People behave like absolute dickheads when they are afraid.
Which is why, when some tiny fraction of people do not behave like that, they deserve praise, they are brilliant, and they are most likely worth befriending.
I want to make a very important point, though.
Just because they are afraid, their behaviour is not excused. Everyone has a choice when it comes to how to treat those around them. If they choose to be complete cunts to an innocent child because of fear, for example, they are pretty crappy people. Fear is not a good excuse to be shitty.
You can understand why things happen, but you don’t have to be understanding or accept them. You don’t have to become someone’s punching bag because they are afraid.
Do we condone the actions of people who murdered innocent women during the Salem Witch Trials?
I didn’t think so.
This extends to abusers. Abusers are so weak and pathetic. They choose to be like that. Maybe not at first, but after years of being like that, and they never realise they need to change — fuck, people probably make it very clear they need to get help — then they are weak and disgusting. You have every right to feel those things towards your abusers. You are not a saint or an angel if you are understanding towards them. You went through a lot of trauma, you didn’t end up being like them, so, what’s their excuse?
People have agency. I know being traumatised made you feel like you didn’t have agency, but, believe it or not, people are not just puppets on a string, being puppeteered by some asshole master. People make their own choices. They choose to say those dumb things to you. And you know what? That makes it so easy to ignore them. That makes it so obvious that all the shit they do/say does not matter.
And when people make the choice to be absolutely amazing?
Befriend them, be close to them, keep them in your life, be kind to them.
They are worth your time.