Perception vs. Per”crap”tion
This post is by one of our readers.
Pffffttt. Was that the sound of a can opening? Perhaps a can of worms? My perception is that it is tuna, but your perception may be that it is albacore, because the smell while similar is still different, but the fact is, that this can opening right now, is a can of worms.
Perception, or per”crap”tion, as I prefer to now call it, is an aid and tool of abusers and their counselors / pastors / elders, who insist that the victim’s perception is out of balance and the victim is in fact not being abused.
Let’s use this example. Abuser pushes his victim up against a wall in anger. His “perception” and description of the event, was that he was just moving the victim. Victim’s perception is that he forcefully pushed her up against a wall, in anger, before he stormed out of the house. Much later on, in an effort to entrap the victim, the counselor asks, “has he ever shoved you?” to which the victim replies “no”, because her “perception” is that shoving is a move that happens from behind and knocks one down, so “no, he has not shoved me”, would be accurate. With no further questions asked by the counselors, they later state that the victim’s story is inconsistent, because of the above event. Shoves, pushes, what really is the difference. If the victim was not thinking about those specific events at the time the question was asked, then the victim’s answer may be inconsistent.
Here is a time when “perception” could have been accurately used and talked through. If the counselors had asked the victim about the incidents, maybe the victim’s eyes would have been opened, she would have remembered that particular incident, and she could have realized that the abuser had in fact “shoved” her. Dumbing down and minimizing abuse for decades, just to be able to continue to live and breathe, can leave one very weak and vulnerable, not to mention confused. My personal case involved the fact that I was done giving information to counselors who were just further abusing me, and so I was vague when they continued to ask questions, feeling that I couldn’t just not answer them, as I was feeling threatened by the power stature they were taking with me. I am seeing here on this blog and even in my own life, that victims of abuse live in such fog and confusion, that it would be easy to seem inconsistent, if the questions asked were plotted against the victim to make the victim even more confused, and if the counselors were trying to paint the abuser in a better light, or trying to save the marriage, for their own glory.
Another example. Someone walks up and slaps another person. Is it fair to say that the person that got slapped has a wrong perception, and the one slapping has a right perception, that in fact, it was not a slap, but just a hard love pat?
Or what about this one. Let’s say that Ashley says to Chris, “you’d really miss the kids if they were gone, wouldn’t you?”, but Chris is a victim of abuse in the relationship with Ashley, which is the entire reason counseling was started. Chris’s perception is that Ashley is making a veiled threat, because Ashley is a verbal abuser, at the very, very least, but also has a history of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that the counselors have been made aware of. However, in the presence of the counselors, Ashley states that he/she meant absolutely nothing by it, and in fact was delivering Chris a compliment, by saying what a good parent they were. Chris has a hard time accepting that, because of the tone of Ashley’s voice when the statement was made, and the fact that Ashley is an abusive person, but is then jumped on by the counselors, because Chris won’t just accept Ashley’s words as kind. The counselors tell Chris that he/she has a perception problem, as Ashley says nothing bad was meant by it, and the counselors then demand that Chris simply get over it and move on. However, Chris lives in the daily truth with Ashley, something the counselors do not do.
Perception, when used this way, seems to take the truth and shelve it. It seems to make up its own definitions when used in cases of abuse.
There are times when perception can be properly used. For example, let’s say I think the tree is pine green and my neighbor thinks it is lime green. Okay, my neighbor’s perception is not harming me, nor anyone else, and after all, I cannot guarantee that my eyes are seeing colors the way they truly are, so no big deal. This can happen with many, many things and perception is just accepted as being okay. This would be a proper way to use perception. I can also see perception being properly used when a husband and wife have an argument and she thinks he has been short with her because of “A”, and later she finds out that he had a really bad day at the office, and that was the reason for his being curt. Her perception was that he was upset with her, when in fact, it was something completely different. His perception was that she was just being fussy again, and later would find that his perception was faulty too. Easy to fix.
But, when perception begins to invade the truth, we have another problem and a big one at that. If I were to say that the tree were a pine tree, rather than just pine colored, but the tree was in fact an oak tree, then we would have a problem. I cannot intertwine my perception with the truth and come out ahead. I will end up believing a lie and being deceived.
When an abuser dumbs down and minimizes his/her abuse, using perception as his / her ally, then what should we do? I know of some people who have taught that abuse is a perception, not a real event. Lots of searching and couples counseling and digging into each person’s thoughts and actions will reveal this, they think. Really, this is nothing more than a counselor playing some sort of investigator, instead of just listening to both sides of the story told separately and using an abuse advocate to unravel the findings. Finding one inconsistency in the victim’s account, these so-called counselors/investigators determine that it is a matter of the victim’s perception, not abuse. This is why I advocate that no one without adequate abuse education counsel anyone who is claiming to have been abused. Without adequate knowledge, and if the counselors / pastors are already power hungry to begin with, it is nothing more than a fatal blow to the victim, just waiting to happen.
It always struck me as funny that one of the counselors would share the details of the abuse they suffered, and when I shared mine, which was at least the same in some areas and much worse in other areas, my abuse was just “perception” but theirs was “real abuse”. I could see then how deceived the people I was working with were, but it took much more than that for me to figure it all out. I was so deeply embedded in the abuse by my abuser, that I could not see the spiritual abuse that was happening to me by these counselors. However I will give myself an ounce of credit here, and say that I did try to get away from them when I saw that they were deceived and just causing more harm.
So I am wondering how many of you have had to deal with this false idea of perception, when it came to dealing with your abuser? How many of you heard that word from your pastor / elders / leaders? I am wondering if my case was an isolated instance of the wrongful use of “perception”, or if there are others who were dealt this incredibly awful ordeal, where the abuse happening to them was simply identified as a “perception” problem.