Was she? What does this phrase actually mean, and does it make a difference to say this?
Is it even useful for an IoPT facilitator to say this to a person they are working with? "Your mother was a perpetrator".
It is one of the underlying facts we are working with in IoPT, along with other statements, such as "You were not wanted", "You were not loved", "You were not safe".
But all of these are intellectual statements, perhaps important as a starting point, but in my experience not ideas that are easy to take on.
To say that my mother did not want me says nothing about what the experience of 'not wantedness' was for the infant child, and unless we take the statement further the danger is that it changes nothing, but merely puts us in line to blame our mother... to set us on a path of victimhood that becomes a dead end.
These statements are merely a starting point... perhaps shocking and unconventional, but just the starting point. We have to penetrate what these statements actually mean in general, and what they have meant to each and every one of us specifically, because my actual experience of not being wanted as a baby is different from yours; my trauma experience is not yours.
To say that my mother was a perpetrator says nothing about what actually happened, the nature and form of her perpetration. It is only a general idea . Said too often it becomes something bland and meaningless, and in the end becomes yet another distraction and means of avoidance of the underlying pain.
What actually happened? To really penetrate the perpetration we have to actually say what this perpetration was, and feel the emotional charge hidden behind it. We have to bring what actually happened and the impact on us to the light of day, otherwise it all just becomes another form of avoidance.
And this business of bringing that actuality to the light of day is challenging in itself, because it means saying out what happened, what was done to us. It means speaking the unspeakable, becoming a whistleblower on the secret culture of our family. It means betraying the family secrets, daring to challenge the delusions and illusions that they have imposed on us, and, perhaps requiring us to limit contact with them, behave differently towards them, and ultimately risk banishment from the perceived 'safety' of belonging to such a perpetrator system.
This process is challenging. To say that my mother was a perpetrator within the context of an IoPT group or private session keeps this information secret. To live it is something quite different. To live my life with this truth, and the underlying meaning of it, is what can change everything for us... and it is this that is the only thing that can deliver us from the continuing, daily, devastating impact of trauma.