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Old 11-04-2012, 03:22 PM   #1
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Contains sexual abuse - Triggering training at work

I work as a carer in a home for the elderly. I've been off for 3 months after an OD and am now in the process of going back. Its filling me with major anxiety anyway. But i've just found out some of my mandatory training needs topping up. The first thing i'm going to have to attend during the process of returning to work is SOVA training. Which is safe guarding of vulnerable adults.

I did it when i first started and it triggered me badly. I couldnt stop crying and had a panic attack. It contains videos and discussion of various abuse situations including sexual abuse. I feel so stupid, because my situation is completely different. This is older people. I was 8. It wasnt even bad. I feel so stupid for letting it bother me.

I had a meeting with my 2 coordinators yesterday to discuss my return, thats when i was told i would have to do it. One of them knows about my history. I told them i was scared of it and didnt want to go. They asked me what they could do to make my return easier, and i said i didnt want to go to that. But i have to, of course. They said they would talk to the manager about me doing it at our building with one of the other coordinators. But my coordinator rang me today to tell me thats not possible and i have to go.

Its on Friday. I will be on my own, and most of the other people there will be new and will know each other from doing all of their training together before starting. That situation makes me anxious anyway. They told me the trainer is nice and would be fine if i asked to leave or whatever. But i dont know.

I dont know what to do. I really dont think i can do it. I dont know what else i can do. I know i have to do it, but i dont think i can cope with it like this. I've told them its a big deal, what else can i do? How can i cope with it? If i dont do it i cant return to work.

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Old 11-04-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
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Don't feel stupid about this hun, it's not your fault; know how you feel with not really related stuff being upsetting, brains make the oddest connections sometimes, it's so annoying...

If you've done it before and you know what you're supposed to look out for with the people you work with, is there any way you could just sit through the course to get it signed off but distract yourself somehow during the videos/parts you find difficult?

Hope you can continue with your recovery



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Old 12-04-2012, 10:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply. I guess i'll try that. But i dont know. Just the idea of being there is enough. Disassociation will only cause other problems.

I'm really scared. I dont think i can do it.

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Old 14-04-2012, 02:36 AM   #4
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Hey,

How did it go?

x



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Old 15-04-2012, 09:29 PM   #5
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^^ Thankyou for asking :)

I didnt reply because it got messed up. I managed to get myself there, big anxiety situation anyway. A large group of people i dont know. I walked in, sat down and spoke to some other people.

Then i found out that the training guy couldnt make Thursday, so he moved the whole training course back a day. Which is fine for people doing the whole course anyway, but i was only doing one day!!!

SO i ended up having to go again. All that for nothing.

Until tomorrow. Its tomorrow, and Tuesday. I'm so scared.

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Old 15-04-2012, 10:33 PM   #6
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Good luck! Maybe you'll know someone this time.

Let us know how it goes



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Old 15-04-2012, 11:27 PM   #7
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*Hugs*

I'm sorry it had to be postponed, that must have been so frustrating with your anxiety.

I hope that it goes well tomorrow & Tuesday.

We are here for you if you need to talk afterwards.xx



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Old 16-04-2012, 10:02 PM   #8
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^^ Thankyou.

It went ok i guess. I cried. I think my whole body was moving with my heartbeat. I nearly ran out. But decided sitting with silent streaming tears was less obvious than running out. I couldnt breathe and thought i might be sick, but i was ok.

I felt kind of numb for a while after.

Now i just think i shouldnt be doing my job. How can someone this crazy look after people? Be responsible for vulnerable adults? How can i look after someone if i cant look after myself? I've been suspended from another forum for persistent triggering posts, but i literally just dont have normal boundaries anymore. What if that goes further? I'm terrified of that saying, that people who abuse have often been abused themselves, what if that turns out to be me?

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Old 17-04-2012, 12:10 AM   #9
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That's good you managed to stick with it, even though it did affect you Hope tomorrow goes better!

How are you feeling now?

Don't feel like you're crazy hun, you've just got some bad things in your past and stuff to deal with now can't be helping matters. If your job is important to you and you enjoy it, then you should stick with it; it'll be good for you. And definitely don't worry about sayings, there are loads of people that don't turn out like that, we just only hear about the ones that do cuz gossip/the news is like that. There's a big difference between wanting to express yourself and going so far as to abuse someone.

Keep us updated on how the course goes?



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Old 22-04-2012, 07:35 PM   #10
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Shrink,

I am so sorry that you had to deal with such a difficult situation. I can't imagine the stress of being forced to endure triggering and upsetting material just to keep your job. FWIW I think that took significant strength and courage, and I don't know if I could have done the same.

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Originally Posted by Shrink View Post
Now i just think i shouldnt be doing my job. How can someone this crazy look after people? Be responsible for vulnerable adults? How can i look after someone if i cant look after myself?
I think your self-doubts are normal reactions given your circumstances. Sometimes helping others can be beneficial for our self-esteem, keep our mind off our own problems for a bit, and help us deal with our own issues better. But the degree to which we help is an individual choice, based on how safe and solid we're feeling. (It sounds like your work environment makes you feel neither.) You may be a great person to work with vulnerable adults (regardless of how "crazy" you perceive yourself) because you may be able to offer them the compassion and understanding others can't. Or you may find it's counterproductive and too hurtful for yourself, and a less relatable care situation is better for you. It's your decision.

There's also the possibility that right now you need to spend your energies healing yourself instead of others, maybe finding more solid boundaries and more effective coping strategies. Then maybe in the future you'll be ready to do this kind of work (if you want to).

You asked "How can i look after someone if i cant look after myself?" and IMO that's an important point. There's definitely the theory that until we learn to take care of ourselves in a healthy way, emotionally and physically, we are limited in our capacity to help other people. I believe the saying is, "secure your own oxygen mask, before attempting to assist others." ;) However, I don't believe you need to be perfect to help people. I think chronic self-doubt is common for victims/survivors of abuse, so part of what you're feeling may just be that. Part of it may also be your body telling you that this is not yet the right time for this job, or that you'll need a better support network if you continue this job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrink View Post
I've been suspended from another forum for persistent triggering posts, but i literally just dont have normal boundaries anymore. What if that goes further? I'm terrified of that saying, that people who abuse have often been abused themselves, what if that turns out to be me?
As I mentioned above, the boundary thing may be serious and it may be necessary to first work on that for your health and safety, I don't know. Perhaps it may help to look at the specific boundary issues you have and see if they really relate to potential risk for the patients? For example, have you ever repeated the abuse you received onto another person before? Ever violated someone's physical or sexual boundaries? Do you have a habit of striking people when you are scared or angry? If yes, then you may want to speak with a professional on how to deal with those issues first.

If your boundary issues more internalized, or minor social infractions, this may just be your self-doubt and confusion talking.

As someone who was abused, by parents who themselves appeared to have been caught in a cycle of abuse, I understand that fear of "will I hurt someone because I can't stop myself or I'm permanently broken?" I had that fear for a long time after leaving my abusers, but FWIW I found that just being mindful of that issue kept me from having that problem. The same way that taking time to ask yourself "am I good person? could I do better?" is itself a sign of a good person who cares. Of course, there was also a bunch of therapy in there, so learning healthier ways to express fear, anger and frustration helped.

I hope some of that rambling helps in some way. I'm afraid I can't provide answers, just support.

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Old 22-04-2012, 07:38 PM   #11
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As an aside, there was something else I wanted to address. I don't know enough details about your situation to make a judgment, but based on what you've said here I do wonder if this is the appropriate workplace for you, in terms of being a healthy environment. It sounds to me like your employer is the kind of person/organization that believes the letter of the law over the spirit of the law (for example, perhaps you could've received the material in a more general and written form instead of the detailed and triggering movie images; or perhaps they could have placed you in a different, less upsetting division).

I also have to question an employer who believes it's acceptable to subject an employee to further psychological abuse by forcing her to endure triggering material, and do so in the public setting of a group. That seems both callous and irresponsible. Again, I don't have all the info, but that aspect threw up a red flag for me so I thought I'd mention it.

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