5 Tips to Keep Online Support from Being Non-Supportive

dog and cat

Many of us have turned to online support groups and blogs to help guide us through our understanding, healing and recovery from pathological relationships. They are wonderful places to meet wonderful people. I for one credit the help I have received from virtual strangers as my biggest support tool over the past year.

However, there have been some encounters and hiccups along the way, and I just wanted to share a few tips that have helped me navigate away from pages, sites, groups and even individuals that are counter to progressive healing:

1. Enter private groups with zero expectations.
Even if you were invited by a “real” friend or long-time virtual friend, private groups are not a one-size fits all. Dip your toe in. Be cautious. Feel out and read past posts and comments. If there is something triggering, you may want to remove yourself from the group. No one SHOULD get offended. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else.

2. Never let anyone tell you how you should be feeling.
We spent far too long dealing with a pathological partner telling us how we SHOULD think or feel. We don’t need people or groups devaluing us, too. If you comment about how you feel or what you’re thinking and you immediately receive a response like, “You shouldn’t feel or think X,Y,and Z,” remove yourself from the group or step away from the page. If it’s the administrator of the page who is trying to offer you advice on how you SHOULD be feeling, that’s a red flag that the owner of the page may be stuck or pathological themselves.

3. Never measure your progress and recovery against that of another.
It’s very common to meet someone online who seems exactly like you. That person’s experience mirrors yours almost down to the pet names your exes used to call you. You feel connected (FINALLY!) and understood. You start comparing your progress with her progress. Doing this often results in self-judgment. You might feel inadequate if you think she’s moving forward faster than you. Or you might even start judging your friend and think she’s not moving fast enough. We all have varying and complex coping mechanisms. Some of us cycle through emotions faster than others. A person who seems “stuck” may just be a bit more cautious in moving forward. Someone who appears “healed” may be hiding their doubts. Which leads to #4…

4. Online support should NEVER replace other professional services.
Professional counseling and support outside of the virtual world is often necessary and essential for some one in recovery. No matter how much you think the online group is helping you more than offline professional services, don’t be too hasty in dropping your counselor.

5. Above all, listen to Your Gut.
We hear this a lot, because we were so bad at listening to ourselves while in the pathological relationship. Instead of waiting to test your gut in your next romantic relationship, start using it in all of your relationships, especially in online support groups. If a person seems to contradict themselves or you feel a page administrator or group facilitator is hindering you or trying to control you, you’re probably correct. Not everyone who creates a page or group is doing it for good reasons. Some page creators are doing it for selfish and ego-boosting reasons. It’s a harsh reality but a very true one. Don’t feel obligated to continue a relationship or friendship with someone if your gut is telling you to break the ties.

Have a great weekend! Namaste! ~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/379780181046759496/)

Blog Awards: Missy Award and Inspiring Blog Award

inspiring blog award I’m normally not one who gets excited about blog awards only because they require work. Hehe! But I received two in the past two days and wanted to share.

The first one, Inspiring Blog Award, came on Thursday from Kellie Jo at Verbal Abuse Journals. She is very inspiring herself. She recently started a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds to help men and women victims and survivors of domestic violence and intimate partner abuse. Her organization is called The Emergency Fund.

All this time it was him and not me?The second award, The Missy Blog Award, came from Ivonne at Sex, Spirit, Soul Mates and Chocolate….Ivonne’s Journey blog. Ivonne decided to use her creativity and create the award which is dedicated to recognizing “those bloggers who support and advocate for animals either in the blog as a whole or a blog post.  They can be animal lovers, vegetarian,vegan, rescue workers, doesn’t matter it’s all about the animals.”

She selected me because I sometimes post cute images of animals (like the one to the left) or write about animals, like this post and this post. I also (and she didn’t know this) volunteer at my local animal shelter and repost status updates by my friends dedicated to animal rights. There is no excuse for abuse of any kind, and it’s usually the same human abusers who abuse animals. It’s all connected.

I’d like to take this opportunity to also mention that I despise pet owners who use their animals as tools to control others. Not all pet owners are animals lovers. They may claim to love animals but it’s a big ruse to control people and SEEM like animal lovers. They love what their animals can do for them. Animals can’t tell them they are douche bags. Animals are dependent on their owners, even the jerk owners. These jerk owners enjoy using their animals to force people to behave in certain ways and control everything and everyone, including children. They use their animals to inflict abuse. So, screw you assholes! You aren’t fooling me. Give your animals to people who appreciate them for being independent beings, not as things you can force to love you and control while using them to control others. If your pet could talk, it would probably tell you what an asshole you are. Asshole. 🙂

Namaste!

(I tried uploading the Missy Award image, but couldn’t. My computer is acting wonky this morning.) 

Blog of the Month at Blog Mommas (and Dads, too!)

Blog Momma Halloween Blog of the WeekI gave away four copies of my book today (with the help of my son who picked the number corresponding to the readers’ names) and then I got notified that I was the winner of being selected as Blog of the Month (BOTM) over at Blog Mommas!!

Check out Blog Mommas. It’s a great directory of blogs written by people (mostly moms) who have busy lives but still have time to share their insights, skills, and observations with the rest of us. The creator of Blog Mommas is in the process of categorizing the many, many blogs to make it easier for you to find blogs that fit your interests and needs.

If you would like your blog featured on Blog Mommas, contact the creator of Blog Mommas today!

Happy New Year to me and to you! XOXO Paula

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