In terms of human interaction, my job here at the YW is not all that different than at the school. At the school, I dealt with children ages birth to school age. Here, it seems, I deal with adults whom have similar traits to birth to school age children. Often, I find myself using the same skills. Sometimes it is jumper negotiation and sometimes it’s bordering on time-out techniques.
I find myself in an 8-hour long, five day a week psychology experiment. I feel as if I am a PSYCH 101 student, diagnosing everyone around me. Manipulation! Passive Aggressive! Addict behaviors!
There are always multiple levels of investigation that happens during my interactions with these women. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there are always three sides to every story. Many times, patience is called for. Wait for it and the true story will come forward. Wait for it and the real personality will present itself.
Some of the people that cross through these doors it is obvious why they are here. Others not so much, but like in a messed-up human poker game, they usually end up showing their hand. Sometimes, the women are just victims of bad luck; everything has dominoed in a negative way and they end up here. Quite often, however, it is mental illness that eventually lands them here.
Daily, we find ourselves on the constant alert for little clues, evidence left behind if you will. Changes in appearance or attitude, changes in routine, interpreting comments made that seem offhand but are actually, usually, hints. Insights on what they're up to, where they've been or where they're going. Literally and figuratively.
I am not always privy to their history and personal information so I am on constant watch for little clues. Little habits or comments to clue me into as to why they are here and who they are. Also, little observations can also help in determining their success here. What may sometimes seem like an inconsequential comment or action can suddenly become a major factor in a later incident. It’s quite often mining through the BS.
Another school correlation is that their friends will often narc them out if they’re breaking the rules. And like children in a preschool setting, there is often bullying and tattling. This is where I am part detective and part referee; sorting through fact from fiction.
I've learned quite a lot about human behavior in the months I've been here. It makes me wish I'd kept my Psych 101 textbook.