Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I feel even more settled into the group now. Week three, and the temperament has allowed humour to creep in and for people, including myself, to feel happy about speaking up; either in response to questions or to mention that we had a problem, didn't understand, or weren't listening and has missed what had been said. Regarding the drifting off into distraction, I was more aware of it this week: I have a visual mind that seems to activate at the merest hint of something in class that sparks a memory. This takes me off topic spectacularly fast so that I am usually three further thoughts down the line before I rein myself back in. It was good therefore, to be able to discuss this with the group in the feedback session and empowered me, at least once, to let everyone know that I had become distracted and missed some vital information. Regardless of this acceptance by everyone I am mindful that I must at least play a part in maintaining some semblance of selfcontrol and willpower so as to avoid these distractions and ultimately not annoy everyone.

Upon arrival this week I had a choice of where to sit. The people with whom I had sat last week had located themselves again at the rear of the classroom - the benefit of arriving early. They wouldn't have to sit with their heads turned for the entire lesson, they said. I could either sit with them, and be close to my agreed 'buddy', be with a group who I had socialised with previously, save my own neck from being turned to one side, and be next to someone who I have noticed will withdraw from the group and people at certain times - most noticeably when given an entire room she will protect herself in the corner, regardless of whether she has people to sit with. The other option was to sit somewhere I hadn't previously sat and force people to change positions, possibly siting them with others they hadn't yet associated. The downside would be that I could annoy everyone for forcing them to move from places where they felt comfortable. I chose the former, but must remain aware that we either could become clicky, or seen to be - something I was worried of others being in the first week.

In the task on boundaries I was mostly in line with what is considered to be the right setting of boundaries. There were a few hic-cups in my own beliefs - namely those relating to boss/employee boundaries. Having worked for very extreme personalities in my present and last job I have found myself almost lacking in what could be termed as professional integrity. In my present role as IT support for libraries, I have no boundaries and no goals. My boss is so relaxed as to almost be asleep and I have a sense that my IT knowledge so outweighs his that he doesn't feel he can tell me how to do things. This is compounded by the fact that: a) he has never had to manage anyone in this role before me and often doesn't tell me whats going on, or what the problems are; b) all our projects are being put back until next year because of external influences.

In my previous job at a local school, under the same employer to whom I currently work, I was subjected to injustice, bullying and emotional browbeating, so much so that after six months of taking my problems home and making my home-life similarly miserable, like fifty other members of staff, I had only one choice and that was to move on.

The lack of goals in my present job initially worked as a healing period, but that was over two years ago. Now it has become the norm and I am reluctant to find another job in which I would have to employ some intellect. It hasn't helped that an issue with my brother's role at the school meant that his previous year was spent with him suspended and eventually sacked because of vexatious students, a corrupt headteacher and a conspiracy by councillors and department heads to remove him from the school, based upon a poorly managed investigation that as yet remains incomplete. This led to ill-health for my father and the need for me to represent my brother in letters and at hearings, which has strained my current position as employee.

The next task, relating to groups of three in which one person discusses something they feel really interested in, another listens, and a third observes, required me, rather covertly, to play the role of listener and not actually pay one iota of interest. Other people, after the task, talked about how rude they had felt, either having previously done the exercise and knowing about how upsetting it can become for the person doing the talking, or that they had caught a little of what had been said and wanted to listen, or simply that they felt extremely rude. I took to the task without any concern or worry over what I was doing, putting my all into my secret mission without any consideration towards the speaker. Using the same attitude that I have when I'm being bloody-minded was, in the end, enough to elicit the speaker's upset, and certainly by this time I was aware of how I was affecting them, but I carried on regardless.

I do feel empathic towards other people's feelings, but I have a switch inside of my mind which allows me to override that. Most noticeably this comes into play in an argument, usually about nothing, at home. Very quickly it spirals out of the argument itself and into bloody-mindedness, which becomes a barrier against me apologising or coming out of my sulk. It seems to have been in my nature since a child, but never as bad as it can be now. Since the last six months of my previous job, in early 2003, this has become something that controls me and not the other way around. Often I beomce angrier at myself than over the reason for the argument or my disinterest in the first place.

The task on paraphrasing was therefore a task in which I was aware of my responses. Having discussed the attributes of a counsellor and studied the board and the attributes that I can so quickly slip away from I found the task moderately difficult to get down. Though I know this will come with the time, I did find difficulty in getting down the facts without emotionalising it. The fact then that a few people suggested that my statement: 'Your anxiety over the illness has prevented you from accepting it.' was perhaps a little blunt, gave me some pause during the discussion. I have in the past said things to offend simply because of my intonation or choice of words.

I have recently begun reading into the nature/nurture debate and touched upon an article in the Daily Mail regarding how couples grow apart because our 'personalities undergo subtle shifts throughout our adult lives.' and aren't static as soon as one reaches adulthood. It started me thinking upon how blunt I can be now, and whether or not, over time, I will become more or less blunt. I believe it is true to nurture oneself to do anything, think in any specific way or act as thus, but would I be able to override this programming and force a positive change or would these subtle changes override me?

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