Is False Guilt Leaving Survivors Stuck in Perpetual Abuse?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

aerial photography of person surfing
Photo by Mudassir Ali on

One of the feelings people who are abused or have survived abuse may live with is false guilt. A mix of questions swim synchronized in the ocean of one’s thoughts.  These include, what do I do wrong, how did I disappoint the abuser this time, and what will I do next to cause harm and not know it. 

The idea may arise that one is a catastrophe walking.  A new belief forms,  I am what is wrong.  If this mindset is allowed to fester unchecked, a lifetime of trying to fix scenarios and relationships may keep an abuse survivor doggy-paddling in false guilt and anxiety.  It could lock a person in a cycle of false thinking;  I caused it, I must fix it.

Do you see how this can lead us into one abusive situation after another? Until 20 days ago, I was certain such negative automatic thoughts were conquered and no longer my struggle. Instead, what I discovered is that in the presence of an abusive attitude, I do shrivel up again a little bit.

After telling a young man I care about to leave my home twice, I still invited him back.  Why? Because maybe his words were true. Maybe I am the problem. Perhaps It was my job to help him at all costs.  

NO, ladies and gentlemen abuse survivors. We do not have to accept more of the same. I was bewildered by my response to what was clearly harassment. Old assumptions blinded me, and until I could see I swam again in the dark.   I am guilty of making him feel bad – NO.  It is my responsibility to help him feel better – NO.   His accusations are true – NO! 

Oh how easy it was to sink into old thinking patterns! I am grateful for the knowledge  passed to me that allowed for challenging those thoughts sooner. Let’s keep in mind that when a person disrespects you and continues to cross your boundaries, it is their problem  to fix.  They are acting poorly. You have the strength and right to say, “Not again.”

Today’s Helpful Word  

Romans 13:10 

“Love does no harm…”



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

If you are 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. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!





Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.