In cases of abuse, there is a scenario in which an abuser presents himself as a hero, or at least expects recognition, for stopping one specific abusive behavior.

Now, stopping one abusive behavior is a good step in the right direction.

It is necessary, but it is not sufficient, because abusive behavior causes psychological damage that also needs to be addressed – not to mention the fact that there is rarely only one abusive behavior at work.

There are three more things that the abuser needs to do to address some of the psychological damage, plus two things that they need to not do.

Acknowledge that the abusive behavior caused harm.

Take responsibility for your role in it.

 Apologize.

 Don’t deny (or diminish) what happened, that it was abusive or the role you played in it.

 Don’t blame the victim.

With an executive order, President Trump just stopped the abusive practice of separating immigrant children and families. Good.

The families who were traumatized by this abusive practice, as well as the American people, are still waiting for the acknowledgment, apology, taking responsibility, etc. But the highest priority right now is that there are almost 3,000 traumatized children – infants through teenagers – spread around the country, and they must be reunited with their desperate families, some of whom have already been deported. This humanitarian crisis is far from over.

Kelley McDaniel

Portland