In a previous post I touched on the subject of askholes, you may know what I mean, these are people who come looking for advice and then do what they want to anyway. Well I am not often wrong but I will fess up when I am, so if the following sounds like a didactic diatribe then it will probably indicate that I may not be feeling the most charitable as I write. I mean no offence although I don’t apologise if I do offend. If you know me and wonder if you are one of the people whom I am talking about then the very fact that you need to wonder should tell you that you are not the subject of this blog.
I reflected on a 30 plus year of helping people today as I applied for a job, recalled some of the successes and some of the not so successful outcomes. First let me tell you how I measure success. For me it is when people take responsibility for their actions, then piece by piece take control of their lives. It is pretty simple, I don’t expect them not to mess up, I mess up still (not that I am saying that I am successful). In my career I have encountered many people whom have messed up, some pretty badly to be honest. Some of my clients have been there because they want to, some because they have to. As a young man I thought like many young men, thought I had the answers, “well why don’t we just pray about that” “if you only could forgive that person, yourself who ever” how about this one? ‘ I will pray that God gives you the strength to stand up under this burden”. All well-meant advice that may even had some relevance as part of the answer to whatever the issue was that the person was trying to deal with.
One of the disadvantages of being seen as non-judgmental, a safe pair of ears is that people can and do seek you out for either advice or sometimes just to lay down their burdens, people sharing their burden are not askholes by definition. I am often available to hear someone’s story but to be frank nowadays if people ask me what I think I will tell them, always prefaced with “do you really want to hear what I think” You see my nice filter has been eroded over the years, I guess it is like how innocence is taken from children as they become cognisant of the world around them, of the evil that people are capable and of the absolute bullshit that some people in society say about life. My nice filter has been replaced by a bullshit filter.
Back to askholes, these are the people who constantly ask for either your advice week after week, telling the same old story or alternatively they go from person to person till their ears are tickled by someone who agrees with them. You see I have found out that askholes just don’t change, you can listen to them time after time saying the same old things day in and day out but they just perpetuate and model the same behaviour whether they are merely listened to or actively engaged with, even in a therapeutic relationship. Now for some people life doesn’t seem to change, in fact i feel a bit like that at the moment. I often wonder just what it is I am doing wrong at times, it is usually related to relationships or work.
Now you may ask what brought on this explosion Well tonight against my better judgement I went to the local bar. Not a place I want to frequent really for a number of reasons. One of those is that there are people I just don’t want to meet, in my professional life I have come up against people who I now recognise as askholes, some of those I humoured for a while, some of them encountered my hardened legal side. They still remember either the force of the law or what may have seemed to them my uncompromising attitude about child welfare or abuse and their role in it. As I feared at least two of them were there. I have the fortune of having lost a huge amount of weight and I could see that they were just unsure of whether it was me or not. However it was unpleasant and I kicked myself for even thinking that it was a place I could go. Another reason I choose not to frequent bars is because I find them depressing places, full of sad people with, sad stories looking for company with other sad people with the same sad stories and frankly I have had enough sadness in my life and I don’t want to spend what little precious time I have for recreation with sad people.
Looking in the mirror as I write this perhaps I am one of those people? I don’t frequent bars, however I do blog, is blogging my drug of choice? I cannot escape askholes, I will not withdraw from people who want to talk but I will endeavour to be honest, but to try my best to do it with integrity, compassion and understanding.
Goodnight and God bless,