Something catastrophic nearly happened the other day when I was in a treatment session. I nearly cried. In my psychology books, that is an absolute ‘no no’ especially when people are paying you to be the strong one. I often feel emotions that my clients are feeling at the same time they are experiencing it, via emotional transference. Which can be quite a common thing when your an empathic person. But this guy really got me…. like real bad.
There is something so tragic about an elderly man who doesn’t usually cry, being vulnerable enough in your presence, and only your presence, to let it all out. It was heart breaking. This man had been the pillar of strength in his family, the head of the household, and now he was lurched over in my treatment room heaving like a school girl.
When my eye started to fill with a watery substance (tears) watching him, massive anxiety started to rise. I started swearing at myself to snap out of it, I was shifting two and fro in my seat to try and shake it. I could feel his grief in the pit of my stomach like it was my own. But it wasn’t. This man was implanting emotions within me via some sort of crazy osmosis shit.
It really freaked me out as I have heard some horribly, traumatic stories in my time, I work in a prison for Petes sake. But this man got me. I really had to wonder why though? What was it about THIS guy that made me an internal, blubbering mess? I think it was because I know no-one would see him like this. I knew he wouldn’t cry like this with anyone. So I felt so sad that he could only afford to be like this in my treatment room. He could not cry at home, or in front of his wife or kids. He said he couldn’t cry anywhere. But here he was……
Often you hear psychologists say dicky things like they feel ‘privileged’ to be entrusted with people’s stories and vulnerabilities. I cant say I felt privileged, but I felt thankful that I would provide this man a safe space to cry his little heart out. But geez its an eye rain jerker at times….
The Tear Plug