From Episode 71:
In an ideal world, all support groups would be benefiting the ones seeking help - with no other agendas or problems. But sadly even if there are good intentions, that doesn’t mean it will lead to something good.
The purpose of a support group is to help you through your problem - be it by exchanging information, getting other perspectives, feeling validated, getting support, socializing and the like.
A good group helps you move forward and getting better. Others will just keep your status as it is and others again will worsen your state - and I am afraid there is no register to look up which group is which.
This episode is also about validating you in case you are having doubts, but maybe you are unsure if it is you or the group. Most people don’t feel confident enough to argue with others regarding mental health issues.
So one thing right ahead: If you are feeling like the group doesn’t help you forward - it is okay you feel that way. It might be wise to change groups - if that is an option.
That doesn’t have to mean that the group is bad itself - sometimes it just doesn’t work out. We are only humans after all. But there are 2 big problems with the support groups: Reaffirming victim hood and hidden agendas.
Reaffirming victim hood
What do I mean by reaffirming victim hood? This happens when the group just reaffirms that everything is bad and will kill any form of progress or those who try to get better. Sort of a crabs in bucket effect - maybe subconscious.
Yes, you should talk about having bad times and your pain and everything - but you also should talk about the little successes you had and receive positive feedback. Generally speaking of course - every group has off days.
The perfect example of this was for me in a report of victims of the love parade disaster - a few years later. It was great tragedy and left the people with PTSD and the like. Unsurprisingly. Most of those interviewed moved on.
They were either slowly returning back to normal life - while other were significant far ahead on their healing journey. Except for one couple. Both witnessed the disaster and were still in the same state as they were at the start.
Both reiterating and reaffirming, how horrible it was and that is was completely normal that no one could move forward from this. This could also be referred to as a self destructive self fulfilling prophecy.
Sadly quite a common problem, were people beat themselves up and hinder their own healing… or sometimes even leading to a successful self destruction. This is truly not a group or social circle one should stay in.
The other problem of hidden agenda is - as far as I know - mostly affected by lead groups. We talked about it before, it is sadly a fact, that those desperate and/or sick are most prone to abuse, scams and the like.
And there is so far no limit how low these people are willing to go. Therefor it shouldn’t come as a surprise, that the support groups are also affected by them. There are the more obvious ones: Like sale pitches for example.
Then there are the semi obvious ones, where they belong to a group with an agenda and then the hidden ones, where you are slowly lead to a path to join the group, cult or whatever.
It doesn’t have to be a cult or group he wants you to join, sometimes he just wants you to share his mind set. Either way, he is putting his own wants and desire above those who he is supposed to support.
As a rule of thumb: The group leader should be as neutral as possible. Neither his religion, political orientation, preferred products, etc should be relevant or affecting his behavior. At least on a regular basis.
So if you feel like you have to change or behave in a certain way to keep getting access to the group - then this is a clear warning sign. You don’t have to take any substance or join any religion or whatever to become cured.