I pride myself in being a peacemaker.
I'm big on compromise.
I'm a fan of negotiation.
I'm good at mediating other people's arguments.
I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion.
I strive to be nonjudgemental.
I believe that I can't know what the world feels and looks like to another person because I have never walked in anyone else's shoes.
I try to turn the other cheek.
In other words, I am a weenie.
Isn't it funny how our strengths can also be our weaknesses??
Today, someone pissed me off. Through an email, she made me feel that she questioned my professional abilities and that she thought she knew better about something that is really and truly "my business". In her email, she squashed a treatment team decision made by a treatment team that she is not a part of. And possibly, she vetoed a plan that might have been in the best interest of a child.
And I caved.
Because (my words this morning) "I don't want to make waves".
Because she has a PhD. Because she knows more. Because she has the ear of the important people.
Because she's scary.
Being a peacemaker, being good at compromise, teaching negotiation, mediating............... all of that is just one side of the coin. The other side is my fear of conflict.
I hate conflict. I will literally run from it. Well, not literally....... But I avoid it at all costs UNLESS it is with my children, then katie, bar the door..... I'm all for it.
With anyone beside my kids, I am a mouse.
How can I be a hero if I'm scared to stand up for anybody?
Screw 'hero'............. how can I even be a social worker if I'm a weenie?
Whoever heard of a weenie social worker???
And this character strength/flaw impacts other areas of my life, too.
There is someone very important to me who is angry at me because I haven't been what she needs me to be in her life. As with all stories, there are two sides:
My side is that I have done everything I can to meet her needs but her emotional 'hole' is unfillable. It will never be enough.
However, her side is that I have abandoned her.
She is a fighter. Not a fighter like a cancer fighter but a..... an..... arguer. She has a need for us to get together in person and HASH THIS OUT. We've already tried that and, to me, it felt like having knives thrown at me. I felt wounded and bleeding after the 'talk'.
It was CONFLICT.
I want to 'talk' through email and text - at least initially - until some of her rage is gone. She sees that as me "playing games".
So we are at a standstill. When I wished her "Happy Easter " through text, she responded with "Please don't text me if you won't even talk to me. I don't want to play these games".
I NEED to woman-up and be willing to be in the same room with her rage and abandonment.
She needs me. She may not realize that she does, but she does. She needs me to love her when she's unlovable. She needs me to stand next to her when she is in her unfillable hole. She needs me not to be afraid of conflict.
Because, some people ARE conflict. It's under their skin, in their blood...... it's how they deal with life. I don't think she made herself this way. And I think it might, unfortunately, be impossible for her to make herself any other way.
Ugh. I HATE conflict!
I'd love to blame it on being an only child. I don't know how to fight.
One of my mom's favorite stories was how, when I was twelve and playing outside with a neighbor girl, I ran into the house and cried "Barbara hit me!". My mom (who grew up with six siblings) sardonically said, "Well, go hit her back". A few minutes later, I ran back in and blubbered "But she won't stand still!"
When am I supposed to fight and when am I supposed to remain peaceful (cave)?
Let's see if I can answer my own question:
In my first situation where someone is squashing a treatment team decision based on the (assumed) perception that they know better than me .......
* I need to ask myself what is in the best interest of the child. Not what is in the best interest of my ego.
* My job is to ALWAYS go after what is in the best interest of the child. My job is to be an advocate, a champion, a hero. Not a professional scaredy-cat who doesn't want to 'make waves' with my coworkers.
In this particular case, I believe that the child will not be affected by the the plan being squashed.
I think it's about six of one, half a dozen of another. It won't make a difference.
In this particular case, it was primarily my ego that was hurt.
So........ my response will be to l.e.t. i.t. g.o.
I don't need to react in a way that will damage professional relationships.
But I ALWAYS need to make sure that I'm truly looking at what is in the best interest of the child and not justifying things just so I won't have to face a conflict. For that, I need the opinions of others in the know. I've gotten that today.
In my second situation with one of my people being angry at me.....
* I need to call her and set up a time to meet in person.
* I need to be willing to, once again, hear her complaints and hurts.
* I don't need to be a doormat and take all the blame.
* I don't need to point fingers at her.
* I need to remember that while she is pointing her finger at me, she has her other nine fingers pointing at herself. She's smart. I think she knows that she's being unreasonable. I don't need to add to her guilt and self-hate.
I need to embrace the conflict with faith that it will lead to a peaceful resolution. Sometimes we have to go through the fire to reach the stream.