Naruto is a story that deals with traumatic events, abusive people, and the effects of abuse on people that survive. This has led to plenty of analysis of Naruto, Shippuden, and Boruto to see where the threads connect and where they don't. There are plenty of forms of abuse shown throughout the franchise: physical, psychological, emotional, and many others.
However, this has led many fans to label certain characters as abusers without canon evidence. Some fans willfully ignore, distort, or misinterpret certain details, lines of dialog, or actions to say the chosen character is completely and utterly abusive when that's not the case.
Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers from Naruto, Shippuden, and Boruto. The opinions and interpretations therein are only those of fans and the author.
From Sasuke Uchiha to Neji Hyuga: 5 Naruto characters that were falsely accused of abuse
1) Naruto Uzumaki
Naruto Uzumaki is the main protagonist of the entire franchise. He went through plenty of abuse and was accused of being an abusive father to Boruto. This is patently false no matter who pushes it or where, seeing as Naruto had a lot on his plate as Hokage and no real experience with parenting unless one counts Kakashi, Jiraiya, or the Third Hokage as surrogate fathers or teachers.
While fans are correct that the Seventh Hogake should've done better in being there for his family, this doesn't make Naruto a bad dad or abusive. This might be considered a hot take, but sometimes parents are too busy for their kids and need the help that Naruto receives. He ultimately did start trying to spend more time with Boruto and Himawari.
Neglect is abuse, but Naruto Uzumaki is practically a saint in this regard compared to worse examples further down the line. At the very least, he stopped the shadow clones from being there instead of him. This is a great improvement, even if Sasuke technically beat him to it.
2) Sasuke Uchiha
Sasuke has the same deal as Naruto. He was mostly away on missions when Sarada was growing up. These missions have everything to do with protecting the world at the expense of having what might be considered a "normal" relationship with his family. It led to Sarada having an identity crisis, which isn't a good look for Sasuke.
Further, some have accused the Uchiha of abusing his teammates, given his multiple attempts to kill them. These accusations bear more fruit, given Sasuke's attitude shift during Naruto Shippuden.
It should be noted, however, that unlike many of the actual abusive people in the anime, Sasuke served a roughly one-year prison sentence for his actions and could've been in there for life. Likewise, Sasuke went through his own arc of abuse and trauma thanks to the Uchiha Clan massacre, with Itachi adding to that by destroying his sanity.
Is Sasuke a terrible father for not being there in critical times? It's up to the audience. As far as being abusive, Sasuke has matured and is even Boruto's mentor. To say he's an abusive father is a really big stretch. Likewise, abuse and trauma affect people very differently, and Sasuke might as well be the poster child for this.
3) Sakura Haruno
Not to be left out, Sakura Haruno has had more accusations of abuse hurled at her than Sasuke or Naruto combined. Whether it was her attitude when she was a kid against Naruto, making fun of him for being an orphan was not a good thing, nor was it treated as such. Another event that added to her criticism was her recklessness during Shippuden to stop Sasuke on her own.
Poking at Naruto, especially the slapstick physical comedy, is one thing that Sakura ultimately grew out of. The latter recklessness was to save everyone's lives and to give Sasuke the chance that she and Naruto believed he deserved. At the end of it all, she does grow more mature and ends up being both men's biggest supporter.
The worst accusation had to be that she was a bad mother owing to Sarada's identity crisis and stopped her daughter from seeking the Mangekyo Sharingan. The first was not Sakura's fault; she constantly helped Sarada and encouraged her to reach her full potential.
The second is good parenting, given the trauma needed to possess that level of Sharingan. It's a shame that Sakura still gets hate, considering many believe she's turned around and was never that bad of a character to begin with.
4) Neji Hyuga
The temptation to put Hiashi Hyuga on the table when Neji Hyuga came to mind was much easier. Some Naruto fans held a bit of a grudge during Neji and Hinata's match during the Chunin Exams and Neji's whole demeanor during that stage of the series in general.
Neji and Hinata ultimately went through the wringer as kids, both being ostracized in their own way. Neji believed fate was predetermined and that he was a genius destined for greatness. He'd have this belief shattered when Naruto defeated him and when Hiashi explained the truth of his father's death and profusely apologized for his gross negligence.
Neji would ultimately accept the apology and become a much better person afterward. He was poisoned by the trauma of his father's death and a lie told to spare him the truth. He's not the instigator of Hinata's abuse either; that dubious honor went to Hiashi and other Hyuga clan members.
There was already a problem coming up with characters that weren't abusive and weren't obvious choices like the main cast. Temari from Boruto most definitely counts as not abusive, even if some may interpret her parenting style as such. She's not as restrictive as Chi Chi from Dragon Ball Z, but some fans decided to treat her as such.
It ultimately comes down to the value dissonance between different cultures regarding child discipline. In Boruto, Temari slapping Shikadai or throwing him and Shikamaru out of the house for not listening to her is played for comedic effect. In Japan, slapping kids is seen as a reasonable way to discipline them. To the western world, these acts are seen as bordering on domestic abuse.
There's hardly anyone that considers it domestic abuse, at least when compared to the parenting styles of Chi Chi or other parents, as listed below. It's just an annoyance that some people take things a bit too seriously, even when Shikamaru and Temari were a fan-preferred couple compared to the above-mentioned Sakura and Sasuke.
5 Naruto characters that were demonstrably abusive
1) The Hidden Leaf toward Naruto
Yes, the entirety of the Hidden Leaf counts toward this entry. Nobody, in particular, holds the blame for this, even if some point to the Third Hokage for withholding information and not being the best surrogate parent. Naruto was an orphan, not knowing anything about his birth, his father, or why people were being horrendously neglectful towards him.
It wouldn't be until much later that Naruto would find out the truth. Thankfully, the main protagonist didn't go a complete rage monster on everyone involved since he had a better head on his shoulders thanks to Iruka and others helping him along. While Naruto may have been fully within his rights to call people out, he sets out to save everyone and proves his worth in their eyes by saving them time and again.
Many folks in the village even apologized and made amends to Naruto Uzumaki later, so that's been resolved as of Boruto. It's still not right that he was starved, ostracized, and made out to be a demon when he was barely a child.
2) Rasa, the Fourth Kazekage
As the Fourth Kazekage is dead, this will focus on parenting Gaara when he was alive. While Rasa's reign as Kazekage was filled with attempts to calm the One-Tailed Shukaku, as he cared deeply about his village and was torn between that and his family, his actions toward Gaara deserve neither sympathy nor pity.
If Naruto was abused via ostracization, the threat of starvation, and other emotional tactics, then Gaara got the physical abuse treatment much harder. Gaara had to endure assassination attempts, having the Shukaku sealed inside him as a baby, isolation, and a lack of empathy and sympathy from his own family. It's no wonder Gaara turned into a murderous monster, given everything Rasa put him through.
However, Rasa did break down when he was reincarnated during the Fourth Great Ninja War and apologized profusely to his son for being a failure of a father. Gaara was able to reconcile with his father at the very least, which cannot be said for the entries below.
3) Tanuki Shigaraki
Is it odd that Naruto has some very abusive parents in it? Not really, as the core theme of the series is how much the older generation has failed the younger. The case of Sumire is one such example, wherein the cycle of hatred was passed on from her father. She nearly went wild on the Hidden Leaf had Boruto and Mitsuki not helped her.
Tanuki Shigaraki was a member of Danzo Shimura's Root, a special operations division dedicated to preserving order and pacifying threats to Konoha. They basically functioned as Danzo's attack squad, and Sumire bore the brunt of her father's paranoia-driven revenge scheme when Root was disbanded.
Sumire had a weapon named the Gozu Tenno sealed onto her and released Nue, which was meant to wipe everything out with chakra drained from negativity. Sumire got better thanks to help from Shino, Boruto, and more than a bit of help from her class. Her hateful father is dead and good riddance.
Speaking of good riddance to bad rubbish, Kawaki's biological father was an alcoholic and a lout. Whatever hardships he endured, supposedly in the aftermath of the Fourth Great Ninja War, left him as an abusive drunkard who regularly treated Kawaki like dirt.
Kokatsu performed acts of physical and verbal abuse towards his own son, including withholding meals for the smallest of mistakes, locking him in a room for days on end, and likewise calling his son empty and worthless. He was genuinely happy to sell his own son off to Jigen and move on with his life.
Kawaki's life went from bad to worse when Jigen got a hold of him, but his life wasn't any better with his biological father. Kokatsu continues an important lesson in Naruto: some people aren't fit to be parents and shouldn't have kids if they can barely take care of themselves.
5) Danzo Shimura
Many Naruto fans will never get tired of seeing Danzo on the "worst Naruto characters" lists like this. Thus, this last entry goes to him. Danzo Shimura is the leader of Root, the chief instigator of the Uchiha Clan Massacre, and the unknowing creator of Pain. He was also extremely abusive. If none of what was said above convinces fans, then perhaps Yamato's existence and creation will.
For the record, Danzo thought he was doing it all for the good of the Hidden Leaf. In reality, of course, much of what he did led to worse problems later on. Although Orochimaru bears the brunt of the abuse of Yamato's creation, Danzo is not exempt. He used Yamato, the then-child named Kinoe, as his personal assassin and operative to assassinate the Third Hokage. He even tried to kill him for daring to defy his orders one too many times.
In other words, decades of horrid operations came back to haunt him during the Five Kage Summit assault. Nobody mourned Danzo when he died, and Root was eventually exposed. The only good thing Danzo ever did was destroy Shisui's eye so Obito couldn't acquire it. That was after grafting it and many others onto his arm to acquire higher-level techniques like Izanagi.