Real Life Support Groups - any advice?

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TriedTooHard

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Real Life Support Groups - any advice?
« on: July 07, 2019, 08:07:05 AM »
Hi all, I'm feeling like a bit of a failure today because it seems like my real life support group has faded away. 

I first started going to a CODA group years ago and that was a great group for me.  Lots of good boundaries there and people who were willing to be introspective.  It naturally faded away when I started feeling better and realized I was much further along in healing than a lot of the newcomers.  Many of the people at my stage started moving away or stopped going, so I gave myself permission to help out more in my child's extra curricular activities.  The CODA structure made my transition out of it seem natural - there was no guilt or sadness about leaving.  That CODA group was a great basis for my launch into volunteering in other walks of life.

A few years later, I had a nagging desire to try and make friends with women similar to me - in my age group & dealing with uNPD mothers.  The CODA structure isn't conducive to this, so I found a meetup that fit the description I was looking for.  I met some great ladies in that group, but the lack of structure caused some issues - for example, we did attract some folks who were very much against looking inwards and working on themselves.  Those same types started gossiping and pitting others against each other - sound familiar?  They relyied on the group as their only source of socializing and healing - they had a lot of hope that this group was going to be their answer, so enmeshment quickly followed.  That's when I started fading away and finding other things to do.  I still thought I was missing out on some good friendships, so I sometimes tried to keep in touch and go to meetups.   I found out that a lot of others had faded away just like me.  We did discuss some of the problems we saw, and tried hard not to diagnose or gossip, but some members were so toxic that we had to address it.  These days, I hear from some of those others who are not toxic, but they aren't as close as I had originally hoped.  We've all admitted to each other that its hard for us to continually remember our pasts while we sit and listen to others talk about their similar issues.

Sometimes when I'm lonely I think maybe I should go back to CODA, but then I get busy again and wonder if its time for me to move on.  Maybe this online support group is the best fit and its time for me to base real life connections on other topics, not sharing a common history with uNPD mothers.

Any thoughts?  Have any of you experienced this?

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guitarman

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Re: Real Life Support Groups - any advice?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2019, 08:41:38 AM »
We all need to find our tribe. I used to go to many support groups for many years. One ended as they couldn't find enough facilitators to help run it and I've not been able to get to the other meetings. I miss everyone and they are like my chosen family to me as we've shared so much together over a long time.

Maybe I don't need to go so much after all and I'm more along on my recovery journey than some others. Many move from needing support to giving support having learnt so much. Maybe that is where your role is now? Maybe you could investigate counselling courses to enrol in and then help and support others more. You have a lot of experience to pass on. Other people are desperate for support as we all know here.

Perhaps you could start up your own support group with a proper structure and boundaries in place. I wouldn't suggest doing it all on your own but maybe with the input and guidance of a mental health charity.

guitarman X
"Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace." - Dalai Lama

"You don't have to be a part of it, you can become apart from it." - guitarman

"Be gentle with yourself, you're doing the best you can." - Anon

"If it hurts it isn't love." - Kris Godinez, counsellor and author

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TriedTooHard

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Re: Real Life Support Groups - any advice?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2019, 07:14:08 AM »
Thank you so much Guitarman, your suggestion that I have experience to pass on is a very kind compliment.  I guess its like making lemonade out of lemons.  Your suggestion is something to consider as a long term goal. 

After reading my post and your reply a few times, and thinking of it over night, I can objectively see why the group faded away.  Its mostly due to natural causes, not me being inattentive or cold to the members.  It was also due to the lack of structure and a lot of us relying on one person to lead it all on her own.  I agree with you that its best to have guidance from a mental health charity.  That is probably why the CODA group works.

Around the same time I started this thread, someone else started a thread about building healthy friendships.  That is also a good one for this situation.

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treesgrowslowly

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Re: Real Life Support Groups - any advice?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2019, 12:10:32 PM »
Hi triedtohard and guitarman

This is something I have wondered about as well.

Triedtohard, what you described in your original post here makes a lot of sense to me. The structure is needed or else. I have found that even in a group of 10-15 people if there is someone who is acting out and not looking inward and not following the rules of engagement with how they relate to the group members, the group doesn't feel safe for me. They go after everyone with gossip and enmeshment and it just becomes so unsafe to me. They find their flying monkeys and I watch the group dynamics unfold. There's never a critical mass of people in the groups I've joined that can recognize and respond and address the narcissist in the group. All the healthier people end up leaving and the narcissist remains.

If anyone has ideas to add here i hope they share. I am very interested in this question you've posed.

I agree with guitarman that we can thrive if we find our tribe. Thriving without our tribe is really hard, for me at least.

Trees


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TriedTooHard

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Re: Real Life Support Groups - any advice?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2019, 07:43:08 AM »
Thank you Trees for your validation.  I'm no longer feeling like a failure about this.  It makes sense why an un-structured group like this would fade away.  Its interesting that you noticed similar things going on.

Trees and Guitarman, your other posts on this site have been very helpful for me.  I've been thinking a lot about what you wrote on other threads about friendships and finding our tribe.   Since I started focusing on this a little while back, I've been pleasantly surprised to see some of my efforts taking root and bringing me some much needed positive relationships.

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treesgrowslowly

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Re: Real Life Support Groups - any advice?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2019, 11:43:09 AM »
Hi triedtohard,

That's awesome.

I think this is an important ongoing topic. When recovering from narcissistic abuse it can be so frustrating to find ways to connect with people and find real friendships. I think that those of us who are recovering from codependency are good at giving and listening and we know what we can bring to a friendship.

Trees