What about the perpetrators in our lives? Scientists state that the human brain cannot develop without the existence of another human brain. When this happens under abusive circumstances, the perpetrator heavily influences the victim’s future actions, beliefs, and how they feel about the world around them.
Perpetrators; Their Influence in Our Lives
Its ludicrous to expect any human to resist this kind of domination, then to emerge later unscathed. From my own experiences from childhood and subsequent multiple abusive relationships over the decades, I believe that there are differing degrees of harm done to the victims but there is always harm.
The Silent Act
For myself, I knew something felt seriously out of sync. But like most victims, I kept it buried deep inside and talked to no one about it. As I grew into adulthood, I knew I was too easily swayed into bad situations, but I didn’t know how to stop it. I knew that I didn’t want to treat others the way I had been treated and most of the time, became so wishy-washy and clingy in an attempt ‘make everyone around me feel good’ that people couldn’t stand me. Then other times, I acted out, just like my perpetrators, uncontrollably.
How I Coped
Through sheer force of self-will and pouring out love to those closest to me, I was able to stop the most destructive behaviors for long periods of time. But during those periods of time, my inner-self found other ways to keep people away by my over-eating, isolating and other compulsive behaviors that appear on the surface to be normal to most observers.
Never-the-less, I continued to live in mortal fear of my own shadow and everyone around me. I simply learned to hide it. I didn’t know what else to do.
“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”
— Yehuda Bauer
Prisoner of War
A therapist once told me that when I left that home at the age of 17, I left a prisoner of war camp. When I told him his statement was ridiculous, he listed what I went through each day of my life as a child. On a daily basis, I was hit, yelled at, shaken, and nothing I did was right. It-was-always-wrong. When I look at my life from that perspective things become clearer. This realization was the start of my recovery from a lifetime of abuse. Still, it was an uphill battle for decades afterwards.