Emotional separation gone wrong?

Postby JoeSeliZe » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:09 am

I graduated the state fire academy 4 years ago and got hired almost right off the bat. Don’t get me wrong, I love this job. The adrenaline is like nothing else. However when I was hired into my first department I was given bad advice, which was to not let your emotions get into the way of us doing our job.

It’s not about what I see, that doesn’t bother me at all. The fact I started doing this was to emotionally separate myself from my job to perform better. And it’s worked great for my JOB.

However a simple and commonly used teqnique by fire fighters that I used to get me through my rookie year has carried into my off duty life.

I feel bad for people on and off the job, I love certain people on and off the job. I have these emotions inside but I cannot show them at all.

I always knew I had a problem, but it didn’t really hit me until this morning.

My sister was beating on my door (she’s also my neighbor, how lucky?) and told me that my grandma who had just came off a ventilator a day before was refusing a feeding tube, and didn’t want to live artificially alive. My sister told me and I didn’t really do anything. I forced myself to hug her. She wanted to see the family before she was placed into hospice care. Everyone was crying, and rubbing her hand. I awkwardly sat there.

I feel emotions in my head, but I cannot show them. Am I screwed?
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#1

Postby Livetowin » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:41 am

You're in a career that demands a heightened awareness of your own emotional involvement in order to be both effective and safe. So being in control to highly charged situations that would normally evoke a very deep and primal response in others is the key to doing your job well . In effect, you have to shut off your sensory cues to highly tragic moments that most people do not see every day, but you potentially can. Hard to wear different hats for something of this kind. And may I be the first to say thank you for your courage and unwavering desire to run into harm's way when others flee. It takes a brave person to carry that weight while also risking life and limb to try and spare others from that heartache.

I'm not sure I would call what you have a problem, so much as a discipline. It's not as if you don't care because clearly you do. I think a more philosophical approach is needed so that you can apply context in these situations that involve family or friends. Everyone crying and breaking down is not always what helps in these situations. Being there is what counts and you do that. Being strong is also a tremendous benefit for those who can not be. So the fact you are not falling apart can serve as a beacon to those who need someone to wear a brave face. I don't think you need to do anything other than remind yourself to be present and available as that rock when these situations arise. You sound like a fine person. And being in control during a crisis can sometimes be the greatest benefit to everyone on the scene. Don't beat yourself up. You're doing exactly what you're supposed to do and that's an enormous benefit to everyone. Keep up the great work.
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#2

Postby laureat » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:25 pm

what you experience is a state of mind that you work with

In jobs most of times we ask ti be serious and so we condition ourself not to be playful/funny

We ask to be professional: so we condition ourselves to focus on nothing else but the job

We ask to be intellectual and no emotional

So all these requests all these conditioning and the fear the pressure may lead you to one state of mind which you telling to be separated from emotions


All you have to do is stimulate what is missing: so the mind learns there is nothing wrong if you do that
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#3

Postby JuliusFawcett » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:02 pm

It's ok to be who you are, being more comfortable with yourself is a choice
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