To bicker, to moan, to even yell at anyone if not everyone helping him was...only expected.
Deep breaths were taken by not only the therapists that entered the room, but also each nurse that was already weary from the verbal beatings.
Where and how does the “care” come through when you are already weary from the high, harsh tone... of someone who is merely hurting.
Was it because he was living a hurt life? Was it because he only knew to yell instead of speak calmly from his childhood? Was it because this being bitter was somehow the “easy” way to treat all of us?
We will never know. What we did come to know was the unmistakable impact of bitterness on a helping staff. Strong, positive attitudes became broken and unconsciously wired to repeat a passive-aggressive pattern.
Unwilling to fold to the cycle, I sat with him and asked for feedback. Based on my best attempt at full listening, it appeared this man based his life on quick-to-form and hard-to-release assumptions and tempered communication.
The best I could do was to raise gentle awareness to how it felt to be on the receiving end of yelling and to wish this man only the best...because I am convinced that we only hurt others when we are hurting ourselves (and are perhaps unable to transition to a life of love). Upon this conversation, he slid into a receptive attitude...until the patient reignited the cycle with the next helping professional who entered the room.
Just for today: Where there is hurt at work or in a patient I encounter today, what can I do to bring love no matter what...with no expectations?
Monika Lukasiewicz, OTR/L
PS In an effort to bring hope and options, please consider reading "Non Violent Communication" by Marshall Rosenberg and Arun Gandhi. Though I have not yet read this book (to be honest), it has deeply transformed a dear friends marriage and work relationships with its simple techniques. Just an idea;)