Working with perpetrators of domestic violence is certainly not my dream job. Nor was it a bad job. My greatest complaints had always been administration, not clientele. though there were many complaints with them as well.
My late group, gave me feedback tonight that really got me thinking. Appreciating my growth over the past 6 years. Ways in which I am incredibly grateful for. One guy said he appreciated my directness. No non-sense approach. Willing to challenge and get to the heart if the matter without beating around the bush. I loved that feedback. I apparently don't take any crap. It was freeing to hear.
I have struggled for most if my life with being passive aggressive. Just not being direct. Holding things in and grudges. Not saying what I am thinking/feeling. When I tried, historically I was shut down or told I was over reacting. And you know what, holding all of that in is tiring. Draining. Like you are carrying around a giant pack of thoughts and words that you are unable to release.
This job has challenged me to do that. To find my voice and be confidant in it. I was forced to hold my ground. To still be caring and see their humanity, but also the bigger picture. Conflict is hard for me. I am prone towards avoidance. I could not do that here.
It has taken practice. And it is still a growth area for me. Especially as I find the balance between respecting my true self and others ideas and feelings.
It has also taught me about setting boundaries. Saying no. Which is also not natural for me. I hate disappointing people. I like to be the nice guy. But I have to care for myself before I can help others properly.
And I think without this chapter in my life I would not be heading in the direction i am. I would not be living where I am or have many of the local friends I have. And who knows what else would be different.
And so I am thankful for the opportunity to work with a difficult population. (One I wish didn't exist, but alas they do. DV sucks). For what they have given me. And hopefully tools I have been able to give them to help create a more peaceful existence.
Of course there were downsides. But I do not choose to focus my energies there tonight.
I choose gratitude. And grateful I am. It's a strange journey sometimes.