They see themselves as good people. Conflict makes them uncomfortable. They don’t want to get involved. They fear losing friends and family. They wish everyone would just get along.

They are the silent complicit, and they are as toxic as the overt abusers they enable.

In many ways, they are worse. They claim to be your friend. They claim to care. They are in every workplace, school, grocery store, and public place. When abuse happens right in front of their face, they fail to recognize it. They don’t understand why you are upset. They make lame excuses, often in the form of platitudes. “There are two sides to every story.” “Give him the benefit of the doubt.” “Time heals all wounds.” “Let’s not jump to conclusions.” “Prayer solves everything.”

The silent complicit would much rather believe the lie that nothing is wrong than to admit the truth. Some choose to do this out of sheer laziness. Admitting something is wrong means they have to DO something about it. They would perhaps have to make uncomfortable changes. They would have to confront people who are not easy to confront. They would have to get authorities involved. Others choose to be complicit out of fear. They fear losing relationships. They fear admitting to being wrong. They fear retaliation. Some of the silent complicit are silent because they actually agree with the abuse. They are covert abusers who back up an overt abuser.

Whatever the motivation, when someone fails to speak up about abuse, they become complicit.

Abuse can only thrive in silence. Sometimes, all it takes is one brave soul to stand up and say, “This is wrong,” to turn the tide.

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