The Common Denominator, Part #2

Again, psychology tells us that abuse and trauma are damaging to the psyche, and to a person’s development. In simple language, we often say that an abused person “has problems.” It is often considered that an abuser was him or herself, abused. Alice Miller thought so:

“It is very difficult for people to believe the simple fact that every persecutor was once a victim. Yet it should be very obvious that someone who was allowed to feel free and strong from childhood does not have the need to humiliate another person. “

Alice Miller
Alice Miller (20th century), German psychoanalyst and author. For Your Own Good, “Unintentional Cruelty Hurts, Too,” (trans. 1983).

Considering the above, often in cases of clear abuse or even heinous crimes, the perpetrator’s own experience of received abuse is not in evidence. We can be baffled when some person commits acts of violence, and the public record shows that no abuse or violence was committed against the offender. This can become fodder for ‘Law and Order’ crusaders, it can appear to give the psychology of abuse a black eye, it can be pointed to as debunking any correlation between the receiving and the committing of abuse. Then there is talk of sin, Original Sin, video-game and TV and film violence, as well as talk of genetic predisposition. Again, though, the existence of a precursor, or common denominator can reconcile this apparent conflict.

If we thought differently about it, if we saw our world in perhaps a darker light, if we had a reason to think that most people were in fact abused, if our view assumed few people escaped abuse, that view would certainly change the puzzle. When someone committed crimes or abuses that shock and horrify us, we would see that they probably were offended against, as per Miller’s statement; there would be some chance to understand it in some way. The conflicts would clear away, and our confusion would be lessened. That is the key. That is my premise.

– here’s part #1:

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