Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Support Should Be Supportive

disagreementIt’s been a while since I got a weepy or shrill email or private message from a person complaining about former stomping grounds. But I did wake up to one this morning. The blissful silence I’d come to enjoy on this front was disrupted, and I have to say, it made me grateful, once again, to be well out of the minefield of “support” groups.

TIP:  support groups should be supportive.

Believe me when I say that I am a survivor. I even still belong to groups, though they have dwindled to a very small few with specific focus.  Two social groups, four or five charities, one writing support group that has very little online presence and absolutely no online participation outside of an email loop that is strictly dedicated to WRITING. Chit chat is welcome at the bi-monthly meetings during the nibbles and potable hour.

If you belong to a group that is supposed to support you, find that attending meetings or visiting the web forum, or reading the emails is leaving you sad, miserable, doubting your talent, angry—pick one—you need to get out.

NOW.

Support groups may make you feel concerned for your project. They may make you re-think your behavior. They may challenge and even upset you, but these feelings should be occasional rather than constant. You should have a residual sense of a slight pain that is healing, not of a deep wound that won’t. And if you are feeling either marginalized or depressed often, you are not getting support. Support can sting now and then, but not all the time.  Support lifts you up, even the tough kind.

This doesn’t mean your group is populated with demons and evil doers. It doesn’t mean your mom was right and everyone is jealous of you. It means you’ve either outgrown this collection of individuals and their methods, or were never a good fit to start with.

Wish everyone well, keep in touch with those who were helpful, and GET THE HELL OUT. Anything that is taking time away from your efforts, does not promote or encourage them, and weighs them down in negatives without any positive solutions, is poison.

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