Stop Excusing Abusive Behaviour | Discussion

Warning: I get super mad in this discussion but what’s new? Getting mad in my discussion posts seems to be me.

Stop fucking excusing abusive behaviour. I swear to God I want to yell every time I see this happen. This particular discussion comes in light of every review I’ve seen for A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas. I did begin to write this after the novella was published in May but discarded this post. Now I’m fired up again as I write my feature article about domestic violence and how it impacts individuals. However, I have been sitting on this for forever. The amount of people that love to tell me something isn’t abusive in novels is astronomical. It is also hilarious to me because I have both witnessed and experienced abuse (romantic and parental) for over half of my life. I would never try to say my experience is the only correct one but if someone tells me a book contains abusive characters (even if I don’t see it) I’m going to believe them.

Let’s keep it real folks. It doesn’t matter if a character is ‘like so totally hot’ (or real-life example ‘they’re music is like so totally amazing’). Or ‘they said sorry and like they meant it’ because every sorry is full of bullshit and in my experience, an abuser will never change their ways. Once they’re allowed to get away with the abuse it only gets worse. If someone says they’re abusive there is a high chance they are. Big shocker. Abuse comes in so many different forms that it can be difficult to recognise. So stop fucking excusing it. It is fucking invalidating.

I also want to preface, I don’t really recommend Sarah J Maas’ series. There is a lot of toxic masculinity and just overall a lot of undertones of abuse throughout both of her series. I have read both series and I am so far into both now that I just want to finish them. However, it is the most well-known form of abuse in a novel that people in the book community know about so I will be referencing it. Also, the fact that this discussion was inspired by a book in the series.

The most well-known example is obviously A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas where only around 10% of people caught on to the fact there was abuse being written into the story. I was shocked when I read it but I was so new to the book community I didn’t know how to accurately go about writing my feelings up about the abuse representation in this book. It seemed everyone loved Tamlin and maybe I was just seeing things due to my bad experiences with men? Spoiler, I wasn’t. I just had no idea because not a single person was backing the claim until the second book in the series released. Though, A Court of Wings and Ruin and A Court of Frost and Starlight did cause the series to step backwards and include toxic masculinity and abusive behaviours in the new love interest.

The best example I can think of is Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios. This book is incredibly underhyped and focuses on the beginning, middle and end of an emotionally abusive story. It isn’t perfect but it may be able to give people who haven’t experienced abuse an insider look at the development of these relationships.

Another example of abuse, this one including physical elements, is It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. Major trigger warnings with this book. I read it on release day and no one had mentioned the abuse, which left me shaking in my bed in fear. However, it is well done. The mentality, behaviours and even the charming personality of the abuser is spot on. However, this is also a big one that I have seen people defend the abuser. I have had friends tell me that they feel for the abuser. It drives me absolutely wild. Abusers don’t deserve your remorse. They deserve to be dumped in a pit for the rest of their lives. These people don’t change.

Maybe it’s because these abusive relationships and behaviours are so normalised in society now. Maybe it is that we simply find it difficult to read about a character not being with the first guy she ‘falls in love’ with. Maybe it is simply the fact that people refuse to believe that abuse is so common in society and sometimes authors may not even realise they are writing these toxic behaviours in their books.

However, I guess me trying to find all these reasons is trying to justify why people continue to ignore the survivors of abuse and their stories. There really is no excuse to continue to like a character if they have shown toxic and abusive behaviours.

Now, back to the original reason, I started this post in May. I saw over 20 reviews that said they felt sorry for Tamlin. They felt sorry for the abuser who had been deserted due to the fact he mistreated everyone and was left to fester in his rage. I have never felt so invalidated. Some characters deserve to die and Tamlin is one of them. To read all these reviews saying that he is clearly sorry, that he deserves forgiveness and that the characters should help him now was ridiculous. So many times the abuser comes out on top over the survivor, due to them having controlled everything and left nothing for the survivor. I wish I could see the man who abused my mum in the position Tamlin was in. I would spit on him.

I guess this isn’t the only book where people excuse abusive behaviour either. Friends and ex-friends have messaged me about characters they love and feel sympathy for. I try to cut these people off because I can’t handle people who sympathise with abusers.

I know a lot of people love The Darkling from The Grisha Verse. A man who literally murdered children. So many people don’t even recognise that and I’m like ah, really? You can love characters who are villains (hell, even I have characters who are villains and I love them) but let’s not start idolising and romanticising them because that is toxic as fuck.

Ultimately, don’t fucking excuse abusive behaviour. Whether that be in fiction, real life, with celebrities or on the Internet. Call it the fuck out and remember it. So many survivors don’t get to see their abusers suffer or even behind bars but in the fiction world, there are sometimes consequences. These consequences are everything to survivors because they never got that. Feeling more sympathy for the abuser than you did the survivor is also disgusting and something I see so fucking often.

Believe survivors, support survivors, and educate yourself on the nature of abuse so you can help call out the behaviours. Never feel sympathy for an abuser ever, whether fictional or in real life. They don’t deserve it and I promise you that it only fuels them.

Excusing the abusive behaviour makes you almost as bad as the abuser. Ignorance is no longer an excuse.

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29 thoughts on “Stop Excusing Abusive Behaviour | Discussion

  1. THIS POST 👏👏👏 It’s everything and more! Have you read Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan? I’ve never seen abuse portrayed so accurately as it is in that book!

    This post is so true and I’m so glad you decided to speak about all this 👏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Damn right!!!
    I’ve never read any of S.J. Maas’s books, nor do i intend to, but a few days ago i saw a video on youtube about movies romanticizing abusive behaviour. And even stuff for kids, like Beauty and the Beast is about a dude basically kidnapping and torturing a woman and then he gets to marry her. Yes, great to teach this to little girls & boys.

    I’ve been in an abusive relationship and it took me over a year to realize what was actually happening because i didn’t know anyone to whom this happened, or anyone who would be talking about such things.

    As for liking villains… i don’t tend to like them. I’m sometimes fascinated by them, when they are written well. Not in a romantic way, but in a purely scientific way. Like how i watch documentaries about psychopats or narcissists. Only once i was out of my toxic relationship for almost 2 years did i realise that my ex was most likely a narcissistic fuck, and is completely hopeless because until that point i was sure it’s somehow my fault.

    I love this post and i’m in full agreement with everything you said!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your comment and sharing your story! You are such a strong woman and I am so glad you are out of that relationship ♥

      Also, I’ve recently noticed the Beauty and the Beast thing as well. I finally learnt about Stockholm syndrome through a doctor and was like woah, nope. It’s terrible that these messages are so common in fiction, that girls shouldn’t be treated with respect.

      Again, thank you SO much for your comment ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Say it louder for the bitches in the back 😂 I totally agree! As much as I love acotar, I do not understand why so many people still love Tamlin and want a bigger redemption arc or whatever. He’s an arsehole. I’m also reading Bad Romance this month so I’m stocking up on tissues 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is so bloody frustrating. The amount of people who want the redemption arc is ridiculous. It replicates real life though, the amount of times my mum has spoken out against her abusive and she gets rebuffed with ‘that was years ago, people change’ is ridiculous. People never want to see the negative side of people even when it is right in front of them. I hope you enjoy Bad Romance! I’m excited to hear your thoughts ♥

      Liked by 1 person

      • the fact that people can be such optimists can be so bad because they become so oblivious to real problems that have to be stopped, totally agree. Thank you! I’ll probably be reviewing it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Bravo! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    I think one of the main factors contributing to the proliferation of abuse is normalizing it…heck, even applauding it and rationalizing it in popular media, be it in books, tv or movies. It’s just so unhealthy and frustrating, and also one of the reasons why I don’t participate much in fandom now. This thing was so evident in the Mare/Maven pairing in Red Queen. Even the author herself, Victoria Aveyard, stated that she doesn’t vote for the pairing because Maven is an abuser no matter how you put it. Still, people excused everything he did just so they could ship the two characters. Not bashing Maven, I loved him as a villain, but the people defending and rationalizing his abusive actions just continues to frustrate me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my gosh, I haven’t read that series so haven’t heard all this drama but that is so frustrating! Especially when the author herself says that the character is abusive, which obviously makes it canon. I’ve enjoyed abusive characters as villains, but you definitely can’t pretend they’re good people or should be paired with someone. I completely agree with you though, because of all this it makes it difficult to want to talk to others in fandoms because you don’t know what they may support. It is just so frustrating how abuse is glamorised in society and makes me so ready to yell, haha. Thank you so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • THANK YOU! I completely understand that. I wrote a review that said a character wasn’t abusive in that series because a ‘friend’ had manipulated me into thinking so. I’ve had to go delete my review for it because it’s not something I agree with and I can’t believe I played into this trend of ignoring problematic content! I just can’t stand that people hold her books at the highest standard but ignore books with good representation. Thank you so much for your comment!

      Like

  5. You are fucking right girl! YAS TO THIS POST! I absolutely love this! I somehow stay away from SJM books because of the abuse, I myself get scared or triggered whenever I read books that has abusive theme that weren’t handled greatly. But thank you for putting this out for everyone to read ♥️

    Nicka | wanderwithnicka.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Nicka! I can understand why you stay away, SJM does so well in one book and then ruins it with a sequel. It is really disappointing. I had to say something, the anger I have at people continuously supporting abusive characters (and people in general) is ridiculous ♥️

      Like

  6. Yessss!!!!! Absolutely love this post. Sometimes people are so blind to real life issues because they personally don’t have experience with it. I have had so many disagreements because of people being ignorant to harmful things in both books and life. Accept that there is more than one view point and yours may not have the best experience in the subject. And don’t straight out disagree or shut down something just because its not something you are directly familiar with.
    This applies not just to this either. I had somone this morning ask me why I don’t sleep and when I said it was a sleeping condition there reply was ‘well wake up earlier than you will be tired at night’ 🙄🙄🙄 Ignorance at its finest.

    👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s frustrating that they want to remain ignorant to the issues as well, like you can do so much to educate them and then they just laugh in your face. You are so damn right though! I had one girl tell me recently I wouldn’t know if a good book hit me in the face because I mentioned that it had poor representation of abuse.
      Seriously, someone said that to you? God people the worst. I’m sorry you have to deal with comments like that ♥️
      Thank you so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • 100% agree. People read a book about it and think that’s all the education then need but then they don’t see those topics in the book how they really are anyway.
        Good lord, represention in books is getting a little out of hand. Someone not if the rep says ‘I can’t speak for the rep but I think it was good’ and the n when you comment on that rep not being so fabulous they shit you down. *cough* that one LGBT character in ACOTAR series *cough*
        I’m sorry we all have to deal with it. And you’re welcome! 📚💙

        Liked by 1 person

  7. My favorite thing is when the abuse is explicit in the novel, and people say something like “well before condemning it, let’s think about WHY the author did this and made the character do this…” this always comes as a response to people saying “Fuck this abusive character/their actions” which is why I find it sketchy as hell. You’re completely right, no excuse for abusive behaviour, and it’s completely stupid when writers throw it in as characterization without any consequences or underlying criticism you know???

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is so true! People tend to want to defend or find a reason for these behaviours, but sometimes people just suck and don’t have a reason. Your second point is so true as well, whenever an author does this I always presume they have no idea about abuse dynamics honestly

      Like

  8. […] I know I have a post about yelling at people to stop excusing abusive behaviour. I’m here to now explore the topic about books that explore unhealthy relationships and friendships and romanticise them. These are the books that promote negative, jealous behaviours in relationships that are really clear warning signs to get out of a relationship. Basically, it really is just an extension of my stop excusing abusive behaviour post which you can read here. […]

    Like

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