Perpetrators, Narcissism and Who is Going To Make The Change
There are as many opinions out there as there are people. We connect with some, are repulsed by others, find inspiration amongst the masses and are reminded time and time again that no one has all the answers. I don’t pretend to be any different. This is a current sampling of my collective thoughts.
We are in a time of reformation. As a species we have evolved over the millennia for survival; from a purely physical existence, to the development and preservation of communities, industries and technologies into what I would call now: a state of conscious evolution.
The uncovering, unveiling and uprising we see around us today is part of this evolutionary step. It is a fabulously chaotic time with deeply rooted dysfunctions and power imbalances being brought to light. While we are developing further understandings of our capabilities we are also challenging realities that have been shrouded in silence, shame and stigma.
This is Revolution. R-evolution. Our Evolution.
I see revolutions as unfurlings in our evolution. How quaint is it that all we have to do is emphasize the “R” to see our evolution. How extraordinary is it that we exist during this period of increasing consciousness, mindfulness and awareness – to begin to witness our conscious evolution. How amazing to realize the power of our individual choices and the rippling impacts of their potential to contribute to a higher state of existence. Quaint, extraordinary and amazing things do not always equate to peaceful things, and revolutions do not always mean war.
Change is uncomfortable, and yet I find peace. Peace in a knowing that what is happening all around us is serving our development and advancement as a species. The grand picture of life is that we improve, transform and progress – we evolve. Or we become extinct. I am an endless romantic, an enduring optimist, a believer in Humanity and even more so - a believer in the Universe. This means that I have faith that the universe is designed to support our existence and that we do indeed have the potential to advance.
The way we do this, is thru our daily living. I contribute to our global reality as a species thru my own reality. I have the power to choose progression, or regression. In my life I have experienced awe and inspiration and transformation as well as betrayal and abuse and suppression. I know both sides of the spectrum. I have upheld and empowered others; I have also denied and deceived. In my experiences I have made choices that have resulted in further awareness of where I wish to invest my energy and where I wish to never return. I am grateful to have an understanding of human potential that spreads from the shadows to the glory of light and I choose light, but I will not forget the shadows. The shadows where silence, shame and stigma breed cannot be ignored if we are to thrive.
So when I heard a caught sexual perpetrator passionately promise to Lead The Change needed to balance out the sexes, I took pause. A professional would call this proclamation, “evidence of continued narcissism”. An individual so in need to be at the forefront of power that they will turn an about face and commit to the other direction as long as it feeds their desire to be in charge can well be called a narcissist. But let’s not stop there. Let’s dig a little deeper into the black mess and pull out some potentials, and then make some choices.
I cannot help the visceral response that initially occurs when I encounter the realities of perpetrators, and I know I am not alone. I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to Feel it. I really don’t want to FEEL it. But I think it is this deep rejection of these realities that keep these realities in play. If we turn away from something, does it disappear? Will it go away?
We may not see it or hear it or feel it anymore, but it still exists. And maybe it’s not my responsibility or your responsibility to do anything about that existence…except that the damage of any human ripples into the collective consciousness and affects us all. So maybe we can start by taking pause and when we can, maybe we can sit with discomfort, and where we can maybe we can look into the shadows of humanity with a tint of curiousity. What-is-it. What is this “it” that exists and feels so horribly awful?
Maybe that’s too much.
When a scientist looks to uncover further understanding, she uses a hypothesis to approach the subject. Here is a theory: if we allow ourselves to move beyond judgement and condemnation, we create the opportunity to heal.
If we can distant ourselves just a moment from the visceral reactions that violations to humanity prompts, can that space provide a window of transformation? In that space of non-judgement can we ask: how does a perpetrator become a perpetrator? What does a perpetrator think about their actions? What silence surrounds perpetrators? What healings do perpetrators need? What can we learn from perpetrators? If we don’t ask, we don’t know.
I do not have all the answers. I have loads of opinions and nobody is going to call me a saviour for solving this human dis-ease. So what do I have to offer? I have a voice. One voice amongst millions. It is not an authoritative voice on anything other than my own personal experiences, which is invaluable and insignificant all at once. If I choose to remain silent, I contribute nothing. If I speak my truths with integrity, they may ripple out and resonate with or repel enough people to impact our collective development.
When it comes to sexual abuses, I not only share my opinions; this is where I share my voice and break silences. To the question of: Is there a place for sexual perpetrators at the forefront of the cultural and social changes that are required for sexual balancing? My answer is: No.
These changes require three elements that the narcissism of perpetrators has not been known to have: the ability to be of service to others, the desire to nurture others and the fortitude to alchemize trauma. To those who say “wait a second, those teachers and preachers who violated children – they were in positions of service” – yes, they were in positions of service but they did not have the ability to Be of service.
The ones leading the charge here are those who live, breathe and sleep equity. The leaders we need are trusted members of our communities who carry the seeds of integrity with them and who do not put their own interests ahead of the jeopardy of others.
In addition to this, it is the voices of those who have been subjected to abuse that need to be heard. Those who have been victims, who are survivors, who are thriving - every shade within the process of repair – these are the voices that have the transformative power to bring forth the healing required to balance the sexes. Stepping over these voices and vindicating the transformed voice of the perpetrator as a lead in social change amongst the sexes constitutes further abuse. Anyone who has used their power against me to undermine my own authority has no right to continue to use their voice to uphold their truths over mine. Perpetrators leading the change would be further silencing of the voices that have already been silenced and would maintain the already imbalanced state of personal authority.
But here is why this is a complicated answer. The reality is, at least 90% of perpetrators were first victims. The amount of shame and stigma that they carry is two fold. The journey of transformation is multiplied and they have every right to heal and drop the shackles of ignominy. Healing does require giving voice to the pain and the voice of the perpetrator does need to be heard, but the voice of the perpetrator is not a voice I will follow.
Do I think there is a place for sexual perpetrators within the cultural and social changes required to establish equilibrium amongst the sexes? Yes. First, by investing in their own admissions, understandings, repentances and healings they are contributing to the global healing. Secondly, if a transformation has occurred within their core and they wish to support these changes, then they have the opportunity to practise the ability to be of service to the movement with the greatest of humility. They can fund without recognition, they can offer without reciprocation, they can extend without a need to receive. I believe it’s called pay-back, and there is nothing wrong with pay-back if it is genuinely embraced.
Every single one of us is capable of making changes, of varying degrees, depending on our current realities that contribute to the overall health of our existence. I may have gone off on a bit of a tangent and my follow thru may not have been as effective as Margaret Atwoods would be, but I am meeting the potentials of this time where I am currently standing. I choose us. We may be ugly and unbearable at times; but if we spend some energy really investing in our capabilities and unlocking our gifts, our next steps along this path of existence could be pretty high up there.