If you are asked to provide an endorsement for a person, and you find there are various people criticising that person so that you suspect they may be displaying SBCMB, listen to the critics very carefully. That is true even if the critics are people who have been significantly involved with the other person and hurt by them. Of course, it is true that all criticism needs to be taken with a grain of salt, and there are always two sides to every story. It is also true that people who have been hurt often have an axe to grind. That is why it is always right to talk to the person themselves, and their supporters, and hear them out. But don’t listen just to them and their supporters. Listen to supporters and to those who have been hurt by them. While those who have been hurt might be biased, they’re not to be discounted for that reason.
As a society and as churches, we have rightly learnt through accounts of abuse not to ignore the voices of those who have been hurt. This is true in cases like this also. In fact, it is even more important to listen to others in cases where a person is exhibiting SBCMB, because a person exhibiting SBCMB is so good at portraying themselves as vulnerable. Thus, if you rely primarily on their side of the story, you may congratulate yourself on being the one who is listening to the “true victim”, when in reality you are only listening to the story of the (possibly unintentional) perpetrator. Don’t think you understand everything just because you have chatted with the person or spent some time with them in their world. Don’t rely too much on your own ability to judge people on first impressions. As we have seen, those who exhibit SBCMB are very good at playing the game of creating the “right” impression.
Read the next section: If you need to say something publicly
Copyright © 2021 Lionel and Bronwyn Windsor
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To read the whole paper: Slow-burn crazy-making behaviours
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