Rules of engagement
By the patty beat on December 28, 2010
What makes a person care about another person? To become engaged with them? What a loaded verb the word engage is? To enter into conflct or battle; to offer; to bind; to deal with especially at length; to pledge oneself; to give attention to something; to come together and interlock; to attract or hold by influence or power; to begin and carry on an enterprise or activity. There are a lot of emotions in that verb; negative and positive. There is a large amount of energy in that word. ENGAGE.
Why do I talk about the word engage? Because their is a lack of it...in my opinion. I'll admit I have ran away from the word myself. Giving of oneself isexpelling a ton of energy. The world takes enough of me on a daily basis. I don't wanna give any more than what I am already giving. I have gone through that soooooo many times in my life. But, here I am in the heathcare profession. I AM A CAREGIVER I get paid to care.
I was raised by parents who were the youngest in their families. They were not born caregivers. All their big brothers and sisters watched out for them. They were the happy-go-lucky ones. So because I was pegged as the natural born caregiver and saw that as an entrapment (also a definition of engage) and I ran.
When I went out into the world I wasn't going to be told what to do. I also discovered that despite that natural caring gene, I was pretty naive about the world in general. The only way to find out about it was to understand what others were going through...to empathize with them. I learned by helping others through their troubles.
But now we live in a society that doesn't care about who they make fun of; that gives enough to get by; who can't help you out because they are stuck in their own incompetence; who can't give because it is too hard; and won't try because they are scared.This happens in real life on the internet and in families.
But it also in the healthcare profession. Right now we have so many medical specialists who sit in their ivory towers of knowledge. A person comes in wanting guidance through their expertise. That person's diagnosis is a square peg that doesn't fit into the round hole. "I can't help you" here's the bill go somewhere else. People go around floundering looking for answers getting angrier and angrier with the healthcare system and the medical profession.
Today I just flat out lost it when it came to the rules of engagement. I work with a psychologist, who got her PhD from Harvard yes Harvard. She is as dumb as a doornail when it comes to talking to another person and really understanding them. She came to me to "fix this patient" because he put up a wall and she couldn't get through to them. Okay who got the degree in psychology here? I only minored in it oh those 30 years ago. But I am a nurse and I have to fix everything for "Lil Cookie" because she wasn't taught that at Harvard. I engaged with the patient - I gave my attention to that person at length and didn't just check off my box and finished my job for 30 minutes. I didn't just go in and say "Hi I'm the psychologist spill your guts because it is my turn to talk to you".
The other part of being engaged with another human being is the emotional toll it can cast on you. That has happened in my family. My mother is the queen of co-dependence..."Help me ...No don't help me...I can't do it help me..." She played that card so many times...no one believed her when she really needed help this past year. My brother, who lives in the same town as my parents called me on the phone and flat out said that he believed our mother was making up her symptoms and really wasn't sick. When you give of yourself, you take the chance that it can be broken off and ripped apart and you feel like a fool. My mother has done that to all of us. It's hard to get that back. It's happened to me too. It's part of the battle scars of caring.
It's no wonder we all crawl into our corners and not care. My own kids have rejected me in their young adult-ness. They don't want to hear what I have to say as their mother. So I have somewhat disengaged from them. But I still get the "don't you care about me mom?" "I need you to help me" Motherhood engagement is THE ABSOLUTE WORST. My heartstrings are constantly at odds with common sense.
I am sorry. You cannot go through this life and not care about someone or something. If you are that afraid of getting hurt then you will be alone. AND you cannot go through life hoping that someone else will take care of your challenges for you. To be STRONG we must first be weak.