Summer 2019: Tailspin
My best intentions included writing two blogs this summer for July and August. However, the months of June and July were quite a roller coaster for me. Thus, it is my goal with this blog entry to share as much of that ride as ethics and circumstances allow.
Quite frankly, I’m not sure where to begin.
I just re-read last month’s blog which ended with, “I’m tired of being a human punching bag. Which is another way of saying the Universe is guiding me to make some changes.” I will try to give you some of the background; but words really do fail me. Let me start by saying: my world was shattered on a Friday afternoon mid-June when I received an ethics complaint against me. Yes, I was as much in shock as you, my dear reader, may well be. I didn’t even have time to recover from this blow to my system, when on the following Monday, I received a response in my divorce proceedings that attacked the very fibre of my being.
As you can well imagine, I went into a tailspin. My functioning was limited to what I absolutely had to focus on—such as my clients. There wasn’t much else. The divorce situation was addressed first—and I broke the cardinal rule I teach all my clients: Don’t Get Sucked In!—by defending myself for all I was worth. Fortunately, I made a corrective measure before final documents were sent. Whatever I said in my own defense would have fallen on deaf ears and had nothing whatsoever to do with negotiating a settlement. When I got my legal bill, I had a twinge of regret, of course, for the extra work I made for my lawyer.
Once the divorce proceedings were dealt with (not finalized yet, but getting closer), I had to return my attention to the ethics complaint. The week of leaving it alone was definitely the right move as I was in a better frame of mind to address the points presented. That, too, took many rough drafts before the final response was submitted. In an interesting turn of events, that complaint has since become a badge of honour because it now represents something I was doing “right”—advocating for maintaining family bonds—rather than doing something wrong.
These two attacks upon my personhood also served another purpose: they prompted me to do another personal and professional assessment. Later in the evening after receiving the ethical complaint, I declared that I was done. Done with counselling, with advocating for others, with going above and beyond. In those overboard, defensive declarations there remained a kernel of truth in that it forced me to take a closer look at what I want out of life and out of my profession.
I am done with over-extending myself. As well, I don’t have the wherewithal or fortitude for advocacy work. My sensitive nature is not covered in a resilient turtle shell. As passionately as I believe in attachments and connections, I am not the person for those particular therapy “trenches.” I am, however, well suited for trauma and abuse recovery which remain my principle passions.
So it got me thinking, how do I live my life to its fullest potential and be more personally fulfilling? And it occurred to me that I will get more out of my life if I focus on trauma therapy rather than try to be all things to all people. I cannot save the world. I can’t even make it a better place to live. But I can ease some of the suffering that surrounds me.
Add to all this turmoil — the disruption of my personal solitude as my housing situation is changing. Gone are the peaceful views of forest and occasional grazing deer. The dogs can no longer run and play as they please. It has been replaced by the ongoing development of more cabins. There goes the neighbourhood.
So, I’ve been searching for a new place to live, and dare I say, retreat. The gears are grinding away to combine the ideas of trauma recovery and retreat. Maybe Barb’s Bunker: a Place to Retreat for Recovery of Hope and Healing. There will be continued grinding of gears on that one for awhile. A location is in the works, but can’t be revealed at this time. And it will be a solid year before there will be anything resembling Barb’s Bunker. But it feels good to dream again and plan for the future. And all because my world was turned upside down and shaken like a snow globe. Hopefully soon it will feel like it has been set right again.