I take a breath. Pick up the phone. Make the call.
Twenty minutes later the call is done.
And so am I.
In many ways I'm a fortunate man, people come to listen to me teach and lecture, others pop by and read my random musings on this blog, I am often employed to listen, think then render an opinion. It's good. Growing up with messages of worthlessness it has always been a challenge to see myself as having even the slightest thought or idea that would be worth a penny. This has changed a lot in recent years and self confidence has snuck in the knapsack along with other trinkets that I carry through my day.
But there are those people who seem to set about bringing down others around them. People who 'smell' my vulnerability and pounce upon it with relish. I do all I can to avoid these people but life doesn't always cooperate and there are times when I have to buck up and do what needs to be done.
Now is one of those times.
Every conversation with this person leaves me feeling heavy and stupid and totally inadequate. I believe strongly that I have managed to keep the servitude out of my voice and respond with authority. But they know, I know they know, that they got to me.
Then I think about those in care, those whose vulnerablity isn't as well hidden as mine. I wonder about those who are drawn to this field. What are they in search of? What needs do the needs of others meet? I'm sure everyone knows some who are addicted to the subjugation of others - tearing apart someone else's esteem to use the parts to build their own.
My encounter was 20 minutes.
They are not so lucky.
So this is what I'm doing. I'm looking for all solutions for dealing with this situation with this person. I'm looking to see what I do that encourages such liberties,I'm looking to see what flaw exists in the character of the other. I want to be better prepared to protect my self, next time.
I want also to figure out how to teach people in care to deal with petty tyrants - the one's with acid on their breath. I've taight about physical abuse, and sexual abuse, but this is different. This kind of abuse is so subtle that it would look ridiculous put in writing on a complaint form. You can't document tones of voices and sighs of exasperation, and little knowing nods. All those non verbal way of calling someone stupid, all those insidious ways of predicting your failure, all those people who talk kindness but whos words cut. These are the people that are truly dangerous.
But what I can't yet do I can't yet teach.
One day though, one day.
Because I've got the chance to work with an expert.