Sunday, December 9, 2012

Indignant Cackling And Mindless Squawks

From Luke 17:3 Ministries: 

"Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented" - Elie Weisel

"And there came from the barnyard a great uproar, a mighty racket~ indignant cackling and mindless squawks of protest~ as the eagle rose up and left the chickens behind" - Sister Renee Pitelli

The Silent Partner is any relative who stands by silently while you are victimized, or who takes the abuser's side against the victim.  She, or he, is usually the other parent, who abdicates her parental responsibility to protect her children, or, worse yet, sacrifices her children to the abuser in order to make her own life easier.

In most cases of birth-family abuse,  there is usually not just one single Silent Partner.   Several, if not many, family members collude with, protect, and cooperate with the abuser, and participate in scape-goating, pressuring, ostracizing, or trying to silence the victim.  I will refer to these evil participants in our abuse as the Silent Majority, although that term requires a bit of clarification.  In many instances they are far from silent.  Although they might be silent about the actual abuse inflicted upon us, they can be quite vehement in insisting that the victim is wrong for not continuing to accept it. 

While encouraging an abuser to operate freely in their midst, they will not be silent when it comes to criticizing the victim.  They will look the other way when the victim is being mistreated, never validating her or defending her, and then attack her when she defends herself.  The one that they gossip about, smear to others, judge, and condemn will invariably be the victim rather than the abuser.  In their sick, evil, twisted minds, it is the long-suffering victim who is the family “trouble-maker”, never the abuser himself. They don’t ever believe there’s anything wrong with him.  They don’t see a problem with his behavior. Why? It’s simple. Because birds of a feather stick together. 

In our Lord-Of-The-Flies birth-families, the Silent Partner and The Silent Majority don’t bat an eye at betraying an innocent family member who loves them, and serving her up on a silver platter to be sacrificed to vicious, lifelong abuse.  They specialize in re-victimizing the victim.  Although not as open and obvious about it as the “Alpha Dog” abuser, they are every bit as guilty as he is.  By either their silence, or their speaking up against the wrong person, they allow and encourage the abuse to continue. They are PARTNERS with the abuser.  They are abusers, too, and it’s time we give them the credit for it. 

[The following excerpts are taken from this post]:

For many of us, there will come a time when we end the relationship with our abuser, or when he ends it because we have finally begun to set limits on his behavior.  However, abusers are not known for going off quietly into the night.  Having us grow strong enough to challenge them, or even to walk away from them, is an affront most abusers simply refuse to accept.  It may be over for us, but it’s never over for them.  They always have one more thing to say.

When we limit our contact with them, they will feel deprived of the opportunity to vent, to unburden themselves all over us, and to tell us a thing or two.  But, not to worry.  As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.  If we are no longer speaking to them, rest assured that our abusers will still find a way to harass us by proxy.  They will simply be forced to become creative in order to get their message through to us.

Many abusers either can’t handle a direct confrontation with you, or realize that you will probably refuse to speak to them if they contact you directly.  So they will enlist someone else to do their dirty work for them.  I like to call this friend or relative the  "Devil’s Advocate", since, despite any claims of neutrality, what she is truly doing is advocating for an evil, demonic abuser. 

Your abuser may point-blank ask another relative to contact you on his behalf.  Or, he might go on and on, crying a river to anyone who will listen, pretending that he loves and misses you so much and has no idea why you won’t have anything to do with him, and in general acting as pathetic as possible.  He will keep this performance up until some meddling busybody takes pity on him and decides to “intervene” (translate:  butt in) by calling you and either volunteering to “help” you patch things up, or criticizing YOU for hurting your abuser. 

When this happens, the family budinski may pretend that she just can’t stand to see the family having problems, and took it upon herself to call you without your abuser’s knowledge.  This is a LIE, told to make you think the “well-intentioned” budinski really is neutral and is not taking sides,  and that you can trust her not to repeat whatever you might say.  But you can be sure that she will report every detail back to your abuser, who knows perfectly well that she is calling you because he either put her up to it, or indirectly manipulated her into doing it. 

Almost every abusive family has at least one attention-grabbing narcissist who will be more than happy to exploit your heartache, suffering, and distress so that she can take the credit for trying to “make peace” between you and your estranged relative.  She will just soak it up as others praise her for having the courage to get involved and trying to “help."

It makes her feel important to have everyone know about the noble and selfless thing she did.  She will pry and ask you all kinds of nosy questions that are none of her business in a sham attempt at "finding a compromise".  She wants to be the big-shot with the inside information that everyone else wants to hear.  So she will be sure to announce whatever you confide in her at every family gathering, discussing your conversation, in appropriately hushed tones and with a phony look of somber concern,  with anyone who seems interested.

She will repeat everything you said, whether in confidence or not, and then some, embellishing as necessary to keep her audience enraptured.  She will use your pain to get attention and make herself look like the hero.   A meddler is not the family “peace-maker”.  She is the family GOSSIP.  Of course she has to broadcast her “selfless” act, because, after all, if no one knows about it, what’s the point?

Although she might make a phony, half-hearted attempt to get your side of the story, the family meddler doesn’t really want to hear what you have to say.  She knows if she gets you started, you’ll probably unload 20 years of garbage on her.  In fact, I know of several victims, or should I say “escapees”, who did indeed start unloading on their budinskis, telling the truth about years of abuse, only to have the budinski start squirming uncomfortably and mumble something about how it’s really none of her business anyway and she really doesn’t want to get involved, and maybe throw in,  “Oh, look at the time, I’m running late- Gotta go!”  As soon as they hear what’s REALLY been going on all those years, many meddlers suddenly decide to Stay Out Of It, which is what they should have done in the first place.

Meddling gossips are not the least bit interested in the truth.  They just pretend that they are, long enough to get around to whatever points THEY want to make.  And Lord knows, after they’ve been enlightened, they’re sure not going to be courageous enough or righteous enough to go back to the abuser and the rest of the family and defend you.  Because, although they pretend to be, they don't really want to help you, and they don't really want to "do the right thing".  That is simply not how they operate, and it's not their real motivation for trying to "get your side of  the story. 

Many budinskis choose their moments for maximum embarrassment impact.  Nothing plays into a busybody’s hands better than having an audience when she confronts you.  The audience could be other relatives or perfect strangers.  The best audience of all are friends or acquaintances of yours who don’t know her, because then she can make you look bad to people who know you, and who have the added plus of being people SHE will never see again.  In her zeal to put you on the spot, the self-righteous family meddler will be completely oblivious to the discomfort she is causing the unfortunate innocent bystanders.  Budinskis aren’t exactly known for their charm and good manners.  They don’t spend a lot of time reading etiquette books.  Clumsily blundering through other people's affairs like the proverbial bull in the china shop, they are oblivious to the vulgarity of causing scenes in public. 

If the definition of “peacemaking” is “establishing a state of harmony between people”, then the place to start is with the one who causes all the disharmony.  AFTER the family “peacemaker” has approached the abuser, confronted him about his behavior, and gotten him to agree to stop creating strife in the family, THEN she can approach the victim and soothe her anxieties with assurances of serenity and calm from then on. 

Most phony “peacemakers” won’t do this because:

1.  They are too intimidated by the abuser to confront him, but have no problem confronting the victim, whom they perceive as the “weaker” of the two parties, or at least too rational and too nice to let them have it.

2.  Despite their phony claim of wanting family harmony, what they really want is the status quo. Some thrive on a constant state of crisis and chaos, and torturous family gatherings suit them just fine.  Others LIKE seeing the victim stuck in a hopeless situation, because THEY’RE just a little bit sadistic and cruel, too.  Or maybe more than a little bit.  Others feel better about themselves if they can see the victim as helpless and weak.  And because misery loves company, they feel better about their own miserable lives if you are miserable too!

3.  Some budinskis have had issues with you all along that you have been unaware of- such as envy, jealousy, or resentment.  They do not really have your best interests at heart when pressuring you accept being abused.  They are being holier-than-thou and trying to make themselves look good at your expense.  They are trying to prove to you, and to everyone else, that they are a better person than you are.  Because if they were in your position, they would  just overlook it.  But the thing is, they are NOT in your position.  They are not the one being abused, and they have no right to judge you.

4.  Many “peacemakers” are looking for attention for themselves and gratitude for their efforts.  If they can succeed in smoothing things over or getting information out of you, then the abuser will be beholden to them.  There’s nothing like having the Alpha Dog owe you one; hence, their bizarre interest in reeling you back in to a situation that in reality, has nothing to do with them.  It’s also an ego-boost for them to be privy to others’ conflicts and dilemmas.  They like having “inside information”.  They love knowing that their approval or disapproval means so much to the victim that she is willing to allow herself to be abused rather than lose their love.   If they can convince the victim to stay in the abusive situation, they get to look like the family hero.  Never mind that a REAL hero would have the guts to take a stand against evil, confront the perpetrator, and stick up for the victims.  Anyone who stands by and allows someone who loves them to be mistreated is no hero in my book. 

To a meddler, “peace” just means everything going back to “normal”.  Just like it always was, with the abuser’s behavior just as bad as ever, everyone else overlooking it and pretending it’s not really a problem, and you and the other victims suffering in silence and not rocking the boat.  In this situation, it could be said that everyone does have peace- except the victims, who don't count.  They just need to be kept in line.  If only you would just suck it up, stop complaining, plaster a smile on your face, and start speaking to your abuser again, then we could all get back to business as usual.  And the meddler can take the credit for it.

But the solution to achieving peace lies not in convincing you to accept abuse, it lies in getting the abuse to stop.  Then there can be peace for EVERYONE in the family.   A true peacemaker has to be willing to defend and protect the innocent victims,  to have the courage to take a stand against evil and CHANGE things for the better.  Then, and only then, will the family meddler deserve to take the credit for bringing about peace in the family.

Until that happens, there will only be the false appearance of peace.  What an abusive family calls “peace” is just an illusion, a figment of their imaginations, a fantasy of their delusional minds.   This is not God’s definition of peace, and it is not a Godly person’s definition of peace.  True peace must include freedom from anxiety, absence of strife, calm, serenity and harmony for everyone.  


  1. Yes, for everyone, not just the Alpha dog.

    Q's Sis

  2. Great post, Jonsi! YES! YES! A thousand times, YES! This is my SIL in a nutshell. Always trying to intervene and get us to put up with more abuse from NMIL. Of course, this SIL is the baby of the family and her mother's favorite, who can do no wrong...ever. She was always favored and spoiled and thinks she's more "enlightened" and "holier than thou" with her save the world mentality. Whereas DH was mostly ignored and emotionally neglected unless NMIL needed him for something. Plus, SIL married a guy who, according to NMIL, makes "six figures." Money is everything to NMIL, especially since she has none. So, of course, she had no problem welcoming her son-in-law into the family. And NMIL has been kissing his ass ever since. She's so materialistic, it's disgusting.

    Anyway, this particular SIL lives on the opposite coast from us and NMIL, yet on several occasions has called DH in an attempt to guilt him back into the fold with his mother, with her stupid suggestions that we should have NMIL over for dinner once a month- as if that would solve everything. DH let her have it the last time she tried that B.S. So now, as our "punishment", no doubt, we haven't heard from her in a year. No loss there. But, man, I am so tempted to copy this and mail it to her, just to let her know what we really think of her and her efforts. Though the timing would undoubtedly just seem weird after a year of silence.

  3. "Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented" - Elie Weisel

    This is so true!! We are just applying this to our dysfunctional NMIL situation (with enabling FIL). My husband is finally taking my side. Trying to ignore the ugly (ever present) did only encourage the NMIL. My husband was always trying to keep her happy in order for her to leave us alone (that is how she set it up, of course she never left us alone). It is just unbelievable how she lives and not wants her son to have a happy family. How she continues to fight me (track record of 15 years). When my husband confronted her with her ugly behavior towards me she first excused herself, then denied everything, then said 'you have to take me as I am' (wow?!?!?) and when nothing worked she just hang up the phone. Normally my husband would have called her back because he saw this as his duty (being so disrespectful to his mother).

    I love the last sentence 'True peace must include freedom from anxiety, absence of strife, calm, serenity and harmony for everyone'. For EVERYONE. Well except for the narcissist because they're at peace when everyone else is not.

    Thanks for the writing! I'm happy to have found your blog :-). JD

  4. To side with a bully all you have to do is look on and say nothing. More than once I was chastised for objecting to being hurt. "Don't air the dirty laundry" translated to put up and shut up. Thank you for speaking up.

  5. So many truths.

    What do you call the abuser who is also the "peacemaker"?
    Does that make sense, cuz I can't figure it out. My NSIS is stealth in her abuse to me. It is behind closed doors, done in private, no proof, all deniable and then tries to play the "peacemaker" after all is done with the rest of the family so that she, the abuser, looks like the victim and the victim looks like the abuser. It makes my head spin. It's crazy making at it's finest.

    1. Chris,

      I think that "peacemakers" are just abusers in their own right. They just dish it out under the guise of "help" because they think it gains them favor in the eyes of the head-honcho.

    2. Those who support, excuse or deny abuse are fill-blown abusers in their own right, often more dangerous than the original abuser because they're so damn sneaky about what they do.

      My NF is full-on screaming abuse in your face while NM sits there silently then either excuses the abuse or gaslights and denies it happened. IMO she's much worse than he is!

    3. Chris, that's my Nbro, too. Except I wouldn't label him a peacemaker in public exactly. More the public victim: he'll tear me up in private, but if i DARE make a squeak in defense, then he runs to his mommy and tells her how his mean sister said/did this and of COURSE that's not what he meant, bla bla bla. Did I mention this "boy" is 50?


    4. Jonsi...a little light bulb went on in my head when I read your comment. Flashback. My whole life my Nsis has always created strife (set me up) so that she could then swoop in to be the holier-then-thou peacemaker in the family. Not one person in the family would EVER believe that anything that has happened would be Nsis's fault! Heavens no, she is just so layed back, so funny, so charming, so there-for-everyone kind of gal.
      Yes mulderfan, they are more dangerous now that I am putting it all together...this family puzzle. My NM is the rager, my NF was the silent partner who left and my Nsis is their biggest fan.
      Wow. Thanks for the insight.

  6. Honestly the flying monkeys bearing word from the N's ... disgust me. It's nothing more than guess-what-so-and-so-said in a terrible game of telephone played by overgrown elementary kids still in school. People who listen to the N's and then take it upon themselves to call out the 'terrible' adult child actually victimized ... need to seriously get their own lives. In what way does being a message bearer for an adult serve to bring the family justice or peace? In what way is that good and normal to be the middle-man? In my NIL's it's hard to separate the mastermind from the product. To this day I'm not entirely sure who is on whose side. There are very few silent majority members and those who turn a blind eye feed into the drama of the N's own self-importance creating a complicated family dynamic. Great post! Good reminders!

  7. This also happens in the workplace. Over the weekend at a friends luncheon, we all were complaining about various companies we'd worked where there was one obviously toxic, bullying person...and management would turn themselves inside-out to blame the victim and defend the bully.

  8. Thanks for posting this--it's an excellent description of the inner workings of family mobbing situations. I don't follow organized religion, but I have to say, Rev. Renee's writing is so spot-on, it mind-boggling. Her insight is uncanny.

    The first quote is excellent, too. (the Elie Weisel)wow....

  9. In my case it wasn't a family situation, but my abusive ex-fiance and his best friend. My ex had just broken up with me; I wasn't submissive enough, kept fighting back when he tried to force me into things that were distasteful. One of the things was giving up my friends. He didn't directly tell me to give them up, but constantly badmouthed them to me, claiming they were treating him badly. These friends saw right through him, as I discovered later on. He broke up with me, then--he actually admitted this to me--put on a show for his friends, acting miserable and friendless so they would take pity on him. Shortly thereafter, his best friend came to me for a "talk."

    This friend had been stifling my efforts at patching things up with my ex. My parents suggested my ex and I make lists of each other's faults; I made one, then my ex's friend handed my list to my ex right in front of me, saying snidely, "Here's your *list*, Phil." My parents suggested counseling; this friend told Phil that we shouldn't need counseling. Phil had been very emotionally abusive--How could we resolve this without counseling?

    Now, the friend came to me and went on about things I'd done wrong, accused me of not compromising and not being romantic, accused me of other things which Phil also falsely accused me of despite my trying again and again to tell him the truth. And here's the kicker--He told me that if I wanted Phil back, I should distance myself from my friends! He said he would tell Phil everything I said.

    I didn't distance myself from my friends. They had been my best friends for three years, and they were my roommates! But Phil's friend was pleased enough with what I said.

    Sure, Phil came back. But it was only to manipulate me into sex--especially the things I didn't want to do. I feared if I didn't do everything he wanted, he'd leave again. I thought he was back because he loved me; he gave me the sob story of having grown up. But a week later, he was gone again, and the full force of his lies, manipulations and emotional/sexual abuse began to hit me.

    To this day--and it's 18 years later--I won't even friend Phil's friend on Facebook. He's friended a bunch of my other college friends, but I steer clear of him. What his motives were, since he obviously wasn't there to listen to my side of things, I can only guess.

  10. I also dealt with a peacemaker when DH and I broke off our friendship with an abusive couple. One of them had been my best friend, and I did miss him, but couldn't handle dealing with his very abusive, BPD/NPD wife, and my "best friend" had turned into my abuser as well. Then one night, another good friend of my former best friend, spoke to me on Facebook. I don't know if he was put up to this, or if the ex-BFF acted sad, or what. But he tried to get me to forgive, said Satan was driving us apart. The trouble was, he didn't seem to have a clue that Satan was working on the ex-friends, that I had to stay far away for my own protection, or they would suck me dry. I have always expected that he told the ex-BFF everything I said, so I was very careful in my words.

    These ex friends found my blog through another mutual friend's blog list. I never told her the posts were there or who they were about; we were just Net friends who lived far apart. I never saw her look at them. But I've always wondered if she tipped them off, whether in a failed attempt to make peace between us, or what.