Dr. Margaret W. Jones, author of Not of My Making: Bullying, Scapegoating and Misconduct in Churches, will stop by here Monday on her virtual book tour to answer questions. One question I have for her is this: What can persons who have formerly bullied folks and been abusive do now to make amends to their former victims, with whom they are no longer in contact?
I explained to her that most of the readership of this blog come from a cultic church system where there was a top-down pyramid sort of structure. The leader “trained” his henchmen how to control people, and eventually many people used the methods that were used on them on each other. The methods included some of the same things that happened to Dr. Jones – using people and taking them for granted, ignoring their contribution, criticism, backbiting and innuendo, betrayal of confidences, ostracism within the group, shunning those who leave, plus a lot of other stuff I didn’t go into.
Our group pretty much fell apart in 2003 and people scattered. There are many of us who mistreated others, including myself, and don’t even remember most of the incidents because it was so commonplace. But the wounds are still festering in the recipients of our misconduct. Not of My Making does a poignant job of describing what that feels like. It would be great if Dr. Jones could give us some direction on how to help heal the pain that many still feel.