The Downside of Self-Help Groups

November 12, 2018

When entering a self-help group always look for the Exit sign.

Self-help groups can be a blessing but often in disguise.

The blessing is almost no matter what situation that you are in: Grief, Abuse, Anxiety and many more situations that are devastating, that we experience being not alone with this. It isn’t personal and the sharing of strategies to cope, heal and ‘just’ have somebody to talk to opens a door to healing and recovery. And it is all good. Friendships, relationships and visions of a life beyond pain starts to form. All good.

The problem or therapeutic problem is, that some stay there because they get validated, maybe for the first time in their lives, and so many are lonely. The Matrix being that we get validated because of our hurt and not in spite of our hurt. We get validated in tragedy or circumstances and not validated in who we really are.

We enter at group (tribal) consciousness that is soothing for us and gives us emotional support because of our hurt or ailment. The problem is – what is ‘wrong’ with us defines us and is our ticket and reason for being in the group.

Some react this way: They prolong the hurt, grief, ‘I´m still not well’ in order not to lose this newfound social reference. Others begin to identify with the reason for going there in the first place and it eats them up like a Predator on Steroids.

The impact of what may be a devastating life event will start to become an identity with that impact or diagnosis and the individual will stay in it. That basically means – that we take on the identity of what is not us, but what happened to us and it can open the door to years or a lifetime of victimhood.

And we lose sight of our own self-empowerment and our inner core.

So, if we heal up – we have no business in the group any longer and ‘healing up’ points to the Exit sign.

The group dynamic kicks in:

It’s very hard to say: ‘Listen guys, thank you, I am so much better now, thank you for everything – time for me to hit the road’ and get a visa for that trip. They will challenge your sanity, they will try to keep you in the tribe, they will question if you really are okay. Of course you are not 100 percent okay, but you found your way and you need to pursue that path.

Group dynamics are interested in status quo, so you will have to argue your case similar to a courtroom hearing. When you hear yourself doing that – run like hell.

You might need a friend, you might be lonely, you might need validation – at some point we all do. The group will know how to prey on that to the point where you will start second guessing yourself. If you do that: Run like hell.

Remember: You came there because you needed help. You don’t owe them anything. That is not a yearlong or lifetime signup.

Some of these groups have cult mechanics and some will stalk you. Change your simcard and private your Facebook if you still have that. Often very intimate details are shared, so you might feel that they have something on you and that can be used against you. You have to detach from that. Do not be taken hostage on that account.

A strategy is to say to the group: I might be wrong, and if I am I will know where you are. If anyone says: “Don’t take us for granted that way,” you are in a toxic self-help group. And who will bring the muffins and who will bring the coffee and all that Jazz – Run.

It is called Self – Help group and not Group Group – Help.

You might also want to research who is sponsoring the Self – Help group.

Pharma and Scientology know that the best fishing spots are in troubled waters and so do New Age cults.

Find out why you went there in the first place! The impact that blew you away. In times of confusion – go back to the Source. If you need friends and feel lonely, go bowling or bingo.

Navel digging just isn’t healing. In fact you can dig so deep into it will take you down.

Some are suckers for attention and what is ‘not working for them’ even more so.

It just feeds on it – Starve it out.

© 2018 Soren Dreier

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