Earlier this evening, I took part in some counselling skills practice. The rules surrounding these things mean I can't tell you under what circumstances this happened, or identify those with whom I was partnered for the exercise. What I am going to focus on is the fact that, yet again, playing the part of the client was uncomfortable for me.
There were a number of issues I could have chosen for the skills practice, and I chose what I thought was a minor issue, the one which I thought couldn't possibly trigger difficult feelings within me. It was foolish of me to forget that fairly major issues can often hide behind those which seem to be of relatively little importance.
As the practice came to an end, I was asked how I felt. I replied that I felt exposed, vulnerable. When I was asked where I felt vulnerable, I deflected the question. The truth is that I felt the shield with which I had been guarding myself had been taken away, and I'd been hit by a truck. I was asked if I wanted to continue, and replied that I'd rather the focus was put onto someone else.
I seem to be talking in metaphors, but that is my way, and I have no better way to describe how I felt. I would liken my feelings to those that are felt when a wall is knocked down, we see how things look without the wall in place, and wonder whether the wall should have been left standing.
During the session, I'd made mention of wearing a mask - another metaphor. To deal with situations in which I feel uncomfortable, I take on the characteristics of someone more comfortable and confident in that situation. Maybe it's an act, and maybe it's dishonest, because maybe it's not really me. Or, it's an aspect of who I am, and only comes to the fore when needed.
Yeah, I'd much rather talk to other people about themselves than about me.