4 Steps to Stop Being a Perpetrator

Perpetrators don’t always want to be. I cannot begin to tell you how many parents, for example, say, “I would never want to hurt my child.” Then they do it anyway. It takes FOUR steps to recover from being a perpetrator: Part I: Admitting you have done wrong Part II: Hating what you’ve done Part III: Resolving never to do it again, no matter what Part IV: Recovering from your own abuse Part I: Admitting You Have Done Wrong The first, I think, is the hardest, especially for victims of abuse. The victim is always used to being, well, the victim. It is shocking, disconcerting, and disturbing to learn that you have been hurting someone you love when all that time you thought you were the one that was hurt. Doesn’t matter. If you hurt someone, you’ve got to own up to it. Not only is this hard because it changes your perception of yourself to a perpetrator–ugh–but also because you may be dishing it out in an entirely different way than you got dished out to. Let’s take an example. Suppose your mom beat you, neglected you, didn’t even make your lunches. You came to school raggedy with unbrushed hair. In those days they didn’t call the Department of Children and Families and it just went on and on. You were, indeed, a victim. You got married, had a kid and resolved never to do that. So you stuck to your resolutions and you got up to give your child breakfast, brushed her hair, and never laid a hand on her. But you did it with a frown,...
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