It’s been a while since I have posted anything, even though I have been out occasionally in the past few weeks. I want to continue along the line of thought that Plex has been writing about, with some does and don’t related to the topic of perpetrators.
DO: seek outside help in facing and dealing with the perpetrator and the problems that a perpetrator brings into your life. This is not a do-it-yourself fix-it kind of project. No one else can help you very much until you are ready and willing to share your situation; and attempting to confront your perpetrator alone can be very dangerous. I know that there are extreme challenges to actively and practically attempting to get help to deal with abusive relationships. Some of those challenges are in your own thinking and determination. Some of them are highly practical and involve strategy and fall-out. If you are currently in this type of relationship, please let us reach out to you and gently encourage you to prayerfully ( you DO need God’s guidance and help) determine to seek out the help and support you need. There are secular organizations in most communities in the USA who are skilled and equipped to help, but there can be limitations and practical concerns involved in receiving help from them. Most pastors and counselors are trained and prepared to know how to help you. (If you go to one and they don’t prove to be helpful, then go to someone else.) If you are reading this blog and you are not in an abusive relationship, be thankful and pray for those who are. I would also encourage you to learn how you can help if a friend or family member ever comes to you for help in dealing with this type of situation.
DO NOT: give up. Some people feel overwhelmed or at a loss to know how to help you. They may give you platitudes like, “hang in there” or “I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. I will be sure to pray for you in your awful situation.” or some other dismissive comment. If your perpetrator is someone who is highly respected, you might even encounter people who will not believe you. We have even had people we talked to about the abuse we were receiving from our ex-husband go to him and warn him that I was telling dangerous lies about him. A marriage counselor we were seeing once had the audacity to tell me in front of my ex-husband that I should let his highly abusive words roll off my back like water roles off the back of a duck. That same counselor literally pace the floor in rage when I walked into his office one evening with a big bruise on my face that was the result of a physical blow from my ex-husband. My response to him at the time was to point to my face and say, “this…will heal in a few days with no ongoing negative impact; but this (pointing to my heart, and then to my head) will not.” His mouth dropped open with astonished realization of his error when he counseled me to let the words roll of my back like a duck.
The point is some people will not know how to respond, even people you have every right to expect will. If you share your trials with someone and they don’t offer real help and support, then tell someone else. No matter what anyone says, this is not a one man’s or woman’s battle. Yes, you do need to pray and you do need to seek God’s guidance in how and when to protect yourself and/or confront your perpetrator; but that doesn’t discount or minimize the importance of getting help from people outside of the situation.