Friday, January 2, 2009

examining evil aka examining my biases

There's one client who for a long time I was scared of, petrified of even. Ever since I started working on the side of the tracks where he makes his home, I've been scared of him. He's the kind of person who has a reputation in the neighbourhood. He's the kind of guy who throws rocks at cars during rush hour on busy streets. He's the kind of guy who rapes intoxicated women; where people can see him. I could go on for hours, but I think it's sufficient to say he's the kind of guy who just inspires fear in those around him.

So how does this relate to me. Well, a month or so back I was cruising around in the van with a coworker and we were talking about said client, Gavin, and I mentioned that I felt like he represented pure evil. My coworker agreed and from then on that's how I thought of him. Over time I've defended him to other coworkers saying he must have a lot of hurt in his life to have so much anger which comes out in so many ways, but still, this guy to me just seems so... horrible.

Of course I continued thinking, and I got curious and one quiet night I sat down and read through his entire file. It took quite a while, but as I read through the short entries over the course of ten years I began to piece together pieces of his recent history as well as get a sense of what made him into the angry adult he became. This man has had horrible things happen to him, things that shouldn't have to happen to anyone. He was born into a bad situation to start with, and history took a tole upon his future. His life was rampant with drugs and addiction, things he still struggles with today.

And see that's the thing. Gavin is the most scary when he's been using. When he's sober, it turns out he's a pretty nice guy. It kind of freaks me out, the juxtaposition of the two characters. And who knows, there very likely could be some kind of dissociation going on, the two people are just so different. One is this screaming person who throws tables and the other a nice, quiet, polite man who has serious health problems he is quite conscientious about taking care of. It's hard to evaluate someone abusing multiple substances for dissociation, and that's if anyone would even care to try.

So what I realized, is that you can't put people into boxes. I've always known this, I'm not a black and white person, but in this case, I was very black. Evil. Plain and simple. But the thing is, life is never that simple.

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