I’ve been up all night, seething and unable to sleep. The anger started during a phone chat yesterday, and has been steadily growing in intensity in the many hours since. What has me so fired up and sleepless, I hear you ask? Ok, so you didn’t ask, but I’ll pretend that you did.
The short answer is a person who passes herself off as a counsellor at a shelter for abused women. The long answer is a useless, senseless, incompetent, ill-informed, uneducated, sanctimonious, condescending, know it all, impatient, cold-hearted bitch with serious control issues … who passes herself off as a counsellor at a shelter for abused women.
Fortunately the one using the services of the shelter is coming through her personal nightmare surprisingly well and is only still having sessions with this woman because it’s a bureaucratic requirement. She is sorted enough now that she can recognize a truckload of BS when she hears it, and isn’t taking any of the rubbish that spews out of this woman’s mouth too much to heart anymore. But many who are stuck with this so-called counsellor aren’t as sorted, or as strong, and that’s what has had me tied up in knots since the chat yesterday. The really, really, really beaten down have enough going against them before they get into the clutches of this woman, and she certainly isn’t going to help their state of mind in the least. Compassion? Empathy? Common sense? Ha!
The more I think about it, the more furious I become. This woman is supposed to have walked in the shoes of the abused herself, but she seems to have seriously forgotten how it felt. I’ve walked in those shoes and it’s not something I’m ever likely to forget. She is also a mother and surely to God just holding the title should give her a slight degree of understanding about the needs of children and the agony of a parent who sees harm being done to her child. I’m a mother and I “get it”.
It IS a mother’s business when a child is being hurt. It is NOT up to a three-year-old to negotiate a relationship with her father. Smashing a then two-year-old in the face for forgetting her table manners briefly and putting her hands in her cereal is abuse, NOT “a different parenting style that you have to accept.” Not caring for a child properly when he has her for weekend visits, resulting in medical treatment needed to correct the effect of his “alternative parenting style” is NOT acceptable. A mother DOES have the right to protect her child from harm, regardless of who is inflicting the harm. A three-year-old does NOT have to take responsibility for what others do to her and does NOT have to fight her own battles against an adult. Mom CAN intervene to protect her child and she SHOULD get in Dad’s face if he’s genuinely doing things that harm, or could potentially harm, the child. And by the way, idiot “counsellor”, making an issue about the lack of a proper child restraint in a vehicle is not being petty and vindictive. It’s the law and laws are in place for a reason. The same applies to a child of that age being on and around dangerous farm equipment, especially when co-workers don’t know that she’s there because she isn’t supposed to be there.
A woman IS normal if she feels angry, hurt and like a worthless pile of crap after twenty-five years of abuse. Yes, she does need to get over it and move on, but a few months is NOT an ureasonable amount of time to feel confused and overwhelmed. A woman who had never been allowed to have a life does NOT know how to suddenly get one without guidance. She’s NOT stupid or lazy, she simply does not have the tools with which to get started. When she does start to make progress and has taken great strides for herself, by herself, she needs encouragement to keep going, NOT criticism and being knocked down because she has done what feels right for her, rather than following your orders to the letter.
I could go on for hours, but I’m sure that you have the idea by now. I don’t know what this woman’s credentials are because she refused to specify when asked. She mumbled something about “courses”, but that was as specific as it got. Yeah? Well, I’ve taken “courses”, too … in lots of different things. None specifically aimed at this area of expertise, but life experience and common sense, combined with the psychology and such that were part of my nursing education probably make for far better qualifications.
But I could get some formal counselling qualifications easily enough and perhaps that’s what this ever increasing sense of outrage is all about. I’ve been looking for something to stir my passions and show me a direction for the next phase of my life … and the passions are stirred aplenty. They’ve been stirring for quite awhile, actually, but now they’re roiling.
A number of people, highly qualified professionals included, have thrown the same question at me over the years. “Have you ever considered properly getting into the counselling field? You have a natural gift for it, and it will be a terrible waste if you don’t use it. You have the power to change so many lives for the better and I believe that it’s your destiny to do so.” Call it lack of confidence or whatever, but I always dismissed such statements as totally preposterous. I mean, sure, I care about people, especially those in some kind of obvious need. And yes, I’m a good listener and can usually think of the right things to say. But a professional counsellor? No way!
However, perhaps the idea isn’t so “out there” after all. Maybe it was just a matter of waiting for the right time … and the right impetus. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t been doing it most of my life, anyway, both on a formal and informal basis. I’ve just never applied the title of “counsellor” to it. Youth leader, advocate, tutor, mentor, Big Sister (as in the organization), big sister (as in sibling), mother, nurse – what are all of these if not counselling experience?
So, besides all of the seething, I’ve been doing some serious thinking in the overnight hours. I don’t yet know exactly where I’m being led, but it’s the start of something, for sure. I’ve learned to recognize when Destiny is tapping on my door. When the tapping turns to hammering, I’ll know that I’ve found the right track.