This has been weighing me down so much lately. I work in a call center for financial aid, and as a result I’m sure you can imagine I constantly hear sob stories. A lot of times they are just people who can’t handle life’s most minor of challenges, and I feel justified in thinking “that’s life, get over it” but other times genuinely awful things that happen in peoples lives, and I understand why they’re upset and needing accommodations (I work overnights so I can’t actually DO anything but give information, so I end up with them just crying on the phone to me. There is no need for them to give me details, I don’t make any decisions).
Today I had a caller who was withdrawing from a course give me this whole story about how her cousin was diagnosed with cancer, was told that he was gonna be okay or something, put in hospice care, then died three weeks later. She was literally crying to me on the phone, and I had to force out an “I’m sorry for your loss.” She kept going on and on, and I just started ignoring what she was saying and trying to get the call to end. I felt guilty as it was happening because my natural response was fucking annoyance, like I’m some sort of sociopath. Even though I knew I should say something empathetic, I couldn’t. I just kept talking about the financial aid and assuring her “we’d get her account figured out” provided she follows procedures for her w/d
I get that these people might not have anyone else to talk to. I get that everyone handles life differently, and have to remind myself of that fact whenever I find myself thinking “when shit happens in my life, I don’t give my life story to every person I talk to.” I get that maybe they’re just overwhelmed and just need to let it out.
In my heart, I get mad, like “don’t dump this shit on me” but I know in my head that they’re not in the wrong for doing so.
But I wish so badly they wouldn’t choose me to talk to. Because whenever they start, I can’t empathize anymore, I can’t put myself in their shoes. I just want them to stop. talking. It’s not because I feel bad for their situation. It’s because I feel guilty that I just don’t care. I don’t want to hear it.
I know that I’m in the wrong. I know that it’s a selfish line of thinking. I went through something horrible about a year ago, and you’d think that’d make me more empathetic, but it didn’t. It makes me less so. I wonder if this is just some part of how my own grief is manifesting, I don’t know, I didn’t bother with therapy lol. Maybe I’ve just been doing this job for three years and I’ve reached a breaking point. It seems like an oxymoron, but I feel bad all the time for not feeling bad for these callers.
Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I just sick in the head or something?
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