Perpetrators when behaving as such, do so because they believe they’ve just been victimized.
The shouting, name calling, slandering or other verbal violence, and the silent treatment, the shutting down and abandoning, the walking away from people without explanation – isn’t it true we don’t do these things to people as much as we are doing it to protect ourselves? In a perpetrator’s mind, there is no other appropriate response. This is the mindset of self-defense.
An actual need to protect themselves may or may not be present. In the first world, it is frequently the latter. But that’s not the point. The point is they believe they need to protect themselves, and that is enough of a reason to justify all sorts of behavior. I recall a memorized Bible verse from my childhood, a quote from Jesus, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”
When we believe someone is harming us – or in other words, when we feel we were a victim in a given moment – nearly always, that moment is also the exact moment when we become a perpetrator.
Victim mentality is perpetrator mentality.
Let us evolve out of victim/perpetrator consciousness, and into a new realm, a realm more rooted in reality, a realm that knows that fear has simply been like a ball getting tossed back and forth between people, that perpetrators are only ever acting out their own pain, tossing the ball, and victims are agreeing to catch it.
The pain does need to be released, not by becoming a perpetrator-victim, but in some more authentic way….
May we each learn how to first notice, then accept, and then share out loud to others, “I feel scared. I feel hurt.” What a different world that would create. I’m reminded of a prayer from my childhood, “…Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”