Skip to main content

The Silent Complicit


They see themselves as good people. Conflict makes them uncomfortable. They don't want to get involved. They fear losing friends and family. They wish everyone would just get along.

They are the silent complicit, and they are as toxic as the overt abusers they enable.

In many ways, they are worse. They claim to be your friend. They claim to care. They are in every workplace, school, grocery store, and public place. When abuse happens right in front of their face, they fail to recognize it. They don't understand why you are upset. They make lame excuses, often in the form of platitudes. "There are two sides to every story." "Give him the benefit of the doubt." "Time heals all wounds." "Let's not jump to conclusions." "Prayer solves everything."

The silent complicit would much rather believe the lie that nothing is wrong than to admit the truth. Some choose to do this out of sheer laziness. Admitting something is wrong means they have to DO something about it. They would perhaps have to make uncomfortable changes. They would have to confront people who are not easy to confront. They would have to get authorities involved. Others choose to be complicit out of fear. They fear losing relationships. They fear admitting to being wrong. They fear retaliation. Some of the silent complicit are silent because they actually agree with the abuse. They are covert abusers who back up an overt abuser.

Whatever the motivation, when someone fails to speak up about abuse, they become complicit.

Abuse can only thrive in silence. Sometimes, all it takes is one brave soul to stand up and say, "This is wrong," to turn the tide.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

No, There Are Not Two Sides

I was in a meeting where a mediator was trying her best to stay impartial to a situation where a large volume of well-documented verbal and emotional abuse had occurred. She was a trained professional, but professionally speaking, she didn't want to be in a position to take sides on the issue. She offered the worn-out platitude, "Well, there are two sides to every story..." I let it slide the first time she said it, but when she said it again, I stopped her.

"Actually, when it comes to abuse, there are not two sides. There is abuse, and there is the recipient of abuse. The recipient of abuse is not at fault for the actions of the abuser."

Her jaw dropped a moment, then she nodded slowly. She knew I was right, and in this moment, a light went on. The situation she was mediating was not about two people having a disagreement. It was about a serial abuser attacking someone else who had done nothing to provoke the attack. She couldn't stay impartial. It was h…

Codependent or Empath?

There are a number of resources and articles for survivors of narcissistic abuse, and taken in all together, are extremely helpful in better understanding the abuser and our own role in the abuse. There is a certain type of person narcissists, psychopaths, and Cluster B abusers tend to seek out. Terms like "codependent" and "empath" are tossed around, sometimes interchangeably, but they are not the same.

A codependent's core issue (like the narcissist) is low self-esteem. They attach themselves to an alpha personality for their identity, and are constantly looking outside of themselves for validation and definition. They are helpers and fixers. Many people in the caring professions, such as teachers and nurses, tend to be codependent. They crave external praise and will go to great lengths to enable others in order to be liked. A codependent's sense of happiness and self-worth can be entirely dependent on the moods, actions, and feelings of the alpha. Code…

Ten Tools for Trauma Survivors

A couple years ago, I hit a serious wall.  I was emotionally and physically exhausted, but didn't understand why. Sure, I was a mom, wife, graduate student, and ran a business, but this exhaustion went much deeper than my chronic state of busyness and hypervigilance. Sure, I knew I had a rough childhood and had gone no contact with my parents ten years prior. I got on with my life. I made many positive and deliberate changes so I didn't repeat their patterns, but I hadn't fully unpacked just how vast that black hole of childhood trauma was. For me, awakening to the impact of my childhood trauma has happened over many years, with thousands of tiny steps toward recovery. But one day, the truth of it hit me so hard, I had to drop everything to process it. I had no choice because my body and brain simply gave out. I had to grow or succumb. I chose to grow.

I threw myself headlong into the task of really looking at my issues. You could say I was hypervigilant about trauma reco…