The sadness of helping

I had a conversation with one of the residents at work, the topic isn’t important, but she was ANGRY! She has been angry almost every time I have spoken to her.  Through unfair circumstance and personal consequence, the world is a troubling place, and she seems to be funneling emotions away from personal responsibility and into anger at others.

My job is to support these women as they transition into stable living situations. That support encompasses a variety of actions, some things I do for these women individually, some I do to keep the program as a whole running smoothly and benefit the organization. I’m still fairly new, under a month at this job, getting to know people, still getting acquainted with things a little. There are some things, however, that no matter of training or practice will make easier. I cannot help someone who will not stop venting long enough to listen to what I can offer. The sad irony is the the venting is about how no one offers help. The even sadder truth is that any consequences of any action or inaction prompted from the belief that no one can help, has real life consequences, which will fuel the whole cycle.

It’s not the first time I have run into this obstacle with people, I know many people in the helping field become jaded, and develop a professional cynicism. I won’t pretend I have never felt cynical. It never gets easier for me, however, I have never been able to stop caring about each individual’s outcome. I make a conscientious effort to avoid naivete, which would be more damaging than cynicism, and am working on the balance of compassion and efficiency.

In the end though, it will never be easy to have no way to just make the helping work. I guess as I strive to affirm each individuals dignity, independence and autonomy, I must also accept their right to view the world however it suits them.

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