Difficulties of the Helping Profession

You know, it’s not uncommon to be properly shouted at by the very people I’m trying to help when volunteer counselling. 

I think this was the very hardest thing to come to terms with, as I found it very natural at these times to feel like I had actually done something wrong and deserved it. And then to mull it over continuously after-the-fact that if I had only said something different or had been better at my “job”, then the person might have come away better off somehow. 

Over time, I became hardened somewhat and realised that people live in their own heads and have the option to take their pain out on other people, sometimes without even realising it.

I think these experiences of someone else directing their own anger, rage, fury and frustration right at you for not “saying the right thing” has helped me better manage the (few) not very nice people in my life and sometimes totally get away from those relationships.

I understand why most people, including counsellors, often don’t want to talk with other people about their own personal experience of what it’s like being in a difficult, sometimes abusive relationship.

It takes a strong person to “fully own and offer back” their experiences of being in a relationship with someone they find difficult, especially if it’s to be done in a kind and compassionate way so there is a chance for both people to learn and grow from it. Even if they part ways irreparably.

But by not doing so and worse, adopting a silent compliant role, it can also subtly reinforce the person’s delusions that got them into a place of non-real relationships to begin with. And also sometimes the belief that the way they treat others isn’t abusive at all.

Which ironically often brings people to counselling in the first place, as the effects of their behaviour and treatment of other people don’t bring the desired effects.

Frank Ray

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