Sometimes you come cross something that brushes up against a tender spot somewhere in you. It might be someone talking about being violently rejected by his lover and asking you for help.
He says he is depressed and suicidal. You tell him that what he needs to do to start feeling better – exercise, get out with people, appreciate that you will hurt, stay busy, love your work and try try try not to get in touch with your abusive ex-lover.
You would know, after all you are going through your own recovery.
Still you know the words are flat, you hurt and he hurts and all both of you want to do is scream and rail against someone or something. But you don’t, you implode.
Your feelings are too intense to express. They would make a melodrama look mild. But you need to do something with them. Energy needs to be dispersed.
May be a good time to take up boxing? Or karate? What a cliche.
Why is it never that easy?
You wonder whether its better to leave well enough alone. Let him go solve his own problem. You got plenty of your won to deal with. Whether you should be in this field in the first place considering your personal history.
You decided to work with violence victims and survivors because you were a survivor. As a child you witnessed spousal abuse so horrific you came home one day to find your mother lying in a pool of blood and your father calmly mopping up her blood. It was so bad you called the police once. You got beaten up that night and the phone was disconnected the next day.
It felt grown up and powerful to be able to say you would never let it happen to anyone else. But it did happen, everyday. And after a while you found yourself running to hide like you did once upon a time and you realised you were still a victim.
Till one day you make the association.
So you help him anyway because you know what its like – to lack and not have, to want and not receive, to search and not find, to be down with no one offering you a hand up, to be scared and not have anyone to turn to, to be misunderstood and alone.
And you feel a deep gratitude for the opportunity to grow a little bit more.