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Do you view your abuser(s) as evil or sick?

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I didn’t know that! I’m just starting to learn about him.

Nietzsche was a complex thinker and my own studies of his works happened way back in the days when people were smarter than phones. after i posted that opinion, the good student in me self-flagellated over not having checked my quotes before posting. my philosophy prof is turning in her grave for the remiss. . . a whole lot of paraphrasing and self gas-lighting can happen over the course of 40 years.

now ya got me wondering if i can make a case for listing Nietzsche as the father of political correctness. this word is better than that word.
Do you view your primary abuser(s) as evil, mentally ill, both, or something else?

It depends on the person.


Jumping broadly, for a moment?

I’ve seen a lot of evil in my life, but known very few truly evil people.

But this is going to be where I back away from broad perspectives, because explaining my own ethos & morality of the subject of good & evil, and exceptions therein? Would take too damn long.


The only reason why I care what someone’s diagnosis is? Or why they are the way they are? Is if I’m trying to help them.

One of my favorite quotes of all time, outlines why I’m such a fan of laymen’s terms.

"She'd suspected for some time that he was an obsessive compulsive with narcissistic tendencies. In laymen's terms that meant he was a backstabbing control freak." -Vince Flynn

See how much more useful backstabbing control freak is? THAT is what I need to know about a person that has no place in my life. That’s what is useful to me.

I don’t need to know why they are the way they are, or how best to …anything… with, or for them. All I need to know? Is enough to sketch their character, to ascertain if this is someone I want to spend my time/energy/life on. There are far too many amazing people in this world, to waste mine, on abusive assholes.

How I view

I DGAF about helping people who have abused me. Because that, right then and there, is when they lose my allegiance.

Sure, they may have different flavors of assholery, but that’s not a taste I would like to acquire.
i’m inching up to 60… and my point of view continues to shift on this subject.

there was never a time when i had forgotten anything that happened in my family of origin. all of the abuse that happened to me from the get-go was readily available for my mind to ruminate over- and ruminate i did, for decades. trying so hard to make sense of it all, or even, to make sense of a single action. i never really could.

were the people who were abusive in my family mentally ill? yes. without a doubt.

were they evil?

i don’t know that i can make a declarative statement that any one human being is completely evil- it is enough for me that their deeds were evil to me. they caused immeasurable damage, and harm.

as for mental illness, i see it on a spectrum. most (if not all) have some aspects of syndromes and disorders- all of which were adaptive, protective aspects of a self formed as a way to protect and preserve the nascent self- and now, decades later, once some measure of safety and security is attained (yes! that is possible! never give up!) those aspects prove to be maladaptive, and must be worked with, and regulated.

in my book, that is the definition of human.

it is easy to widen the lens, and see the things in the past that left my abusers… well, abusive.

i know enough about their personal histories to understand where things went wrong in them.

does that excuse them?

that is not a useful question for me.

it isn’t up to me to excuse their behavior- that’s between them, and their maker.

it is only up to me to decide how much access i will give any one person to my life.

i can have anger, and compassion for the same person. i can feel love and caring for my father and brother at the same time i practice and enact self-compassion and self-protection- by keeping my distance, or, in the end, the choice i made was to close and lock the door.

my father died alone.

do i feel shitty about that? yes.

do i feel i could have made a different choice? yes.

would it have cost me dearly, would it have affected the next generation? yes.

in the end, i chose to protect my own child from what i knew would happen every time i opened that door and let him back in my life. it was too dysregulating. he was too toxic and risky to be close to- for me.

that is all i know.

it is not a perfect system.

i struggle with the definition of an adult, a grown up. even as i near 60.

the best i can come up with is that it is a person who has a working relationship with their own inner child, as well as their inner elder.

did the abusers in my life have that? definitely not. they were stuck in their own wounded child mode- even as they inhabited bodies that looked like they were adults. they were just damaged children in adult bodies, acting out.

and i can hate them for what they did to the innocent child i was- but the only thing that matters is what i do in my life.

can i stop the cycle?

i think my own child would say yes- that for the most part, i was able to overcome that abuse, and be a better parent, and a healthier person, than the people in my family of origin.

i know that is all i can do, so it is where i put my energy, every day.
More someone who made stupid mistakes by not paying attention followed by panicking at the results and reacting by doing the wrong thing yet again.....for the first.

For the second, one evil, one sick. Our society has come to the place where we don't recognize abuse because it has become so ingrained in the workplace that its acceptable. Apart from that lying and bullying your way to the top is how its done...............................
Well I don't necessarily see evil and mental illness as mutually exclusive? Generally speaking, mental illness is grounded in nature--naturalistic understandings of the brain as an organ of thought that is capable of malfunction and infirmity--whereas evil seems to be grounded in more subjective experience? To put it very simply, people can be mentally ill whereas actions can be evil.

But then I suppose there's the question of ontological evil, whether evil can be an intrinsic property of a being. Regardless of where one's opinion falls on the matter though, I don't see why one being can't possess both properties of being mentally ill and evil. That being said, I don't personally believe in ontological evil and even belief systems which grant its existence generally limit it to mythological* entities like demons, djinns, and the like.

*the use of the term 'mythological' here isn't to undermine the potential existence of such entities but is rather a reference to their occurrence in myth as broadly defined as "stories people use to make sense of the world."
I had several abusers, but my main abuser was my father. He was such a brutal man that eventually, when the repression cleared just a bit and I began to realize what this horrible man had subjected me to well into my adult years, I began referring to him by his first name when I spoke about him to others. It tore me apart to refer to this awful man as "my father." Yes, he truly was evil. But I live with this Pollyanna view that on our death beds even the worst of us, when faced with prospect of an eternity in hell, recognizes the pain we've caused and repents of our evil deeds. Yes, at one time I thought of my abuser as evil, but I assume when the grim reaper came calling he was overwhelmed with regret. Even if he wasn't, I forgave all my abusers long ago for my own sanity and it no longer matters.
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Primary abusers were pitiful to me even in childhood. It didn’t take a genius to see the gears getting stuck in my dad’s head. He said things that were so nonsensical you sometimes had to control laughter. Siblings bullied me because they wanted to feel superior. I got it back then.

The teachers and kids at school, they are harder to understand. They should have known better.
Interesting. I disagree with the idea of no free will. Yes there’s conditioning, societal and cultural influences, genetics, environment, etc, yet for example most CSA survivors don’t repeat to become perps, yet most pedophiles were victims of CSA. For whatever combination of reasons they chose to do what was done to them to another.
I won’t pretend evil doesn’t exist, however most of my perps weren’t evil, though that doesn’t mean I ever want contact with them again and there’s degrees and it doesn’t mean I condone any of their actions. I used to punish myself when fantised about any of my perps receiving their karma (or whatever one wants to call it), then I realised that a) I would never choose that action and that made me different, not good or bad but different as I would never intentionally do something I knew could harm someone (of course priorities like I’d save my son over my best friend if there was no other way, but you get the gist), and b) that whilst I couldn’t take away the flashbacks/etc, I could choose where to focus my mind now and my perps took away enough from me so I chose not to give them further energy (of course not as straightforward but in principle and for the most part). I know one perp had a traumatic brain injury which in combination with other factors and alcoholism led to behaviours were he should’ve had a level of regular monitoring for his safety and that of others, and I’ve been no contact for close to a decade and was unmoved and unsurprised when he ended up with a severe stroke, and the judgement from one of my relations on my lack of reaction was astonishment and claiming I was heartless, despite that person suffering at his hands too. I just think he’s damaged and good riddance from my life.
I think most of my perps were damaged in some way, however by chance a couple of people who badly bullied me in school for 11yrs later ran into me and asked for coffee and were genuinely remorseful for what they’d put me through. Other bullies care less to this day and some have gone on to have further issues with escalation of their behaviour. None of them were evil and neither am I, however I might have urges towards revenge at times which could be perceived as evil, yet I chose not to act on those urges and I think that freedom of choice, or free will, is the difference. I had to fight to find and get access to support and treatment even when I didn’t believe I deserved it, but I made a choice to break the cycle in whatever form it took, and that was my choice and free will, regardless if there’s a degree of devil and angel in all of us or not.
Ok…philosophy tempts further yet teenager needs homework help
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