Wednesday, March 01, 2006

ahh...high school

Things haven't changed much since I was in high school (10 years ago, yikes!) Just this morning a co-worker and I were laughing about how boys interact with girls they like...basically it involves being as annoying as possible. Why is that? Why do hormonally-challenged teenage boys think pestering a pretty girl is going to make her want to hang out with them? Sometimes the guys act like little brothers, as if their sole intention is to totally freak the girl out. Is that some way of controlling rejection? Somehow rejecting themselves right off the bat?

A student I know pretty well dropped in this morning. She's in a rather controlling (aka abusive) relationship, and she knows it. She just can't seem to break the cycle and get out (which sounds so easy in theory, but we all understand it is really complicated). It's difficult to sit with her without wanting to yank her right out of a situation that I know is eating away at her self-worth and inner joy. I am really trying to work on my motherly tendencies toward my students, to resist the urge to be a protector, nurturer, mother-hen type person. So I just listen and empathize and reflect back to her what I hear her saying, helping her put organize stream-of-consciousness thoughts and expressions.

I know that I've been there before. We've all been there before--yucky, controlling, immature relationships. Knowing what I know, I want to tell her there's hope on the other side; that bad relationships make us truly appreciate singleness and good relationships and people who make us feel better about ourselves rather than worse.

Oh, and he called her fat and ugly. I want to punch this kid in the nose. Sometimes I act like their mother, and at other times I'm the ghetto-fabulous older sister with a mean uppercut. (For those of you ready to call protective services, don't worry, I don't actually act on my big sister leanings).

Shortly after her, another female found her way here, dealing with pretty much the same issue, and I found myself battling the same inner protective/nurturing/caring/guarding tendencies and saying the same comments to help her weigh the positives and NEGATIVES of being in a relationship without trust, without compromise, without understanding, without balance.

This isn't an unusual day. Every day I meet with students whose stories echo the ones above. And I'm learning each day what my role is as their counselor. So I'm just going to sit and encourage these kids, talk with them and give them a safe space to vent. I will show empathy and help them make sense of the senseless and hand them kleenexes when they cry.

And whenever they are ready, or fed-up, or their own ghetto-fabulousness takes over, and they finally move on, out of the poopy relationship...I'm gonna party it up in my back office, doing my song-and-dance routine "another one bites the dust." (door closed, of course). :)


Ben said...

You should do a survey and find what kind of relationship these girls had with their father.. I think that there is a disturbing correlation between poor male role models and poor choices when choosing a significant other.

It's one of the reasons I work so hard on building a good relationship with my daughters (plus I'll teach them kempo :).

What's the talk about socking someone because your an "older sister"? You know very well that that is my job as the older brother!

Thanks for the post..

Big Bro. Ben

Becky said...

Ben, you're totally right. Most of these girls have no relationship with their dad, or the type where they can never be good enough. It's so true for males, too, who choose significant others based on their unmet needs from their own moms/female role models.