New Beginnings
User Topic: Just another day at the office...
Member # 20150
Default  Posted: 10:11 PM, April 17th (Wednesday)

I work in a testing centre at a community college.

The OW that broke the back of my marriage was what you would call Native American. Here they identify as First Nations or Aboriginal.

Today we had a woman come in to take an English test to get into a program called Indigenous Studies.

She was a little younger than me (I'll be 60 this year).

She came to the counter after the first section of the test, in tears, saying "I froze".

Obviously traumatized.

I'm a history major and have studied what happened to her ancestors, and it was not pretty. The residential schools were still operational into the early 90s, so it's quite possible she was a victim of some kind of awful abuse in a school setting

I just got a sense that she was triggering badly.

So I calmed her down a bit and told her she needed to remind herself to be proud of taking the first step to go back to school as a mature student. That is a huge accomplishment.

Then we walked over to the Aboriginal Education office where they have soft lighting, tea, snacks and welcoming people who help usher these folks through the system.

When we were outdoors she seemed calm enough. As soon as we walked into the building again she seized up and started breaking down again.

We just took a moment to stop and breathe.

She was SO traumatized, it was really moving.

I felt really good that I could help her get to that place where she could face her fears and take the next step, not letting it be a barrier to her forward progress.

In spite of the fact that the woman who helped destroy my life five years ago was of her people, I was able to work around it because SHE WAS HURTING MORE.

What a revelation!

I asked her to come and check back with us to keep us informed of her progress. I know she can do this, and I look forward to seeing her again.

Onward people, onward. There is always someone who is in more pain than we will ever know....

[This message edited by FaithFool at 10:20 PM, April 17th (Wednesday)]

DDay: June 15, 2008
Mistakenly married Mr. Superfreak
20 years of OWs, WTF?
Divorced Dec 26, 2011
"Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget
to sing in the lifeboats". -- Voltaire

Posts: 17488 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Canada
Member # 30341
Default  Posted: 10:18 PM, April 17th (Wednesday)

how caring, compassionate and understanding you were.

DDay 11/17/2010 BW:52

Posts: 3207 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Iowa
Member # 20150
Default  Posted: 10:23 PM, April 17th (Wednesday)

I know triggering when I see it, and it's as if I was in her shoes.

I just kept connecting the dots: because OW did this to me, I have this sensitivity to what this other person was going through.

It was synchronicity, so bizarre, and yet so useful!

I just wanted to give her a big hug, but physical touch is often culturally inappropriate, which sucks....

[This message edited by FaithFool at 10:26 PM, April 17th (Wednesday)]

DDay: June 15, 2008
Mistakenly married Mr. Superfreak
20 years of OWs, WTF?
Divorced Dec 26, 2011
"Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget
to sing in the lifeboats". -- Voltaire

Posts: 17488 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Canada
Member # 35229
Default  Posted: 6:38 AM, April 18th (Thursday)

I don't really have this because there were so many OWs that there's not really a trigger 'type'.

This whole mess has made me a whole lot more prone to reaching out when someone is hurting. I've given more hugs to strangers in the last year than the 10 years prior.

I was so stuck in my own hot mess for these last 5 years that I didn't really have much left to devote to random acts of kindness.

It has been lovely to rediscover that part of myself. I'm not shut off anymore, I'm not numb. I'm no longer a bystander. I'm now a participant.

Love this post FaithFool. Thank you.

I may have reached a point where I'd piss on him if he was on fire.... eventually!!

Posts: 5608 | Registered: Apr 2012 | From: Australia
Member # 10798
Default  Posted: 7:56 AM, April 18th (Thursday)

What a great example of truly putting someone else's feelings and needs above your own!

I teach at a community college and know there are a wide variety of students who come to us from diverse backgrounds. Many are there because they are trying to make a new start, often because of something traumatic that has happened in the past. Some of our students have never been on a college campus before; they may be the first in their family to have even finished high school. Their first contact at our school and their perception of it can make or break their dream of higher education.

You did a really, really good thing. Not just for her--but for me, by showing that one can never know the impact we might have on the life of another, good and bad. Thanks for helping to remind me to do the good stuff.

Act as if what you do matters. It does. William James

Posts: 2125 | Registered: May 2006 | From: Midwest
Member # 26894
Default  Posted: 11:08 AM, April 18th (Thursday)

i so get this. the main OW in my case is of such specific know i struggle with it, and sometimes win in moments like yours. i've yet to face one as big as yours...nor have i faced OW, though is suspect it could happen one day.

enjoy the feelings and the freedom, and be proud of yourself for doing a job that matters to people and doing it well


life must be rich and full of loving--it's no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone - j. kerouac

Posts: 3929 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: east coast
Member # 37946
Default  Posted: 11:16 AM, April 18th (Thursday)

Good for you, Faithfool. I, too, think that because of what happened, I can help others who have also been through emotional traumas. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and we need to take what we've learned and share with others who are hurting.

Me (BS)- 36
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming- Dorie

Posts: 293 | Registered: Dec 2012 | From: Southeastern U.S.
Topic Posts: 7