What do you think of them? Whether they are for single parents, parents of Special Needs children, people with mental illness (including depression / PND etc.) or Something Anonymous they are out there. You can find them in real life and on line. You can find some that meet daily, monthly or yearly or something in between.
So you go to them? Do you laugh and think people who go to them are losers? Or do you think that they are beneficial at times but can become mired down in negativity where people feed off each other’s neurosis or crises or whatever?
I’m in the latter category. I kind of think that groups can be useful and relevant if they are useful and relevant rather than becoming an all out whinge fest or one upmanship on who’s life is the worst.
But I’m having a dilemma.
There’s a group to which someone else joined me up. It’s an online group about a particular subject but where it is becoming very clear that members of the group are expected to interact both on line and in real life. If you don’t interact enough on said group the owner / moderator tends to get a little narky and writes things about how meet ups are only so many times a year and that it’s an interactive group and everyone should participate regularly. Comments have been along the lines of: THIS is not an information group or a group for lurkers. Now that has only been mentioned recently it was not mentioned in the past. And obviously someone was told to pull their head in a little because it did become less authoritative in the following few days.
I don’t want to burn any bridges but I struggling with how a support group can be supportive when you are told in what ways and how frequently you must participate.
What do you think? Can support groups actually support? And what if they are being extremely prescriptive about the level of participation? Note: it's not a 12 step program where it’s generally known that there are 12 steps to follow etc. Can a support group run effectively if one person decides how things should run and basically ostracizes those who don't play by those (at the time unwritten) rules?