,with their indifferance,they are the opposite of love,the opposite of all that is good,and you cannot save them,love them,trust them,,,but,,you can recognise them


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 5, 2015 @ 2:18 am | Reply

    • Again, thank you for sharing your insights. our description of the truly abusive person is both incisive and terrifying.

      And as you say, perhaps 30-40 % of those who are abused become abusers. Do you not wonder, as I do, what the critical factors are that keep that number of from being even higher? Why doesn’t every one who is become abusive? why are not all abused children damaged in the same way? or if they are, how do they emerge from that vampire condition, as you describe it?

      There has been some significant research done on this subject, and as with all human behavior, it is not a one-answer-fits-all situation. But one interesting factor seems to be that those who survive better had at least one person who cared about them and did not abuse them. For some it was a grandparent, for others a teacher, a neighbour, an aunt or uncle. And for some it was a relationship which lasted for a surprisingly brief time, but it was someone who was able to show the person some glimmer of another way of life than bullying and abusiveness.

      But as I have said before, the answers are not simple. Like you, I am sure, I wish they were.

      On Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 3:18 AM, The Other I wrote:



      Comment by Terry Sissons — August 5, 2015 @ 8:22 pm | Reply

  26. they all have emotional defecits,they are incomplete people,,jigsaws with pieces missing,,when they abuse,,they have all the power,the esteem,control,happiness,,,once they taste that,,,theres no going back,,the child sees the abuser as all powerfull,,and themselfs as powerless,,they want that power,,,thats why so many abuse,,contrary to logic,.to abuse ,is to be powerfull,,,to be powerfull is happiness,,,thats why so many have zero remorse,,none,,by the age of 9,their brains are fully mapped.the foundations laid,,and we will all suffer from them,,,and they all have that ,,look,,,that dead facial expression,,,like an empty house,,,because they are empty,,of everything,,,they are shells…they cannot be loved into life,,because they are dead…imagine this,,,6 girls on a night out,,all laughing having fun,,but theres one who doesnt laugh,doesnt dance ,and says nothing,,the damaged one,,,the victim,,,looking for a victim,,they are so easy to spot,,how can we miss their sadness,,for we are alive to everything,,,they are not.ive worked with the abused for many years,,they seldom smile or laugh,,,or love,,they are demons in disguise,,one girl said,,,i know i lack remorse and guilt,,but the thing is,,i couldnt care less,she had beaten her three kids ,,wicked does not discribe them,,


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 5, 2015 @ 11:32 pm | Reply

  27. they are indifferant to others pain,only their own feeling matter,,no one elses,,never give them the benefit of the doubt,,, because with then,there is no doubt,when i hear of someone being abused,,i think,,oh no,,not another monster in the making,,the prisons are full of these people,,with good reason,,,each with their own horror story,,each without remorse,,,not a one,,,people should think twice before feeling sympathy for them,they are to be feared,not pittied,,,humanity has been warned


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 5, 2015 @ 11:48 pm | Reply

    • Perhaps because your insight into the devastating destructiveness of abuse is exceptionally perceptive, I think that very acuteness may make it more difficult for you to recognize that this is not always the whole picture. I do agree that pity is not a helpful response, but as I have said before, I myself have seen this damage being ameliorated, even turned into deep compassion for others who have been likewise abused. On this I guess we will simply have to agree to disagree?


      Comment by theotheri — August 7, 2015 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  28. its not what you see on the outside that matters with these people,,its what lies with in..iam a professional,,,ive worked with hundreds of abused people,think of it like this,,empathising with other abused people is only self identification,,self pity,,,not true empathy,,they care not for any other group,drunks go with drunks,drug addicts, with drug addicts,the damaged with the damaged…self identification,,,nothing more,,adolph hitler.joseph stalin,,both beaten by their fathers,,both psychopathic both abused,,,hitler tied to a tree,and beaten by the father,,,stalins arm broken by his mother,,both monsters,,,this is the end product,,,this,is what sits next to you on a bus,this is not where our sympathys should be,i fear them,rather than pity them..wolfs amongst sheep


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 8, 2015 @ 7:49 pm | Reply

    • A point you are making so vividly is that abuse can – and has – led to worldwide disastrous consequences leading to excruciating deaths of literally hundreds of millions of men, women, and children. I agree completely. Nor are the consequences comfortably behind us in the 20th century. In fact, I suspect that the consequences of abusive behavior today are a greater danger to the very existence of the human species than environmental change. I have just read a review of the book *From Deep State to Islamic State The Arab Counter-Revolution and its Jihadi Legacy* by Jean-Pierre Filiu who more or less argues that the violent suppression of descent by middle-east dictators is responsible for the often even-more violence of jihadis and “governments” like ISIS, and the Taliban.

      What your comments have re-stimulated for me is another exploration of the ways in which we can effectively reduce this ongoing generational problem. Even if physically we could manage to imprison every potentially abusive person before they have actually perpetrated atrocity, it would be too great a violation of justice and be self-defeating. Therapy, even by effective therapists, may be useful but doesn’t begin to make a significant dent into the problem. I think much broader parental training may help reduce the problem, as well as laws which are actually enforced against abusing children. Hitting children, for instance, is now illegal in the UK. It has not eliminated abuse by any means, but is, I think, a step in the right direction. And of course, the general public needs to realize both how extensive and destructive abusive behavior is.

      Thank you again for your comments. I should very much like to hear your further thoughts on this issue. Not everyone appreciates as fully as you the depth of the damage that abuse can wreck.


      Comment by Terry Sissons — August 10, 2015 @ 1:13 pm | Reply

  29. those who have not been tortured wont torture,,those who have; will is the key to all the doors,,but not with these people,,,every child is born narcasistic,,almost psychopathic,,its a good survival mechanism,,no conscience,empathy pity,,kids are known to be cruel,,but…with love and encouragement they learn,there are other objects in the world to love,,they have addaptive narcasism,,those abused,,have maladdaptive narcasism,,and they retain in adulthood,the psychopathy of the child,,this is the reason there is no,,cure,,for the abused,there is no creature on earth with such self serving narcasism as the abused,they are besotted with their own life,just as the child is lost in its own world when it plays,,,the abused are the .centre ,of their world,eternaly,,,they call it,,my pain,,,,well,,,,who do you think about when you have a realy bad toothache,,,,these people are the biggest threat to humanity,to love,,to all that is good,,and we do well to be wary of them,never be a part of their learning curve,,,never


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 12, 2015 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

  30. had a patient today,,,35 female,abused,,,,usual story…she stole money at work,,drinks,,neglects her kids,,cheated on her husband,,ran up huge debts,,,absolutely no remorse,,none,,nor will there ever be,,this will be her whole life,,,and she regrets nothing,,,she says,,ive met a new man,,we are so happy together,,her kids are history,,her debts her husbands,,this is the real world of the abused,,supremely indifferent to those around her,,this was typical case,,day in day out,,,never changes…do not befriend them,,love them,help them,avoid them at all costs…i am sick .of people saying we should pity them and help them,,no we should not,,one way to spot them,,is,,they take no joy in life,seldom smile,,and will have few,if any happy memories to tell you,,these are all warning signs,,never do rescue me relationships with them,,for it is you who will eventualy need rescueing


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 12, 2015 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

    • We certainly do agree that abuse is massively damaging. We also agree that pity is an unhelpful response at best. In fact, I think that pity for anyone is a demeaning response and turns them into helpless victims – which in the case of the abused only deepens their problems. We may, perhaps, also share common ground about those who are abused but do not themselves become abusers. I too suspect that it is because they experience enough true and respectful love as they are growing up to experience a true choice, to understand that it is possible to live a much fuller, happier life without the bullying and self-seeking that characterizes the abuser. Abusing children too often teaches them that it’s the biggest bully that wins. But there are other ways to respond to abuse that do not diminish one.

      On Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 6:10 PM, The Other I wrote:



      Comment by Terry Sissons — August 13, 2015 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  31. mmm,,,of the hundreds ive worked with,,even those who do not abuse,have behavioural problems,,some extreme,,but they all have one thing in common,,a lack of remorse,guilt empathy,,affection,to understand what affection really is,,imagine your in bed sick,,your abused wife ,wont come near you,she will do the most basic requirment,,a meal,,a glass of water,,but little else,no touching,no care,no concern,,she wants to be the cared for,,,not the carer,,this is but one aspect of the abused,there are hundreds,,,,they care for no one.ever,,,a psychopath,,is the highest expression of abuse,,,,there are hundreds of groups below,and just below,,the full blown psychopath,we cannot love these people back to life,,they damage the undamaged,they reak havok in every life they touch,,taking what they need,,and moving on,with no remorse,,they are the walking dead,,and they look the part..we are influenced by our psychology,,they are driven by theirs,,and thats the difference,,,we are a world apart from them,,and they know it,,they want what we have,,happiness


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 13, 2015 @ 11:24 pm | Reply

  32. rapists murderers.psychopaths sociopaths,,,they dont come from loving families,not a chance,,we know where they come from,,and we know where they are going,,like i said,,never ever give them the benefit of the doubt,,because with them,,there is no doubt,,they are trouble,,lost souls,,we cannot save them from them selfs,,spoke to one abused man,even on his death bed,his last thoughts were for himself,,he said,,my life has been so so hard,,,,he cried,,,,not a word about his kids,who he terrified,and abused,,for decades,,narsacistic,,even in death,,the abused are all about,,me me me me,,we do not have to be scared of the boogey man,,when we have the abused walking among us,,do not drop your guard,or lower you gaze from them,,and keep them at arms length,,allways


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 13, 2015 @ 11:40 pm | Reply

  33. the abused,,are monsters in the making,,,with them,,the clock is allways ticking


    Comment by michael geoghegan — August 13, 2015 @ 11:44 pm | Reply

  34. You’ve gotta be kidding me fuk I was abused from 9 yrs old to 12 and I would nor couldn’t Eva inflict that pain on a child it makes me feel so sick so why as an abused child should I be left with that stigma why should I be ashamed it wasn’t me that did anything to be ashamed of


    Comment by nosey — December 12, 2015 @ 10:30 pm | Reply

    • I am so sorry that my post did not make it absolutely clear that I do not believe all abused children become abusers themselves. There are emphatically those like you – you know how terrible a thing abuse is and say with conviction that it is something that you would never do. I personally know only a few people who have been through what you have and are able to understand the cruelty and destructiveness of what happened to them as you do. Those people I do know, though, have been able to help others in ways that I find outstanding.

      What I was trying to communicate in my post is why some children who are abused grow up to become abusers themselves and to explore why they do not learn from their own personal experience how terrible abuse is?

      Again, please accept my deepest regret for not making clearer in my post that not all abused children become abusers.


      Comment by theotheri — December 13, 2015 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  35. I came from a abusive and neglectful early childhood.I was mentally and physically abused and assaulted bey my ex wife along with her manipulative and controlling behaviour almost weekly for thirteen years. I had no one to turn to or ask for help as “men don’t t get beaten by wife ” I have never hurt it abused anyone, and especially my own four children or four step kids!!! I think that this statement is utter rubbish and am insulted that people think an abused person becomes and abuser.


    Comment by dave — February 18, 2016 @ 8:46 am | Reply

    • Dave, I am deeply regretful that I did not make it absolutely clear in my original post that not all abused children become abusers themselves. You have every right to feel anger at such a suggestion.

      However – and this is where I was coming from in my original post – most abusers who are in prison have themselves been abused. I was trying to understand why they did not realize from their own experience how destructive and painful this is.

      If I were able to do the research today, the question I would most like to ask, however, is about children like you who do grow up to understand how terrible abuse is – who do not confuse abuse with authority or bullying with true influence, and who do not abuse their own partners and children. How do children who have the kind of childhood you describe learn to love, to explain rather than manipulate and abuse? was there someone in your life who did show you love and respect and care? was it some other influence? Having some idea of the answers to this question I would think would be seriously helpful for those working with abused children and even adults. If you have the patience, time, and energy, and would be willing to share them, I would very much like to hear your thoughts.

      Oh yes, I agree! I have seen men being abused by women, and although it may not always involve the same levels of physical attack, it can be no less terrible.


      Comment by theotheri — February 18, 2016 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

      • If you wish to ask me anything in regards future studys of the topic then I will assist if I can. I had fantastic foster parents who I still love and call my mum and dad. My brother however is in prison for abuse and one of my older sisters did loose her children for abuse but one older and another younger sister have grown as myself, into parent that adore there children to the moon and back.

        Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________


        Comment by dave swindlehurst — February 18, 2016 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

      • I replyed in a email if anything I can do to assist in further study’s plz ask.


        Comment by dave — February 18, 2016 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

        • Thank you, Dave. I am retired now and no longer have access to the sources a serious study on this subject requires. I am in contact, however, with several people who do work with the abused. Should any one I know be in a position to carry out further research, I will be anxious to put them in contact with you. It sounds as if you could make a significant contribution.

          Again, thank you. Terry Sissons (The Other I)


          Comment by theotheri — February 18, 2016 @ 2:29 pm

        • Your welcome and I would be happy to help anyone in this field and prove bot all, yet I agree some, abused become abusers.

          Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________


          Comment by dave swindlehurst — February 18, 2016 @ 2:33 pm

  36. […] of the most viewed posts on this blog is Why do abused children become abusers? published more than six years ago.  In it I ask why some children who are abused grow up to be […]


    Pingback by Which lesson have we learned? | The Other I — April 25, 2016 @ 8:33 pm | Reply

  37. What a load of nonsense I was abused and I grew up to b insecure timid and o am gentle and live animals and feel terrible for other abused children


    Comment by Michelle charms — May 29, 2017 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

    • I completely appreciate that the great majority of children who are abused do not themselves become abusers. What I was exploring in this post was the research into the dynamics of the small minority who do. What I also appreciate is that neglect and abuse is an immensely significant influence on almost all children who are at the end of this harsh stick. You, like others, grew up to be insecure and timid, but you also have been able to use your painful childhood to feel a deep empathy for other abused children. Perhaps it is also the source of your love of animals and your capacity for gentleness.
      What I would say is that indeed it would be a load of nonsense to say that all abused children become abusers. They do not. In fact, I know personally that they do not.

      I do hope this clarifies my original post. It would be only an additional wretched abuse to suggest that you yourself are an abuser just because you have been abused.


      Comment by theotheri — May 30, 2017 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

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