Speak Life. 12 Anti-platitude Responses to Abuse Victims

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, or abuse   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Kind, gentle, helpful statements are available for our use anytime we want.  We are not stuck without options to familiar ready-made responses to abuse. 

For many, it is easy to throw out euphemisms for “I do not actually care about your problem.”  However, when people who want to help do not know what to say, it is time for alternatives.

Speak life

Think of it this way. In your painful moments, you want those in positions to help to do just that.  Can you imagine an EMT discussing menu options while you are having a heart attack?  How would you describe a pilot who leads his panicked passengers in meditation instead of righting the plane?

In the same way, we have the choice of saying and doing what will actually make a positive difference in the moment.  Today, as we revisit those dead platitudes mentioned in the last blog, take note of the alternatives that speak life and hope to abuse victims. 

Instead of… Try this

“Time will heal”   “Are you safe? Do you need a place to stay?”    

“It could be worse.”   “I’ve no idea what this must be like for you.  All abuse destroys. It makes sense you are trying to find help.” 

“It’s not about marrying the right person, it’s about being the right person.”   “It is never your fault when your spouse is abusive. He (she) decides what kind of person to be just as we all do.”

 “Jesus said to forgive 70 times 70.”    “Standing up for yourself is appropriate.  Jesus loved, forgave, and still held people accountable. That’s the example he set.”  

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”   “I’m glad you told me. Is there anyone else you’d like me to call?”  

“Just give it to God” “Pray harder.”   “You are not alone. I will pray for you. Meanwhile, God will lead us to wise counsel and I’ll help you get there.”

 “If you respect him, he will love you.”  “You are not the end-all to your abuser’s happiness or unhappiness. No one has the power to change another person. There is nothing you can do to make him (her) feel one or the other.”   

“God hates divorce.”  “God loves you. He will show you the best pathway for your life.”

“There are two sides to every story.”  “It’s important that you be heard and know you are heard.” 

“All couples have problems.”  “You need to know your spouse is not loving you regardless his (her) words. Love does no harm to its neighbor. Abuse escalates. Marriage counseling will  not help unless the abuse stops.”   

“Let the past stay in the past.”  “It makes sense you are afraid of it happening again.  I can help you find a shelter or professional help.”  Or,  “I’ll go with you to the police.” 

“God can save any marriage”  ie:  “God can change anyone.”   “God leads to change in humble hearts, not hard and closed ones. Let God deal with the abuser. It’s time to take care of the person God created you to be.”   

 Today’s Helpful Word

2 Kings 20: 5

“I have heard your prayer and seen your tears;  I will heal you.” – God 



NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emrgency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.


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