When I was in rehab, I detested group therapy. Partly because I have never been good at listening to other people talk about pain when it is so ‘obvious’ what that person could or should have done – and then those that simply like the attention so the waterworks come on instantly… and also because somewhere in my own self destructive march towards hell, I forgot how to be kind.
There are two people that I remember vividly – and for different reasons. One was a real victim, and the other was a douche bag that was only there because he would lose his inheritance if he didn’t do the six weeks. The real victim was an older woman who had attempted suicide by drinking a bottle of jays fluid, and I think she swallowed a whole lot of pills. Her son found her… and when he told his father, he finished his golf game, and then came home, only to drop dog leashes next to her limp body and tell her to finish what she started.
The moron who was there to keep his inheritance rubbed me up the wrong way from the moment he opened his mouth. I grew up in a wealthy family with family that buy the best – but this kid… he brought new meaning to ‘spoiled brat’. Every item of clothing that he wore cost more than my monthly rent. He was crass and made no effort to hid his distaste at having to be there – except when in group therapy. Then it was all… humble, and repentant.
We had several head on collisions and he became someone I loathed to the point where being anywhere near him caused a weird reaction in me. I had to fight hard not to just mash him with the nearest chair, plate, bench, ash tray… anything that was near by. He literally looked down at me, and would look at me like I was filth. It became a problem and the potential blow out was taken seriously by staff.
So a paint balling trip was planned, and me and Captain Testicle were put on the same team. The aim was that we learned to work as a team and communicate. I was the only girl on a 6 guy team. The other four girls in that round were paired with three other guys.
When I saw the crazy dude who ran the paintball club I knew we were in for a brilliant time. He looked like he has just stepped out of a hot battle field war zone, and he had the whole sergeant thing going. He was in army gear, and his instructions were fast, clear and he handed us each our guns with a very brief explanation of where the safety was, and that we weren’t allowed to shoot each other in the face is possible.
No problem. I am a good shot. I don’t need to shoot anyone in the face.
So … we are all crouched behind a log and douche bag is getting all psyched up to run in his pansy pants across to a near by tree. He looks at me and says: Cover Me!!!!
So I did. In paint. Two to the buttocks, four to the back, one to the calf and one to the inner thigh. He dramatically launched himself into fetal position in the long grass and started screaming.
I called him a girl.
He called me a bad team player, just with a whole lot of expletives. I was pulled off the team, as it was obvious when you joined the dots on the back of my target that I wasn’t aiming anywhere else. But I was happy. Very, very happy.
Until group therapy where he pulled out the victim card and said I was bullying him. But he did it in a way that shut the real victim (the woman who had tried suicide) down from being able to share and you could see she wanted to. For anyone who has been to rehab you know that there are rules in group therapy. No interrupting. No aggression. No swearing. No blasphemy… and no walking out. that left me pretty much screwed unless I was able to articulate in sign language with a demonic smile on my face how I felt.
That memory has always stuck with me… because before I even made it to that rehab, I was acutely aware of how so few people actually see anything other themselves. Now, having said that – I am aware that I am selfish – and that I am opinionated – but I am by no means oblivious to whats going on around me. I am just very selective about what I entertain and what I don’t. I struggle with empathy – but that’s because I struggle with people and how… superficial it all is… nearly all of the time.
I’m not suggesting we all go hug trees together and bond over the tragedies of our lives, but what does make sense to me is that we at least take a minute to think about what ‘affect’ we have on those who are standing next to us. Even if we are aware we are being a dick – at least we are aware. But to be ignorant because your attention has a price tag and your worth is valued in what you can give someone else… then that is just messed up.
I am not soft. I am not a particularly warm and fuzzy romantic comedy kind of girl. I am more likely to rewind the part of a movie where someone gets their throat ripped out and watch with gleeful curiosity because it looked so real. BUT, I know when someone’s in pain, and I am aware of what my words do. Sometimes I choose to state the obvious and its not what someone with a softer heart would do – but I still see pain for what it is. I recognise it and I make a choice to take the emotion on or not.
I may be more interested in injustice than mercy… according to my INTP personality profile thing that I did – which makes sense to me. If I rescue a person being bullied, it is not because I pity the person being bullied. If anything I see that as weakness and it bugs me. My real motives are to annihilate the bully – simply because bullying is wrong.
The douche bag now covered in welts was a bully. But in a space where you are there because you fucked up just like everyone else, there is not much room for a pecking order, and the harder he tried, the worse things got for him. Sadly though, I think the part of his brain that deal with learning was broken – because he was still a retard when I left, and I am told that he went straight back to being a dick when he left.
The woman who needed to be heard, she was a rape counselor, and it bothered me deeply that someone who did so much good could get to a place in her life where she would do something so drastic. And that at her lowest point – the man she was supposed to be able to trust showed such cold cruelty. When I saw him come in at a later stage for a visit… I remember looking at the fire stokers standing in the stand beside the fireplace, and thinking that I could just wait for him in the parking lot. But then I saw her son, and the forgiveness in his face… so I just made myself a cup of coffee and went to bed.
People are complicated and we are all where we are at any given time because of genetics or external influences. But either way – it really doesn’t make any sense to me that some people are genuinely that oblivious. That clueless, and that careless with people that can not break anymore than they have.