I Wanted to Make My Abuser Suffer

October 2, 2017 Tia Hollowood

Victims of abuse often want to make their abuser suffer, but hatred can make recovery from PTSD difficult. Dealing with your anger helps you heal. Here's how.

In the course of my recovery, there came a time when I wanted my abusers to suffer. Most people who have been, or are being abused, don't seek help. Statistics on abuse show that as many as 60 percent of perpetrators are never prosecuted. In my case, my abusers were never called to account for their actions. When I began to talk about my abuse and work through all that had occurred, I came to a point where I was angry and resentful. My nightmares of abuse shifted to ugly visions of ways in which I could cause as much suffering to them as possible without killing them. I had to work to reconcile these intense emotions where I wanted to make my abusers suffer to continue healing.

I Considered Ways to Make My Abuser Suffer

I hated my abusers, but I wasn't enjoying the thought of seeing them in physical pain. It burned bitterly to know that their lives continued without shame, humiliation, feelings of worthlessness, panic attacks, or dissociation. I wanted them to own my burden. I wanted their families to turn away from them; I wanted them alone and scared.

I sought them out and discovered that one of them was still alive and living in the same house where he abused me. He had a family, including a teenage son. My anger became focused on this living perpetrator and I thought of making this abuser suffer.

I worked with my therapist. I thought about sending my abuser's son a letter, telling him what his father had done. Surely that would hurt this offender. In my unhealed state, it was all about finally lashing out at my aggressor, successfully retaliating against the abuse.

Making My Abuser Suffer Could Not Cure Me

All of the hate that I generated towards making my abuser suffer was never going to lead me to recovery. My counselor had ideas for me to consider. While I did not appreciate them immediately, I needed to hear them. Here is what she presented to me:

  • Hatred stands in the path of healing. If all of your energy pours into anger, your trauma is still there, behind it, thriving and untended. In my anger, I was considering harming an entire family to satisfy my desire for revenge on one abuser. This would have haunted me forever if I had done it.
  • Hate gives power to the perpetrator. All those years later, he was unknowingly still able to push me to my emotional limits. I came to understand that by healing and growing strong enough to have as much concern for him as I did for a speck of dirt on my chin, I took away his significance. He became inconsequential, powerless.
  • Forgiveness is not mandatory. While dealing with my hatred, I was also waging another battle with guilt. I had been raised to believe that it was a requirement to forgive those that have hurt you. For those who can and find peace, it is a significant healing step. For myself, I could not forgive; I could cast him aside. I placed him in a position of absolute indifference.

My Abuser Has No Power Over Me

I want to be clear that getting to the point where I didn't narrow my eyes in anger every moment I considered my remaining abuser took some time. I still refer to him as "the disgusting scumbag," and I admit it is a bit satisfying to do so. I don't know if he is still alive; it doesn't matter.

If you are struggling with hatred towards your abuser and thoughts of making your abuser suffer, I hope you find someone to talk to and a way to rob this person of any power over your emotions. As always, I welcome your comments and look forward to them.


APA Reference
Hollowood, T. (2017, October 2). I Wanted to Make My Abuser Suffer, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Author: Tia Hollowood

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Sharon Nye
May, 1 2023 at 8:50 am

It’s been almost a year since I left my abuser and I still can’t find the place where I need to be. I’m so angry at the thought of him walking around like he’s innocent and I’m insane. It’s caused me to have outbursts and push my family away from me. I truly hate him and want him to suffer a slow death!! It sounds awful but I’m a good person and I take care of people for a living. We were together 10 yrs and the last few years were name calling, gaslighting and rape. The authorities didn’t help me at all and I believe that he had a lawyer because I gave them a flash drive, journal entries and dr releases. They didn’t even show him the flash drive. All the evidence was there and they told me there wasn’t enough evidence so that makes me more mad that the police who are supposed to protect us completely failed me. I deserve justice and I believe I won’t heal until he pays for what he did

June, 3 2022 at 9:47 pm

Don’t you think your abuser family deserves to know though? Yes it might harm their relationship but I would definitely prefer to know if my family member or friend ever abused someone, i’d want to cut ties with them ASAP. Abusers don’t care about what their victims think of them and neither do they like to be told that they’re abusive, so they wouldn't care to think about themselves still being on their victims mind. How do I know? ‘Cause I told him he would abuse me and he simply made fun of me. My abuser is my brother (21) & i’m only a 14 yr old girl, so I can’t really do anything about him physically or verbally abusing me. We both still live with our parents which is why i’ve resorted to messing up his life in any way I can. If anyone struggling with abuse is reading this, I want you to know that feeling this way is okay as long as you don’t actually hurt your abuser physically or mentally.

January, 4 2022 at 12:08 pm

It’s taken me 20 years or maybe more in figuring out that my abuser never changed
He only stopped for periods of time which could be weeks, months and sometimes few years
But whenever faced with a. Situation where he had to consider MY needs as opposed to his all the time
There he was with his abusive side in full motion
I gave his unpredictable sudden angry outbursts various explanations - stress of job loss or bereavement or whatever
Calling it an angry outburst is an understatement - suddenly driving at 100miles per hour with kids in the backseat , suddenly calling me names and blaming me for stuff which he clearly knew was false
Suddenly hiding away my car keys or my phone or locking me home - saying he forgot !
It would perplex me as the tone of voice and lack of concern would not go hand in hand with an innocent forgetfulness
Silent treatments became a complete norm in our home and these would happen suddenly without a warning sign
I’ve been frightened to death with this repetitive psychological trauma where I believed it was all my fault and I was the trigger
I just finished reading a book called “Why does he do that” by Lundy bancroft and I could swear it felt like the first time ever someone really understood my life
You’re right - taking revenge isn’t part of healing - I’ve tried it and believe me these abusers prey on our emotions- why give them the satisfaction and power to think their existence still bothers us !
I stumbled upon your page as I now want to heal from the abuse
I feel the best way I could punish this man is by taking away the power he has over my thinking.
Like you said “take away his significance”
I have a long way to go - right now For the first time in 20 years I’m learning how to look after my OWN needs

July, 20 2021 at 10:19 pm

I am forever grateful and oh, so thankful to have happened upon your post! I am angry with "THE" system better yet, lack there of...

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