Last time, I closed by talking about what it felt like when I had to admit to myself I was a victim of a crime, and that what I wanted most of all was to take back my personal power.
As I noted last time, the first time I had to sit with a detective in order to report the crime, and had to identify myself as "the victim," it was as though some foreign thing outside myself suddenly and violently reached deep inside me, all the way to my soul, and wrenched out some vital part of me: the part which, up until that very moment, had always taken the solid ground beneath my feet for granted. From that moment on, all in the world I wanted was to take back my power -- anything to stop feeling the way I did.
"Take back your power!" Sounds good, doesn't it? But doing that can land you smack in the middle of the La Brea Tar Pits. You can fight so hard, spend so much of your self regaining what you lost, you don't even realize your life has spun completely out of control, and has become all about that one, single, narrow goal. When that happens, not only haven't you regained anything, you've actually lost, because you have relinquished the last remnants of your power to the perpetrator, even if he is completely unaware if it.
Let me be very clear: I am not suggesting for one moment anyone lie down like a doormat and allow a perpetrator to trample all over their life! But I am suggesting this: there comes a time in any battle when the one who would be vanquished could steal the victory right out of the grasp of the one who would be the vanquisher. Like the question, "What if they gave a war and nobody came," what if the perpetrator threw down the gauntlet but, rather than taking the bait, what if the would-be victim simply refused to engage?
There is another, older and more commonly-known way to express that response: it's called "turning the other cheek." But that comes at a price, and how many of us, at a time when we are knee-deep in pain, are ready or willing to pay that price?
If I spend my time -- and my love and my peace -- hating the perpetrator, then I have given him my power. Without even being in my presence, indeed, most likely, without even giving me a second thought, he has power over me and I am his victim. If I choose to participate in his war, on his terms, on his battleground, I have given him my power and, again, I am his victim. And if I lose that war, which is all but predetermined because the battleground -- and all the ground rules -- are of his choosing and his making, then he has power over me and I am his victim.
But if I turn the other cheek, if I refuse to engage, if he gives a war and I don't come, what then? Isn't he then free to run roughshod over my being and through my guts? Isn't he free to tear my life and my family to shreds? And then, after having succeeded, having met with little or no resistance, after he holds his glistening prize up to the light and congratulates himself on a job well done, isn't he then free to turn his attention to the exhilarating task of identifying, stalking and eventually annihilating his next victim?
That's the cost. If I turn the other cheek and let it go, and congratulate myself on having survived and on being alive, what happens to my neighbor? If I stoutly refuse to engage, is not my perpetrator in a position of complete control? Yes? No? As I said, more questions than answers.
(Tune in next time when I try to answer some of these seemingly unanswerable questions. Meanwhile, may I suggest taking some quiet time to think about these questions on your own, discuss them with others whom you trust, jot down your thoughts. 'Til next time ...)
Copyright by Pamela S. K. Glasner © 2013, All Rights Reserved