Tag Archives: understanding

Countertransference vs Empathy vs Compassion

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Countertransference vs Empathy vs Compassion

I had the most interesting insight today. To be honest, I will probably be reconciling and revisiting it over the next little bit. As I sat listening to a client today, I made note of a realization I had to contemplate later. Lucky you, I am doing that now.

I’ve noticed over the years that I am able to connect with people because somehow I am able to find something in them, experientially or otherwise that I can empathize with. I used to joke that I was a good social worker because I could identify with every Lana Del Rey song. More sad than funny now, I suppose, but still true enough ha.

During grad school, I often allowed myself to feel badly about this, as it was labeled countertransference. And if I am honest with myself, sometimes it may have been negative countertransference, for sure. But we learn to check our biases, as much as we can, as continually attempting to be informed humans. And the dance between empathy and countertransference is certainly a tricky one to navigate.

But what got me today, was realizing how easily I could understand the reasons, internal and external, subconscious and conscious, that this client was making the decisions that they were making. And I realized that I understood them because I had made the exact same decisions once before, for the nearly identical reasons.

All the parts of my personality and situation were right in front of me…

All the parts I have hated, questioned, forgotten, burned, and buried…

All of them.

And I felt no hatred, no questioning, no judgment for the client. It all made perfect sense.

But it was a grace I have struggled to provide within. As if I didn’t deserve compassion at all, let alone from myself. I have always felt a certain level of shame about some decisions I made in my earlier adulthood; even shame regarding smaller decisions I have made, more recently than that.

I have rarely felt any animosity or disdain toward a client, as I feel like I can understand so much of the reasons people do the things they do. Regardless of whether it is experiential understanding or trauma informed book learning, I can still understand most situations that humans end up in. (Mind you, I said MOST not all).

Yet the amount of doubt, anger, loathing, disgust, and pity I have felt for the younger versions of myself?

Vast. Expansive. Shifting. Sinking. Consuming.

I have BEEN Artax.

And yet, looking at myself, tonight, as I would a client?

Never before seen footage of a grown ass woman heffalumping sobs of forgiveness and understanding. That was a long drive home. Good gracious.

Oof.

Who even the eff am I?

 

 

 

 

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Seasons of the witch

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Seasons of the witch

And I performed all the rituals;

To excise you from my being:

I said the words, I sang the songs,

I burned the poppets, offerings, and herbs.

The vernal equinox brought forlorn surrender

With all my naked tears, 

thrown at the ocean.

Midsummer brought quiet understanding

Still the skyclad blood dance was all for naught.

Acceptance turned to woken realization,

The exorcism had not uncleaved…     

My self imposed division.

The queen of cups,

Fooled again.

The knight of swords,
Had lied.

Time brought on the autumnal passing.

Themes of knowledge and woe,

Of things that cannot be unsaid, unknown.

Samhain a solemn reminder,

Of the work remaining to be done.

The full moon purge,

The blessings be,

The earth is coming full circle.

Magick done. 

Hate(less)

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Hate(less)

On my way home from work, I often spend a lot of time thinking. It is a fairly long drive as far as regular commutes go so if I get bored of the comedy channel on my radio, I become almost meditative. I suppose it is actually at times a bit disassociative, because I often don’t really remember much about the drive. Anyhow, I digressed.

I have actually been listening to a lot of the music I listened to when I was younger, I guess in some sort of way to find my center, return to myself (this is actually going to be the subject of a post soon…). I haven’t listen to a lot of that music in recent years just because it tends to bring out a lot of anger and remind me of things I have tried to forget. But, in another one of life’s mysteries, as you grow and mature, you start seeing things through different lenses. Not unlike a person grows to view their childhood differently once they are adults, I was actually hearing the music and the lyrics as an adult instead of an angsty adolescent. To give you framework, I have been listening to the Korn channel on my Pandora, which plays primarily Tool, Korn, Three Days Grace, Staind, etc. based upon my likes and dislikes…it’s a little selective for me due to some magical form of AI or algorithm.

Yesterday, I heard the song I am posting at the bottom, and it started me thinking on the subject of “hate”. I say “I hate ____” a lot, usually in regard to people as a whole, rather than individuals mind you, but I tried really hard to think of if there was anyone I actually could say that I hated. And you know how many people I came up with?

ZERO.

Yep.  A big, fat, NADA. And this honestly surprised me. 

If I was to give you a quick little overview of my life, I think most people could find a few people in there that I could or should hate. But I came up with not one.

In fact, I couldn’t think of anything I actually hate.

Not even actions. And let me tell you, I am sure you already know but, humans are capable of terrible things. There are some things that I strongly dislike. There are things that I disagree with. There are things that I do not understand, in application, but understand as things that people do. But nothing that I hate.

I tried very hard to think about people that I could or should hate. And you know what? I couldn’t think of any. People that have wronged me, wronged my children, wronged other people’s children, etc. My current job puts me in a position to see some of the darkest things that people can and do in fact, do to each other and children. But, today, I found that the strongest feeling I could muster was pity. That is the closest I can come to hate.

As I realized this, I swear to sweet ancient baby alien space monkey Jebus, I FELT LIGHTER. There was a physical perceivable CHANGE in my body. Like I have spent so many years, anticipating and experiencing the exhausting WORK of hating people and things that it was a physical weight upon me.

It was a relief, really.

So what did I actually want to share today? Just my knowledge, I guess. Knowledge that all that emotion and hate and anger and negativity was not doing anything but weighing me down. I had to flip it. Acknowledge that my negative feelings did not affect those I direct them at in a positive way. I only made myself heavier, dimmer.

Lens Filter

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Lens Filter

 

 

 

 

By an odd coincidence, this week your tattoo is getting covered up;

Under the ocean it will be.

Reflectively, my time with you was the happiest

I’d been until now, a true peace I have found, it

Eluded you I guess.

Dreamed you hadn’t died, that you were in a caved in hole but watched you climb out on the news…

That reverie, I like to think it was you coming out of your darkest place, crawling toward the light.

Honestly, I learned so much from you, practical and emotional you taught me many things.

Echoes of his six word story come to me late at night

“Bullies are just very sad people…”

Understanding of you came later,

Life and love are funny that way.

Looking back, my own ignorance was bliss…

Even the most negative memories somehow benefit from it;

The lens filter of time.

 

*I doubt they will play this for you, but I know you always wanted it at your service so I will post it for you here.

Love and Light.