In psych terms, I think it means transferring your own Stuff to another situation. (Correct me if I’m wrong, dear M.) I’m very good at that, which can make things…em…interesting at times.
Back in England, I did volunteer work for a domestic violence programme. Never one to back down from a challenge, I actually worked with the abusers. I’m relatively optimistic, so I thought perhaps working with the abusers would prevent future violent acts. Certain studies show that sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated. I’m inclined to believe that. However, I think those committing acts of violence in a non-sexual pattern can be helped to change the issues behind their behaviour, allowing them to learn better outlets. This is important, as many women (and abused men as well!) tend to either go back with their abusers or fall in to another abusive relationship. Helping these women is absolutely necessary. It’s hard to learn to break that pattern. Helping abusers is one way, in my opinion, to make their victims safer.
Now, I couldn’t do that work. I have done some volunteer work for a shelter here, but it’s been mostly in dealing with their technology. I’ve done quite alot of computer work for them, helped them set up networks in the satellite shelters, and generally annoyed them with tech questions they weren’t quite prepared to answer.
There was one particular family, though, that I got close to. A young woman with two small children, a girl aged 7 and a little boy aged 1. I got them in to the main shelter, transferred to a satellite shelter, and then in to a safe house. Upon her release, the woman fought with a neighbour and was jailed. I did what I could and made bail for her. She got out of jail and went back with her abusive husband. At that point, *I* wanted to hit her. Btw, I would never do that. I was just very, very frustrated by them.
This morning, I saw the couple at a grocery store and all of that anger towards the man returned. He became like one of *my* abusers, and I wanted to shake him until he felt the same pain all abused women feel. Transference, anyone?
It is my sincere hope that the lady and her children are safe with the husband, but I doubt that’s the case.