Group

reedsWhat’s happened now is group was tough on Thursday. Mainly because I had such severe anxiety for most of it. E and A were speaking about relationship problems with men. I was sitting, my heart pounding, shaking a bit and feeling worse the longer I sat there. Finally I left the room (very bad), took a pill and just breathed for a while. Went back after 15 minutes. Then I started talking about last week, how I’d found the responses of people difficult. No one said anything. Ron asked what I’d like from people, and I didn’t want anything really. Just to be able to speak. And my anxiety went down.

I actually wanted to listen to A. Ron had a lot to say about her problems, and I would have liked to hear it. The anxiety sucks big time.

Oh yes, I switched into the kid because the kid wanted to talk to Ron. He was back from vacation and she hadn’t talked to him and was freaking out.

“So you’re back from the cottage? And…you’re real? What if you weren’t really real?”

I had this feeling of unreality that happens when I’m really anxious.

“Because you must be real because you’re here and I’m here too and you know who I am.”

“Are you afraid the other people here aren’t real too?”

“No, I don’t know them but I know you. You drive a car and it is green and we talk.”

“Yes. You’re in a really young place right now. And I see you. I always know you are there even if you’re not talking.”

I was crying, but when Ron said this something clicked. The kid felt heard and I switched back out to me. What a relief – I could use my mind again.

After this, Ron asked us again, like he did the week before, how we felt about the group ending in June. This time someone asked him how he felt. And then he said he would most likely not be running another group in the fall.

Bombshell.

We asked how come. He said he felt the group hadn’t come together as he’d hoped, we hadn’t ‘jelled’, and that he’d done everything he knows how to do, and it hadn’t helped. Also he found it very hard work. He didn’t say this, but I guess he meant it’s hard work that hasn’t paid off.

Wow. He’s been running these groups for years, but this seems to be the group that broke him.

I’ve had very mixed feelings about the group, but I’ve found it valuable. I am continually frustrated that people are so withdrawn though. In my session, Ron said too that inhibition was so strong in the group, it never really caught.

I felt I didn’t really have that problem, as I can’t seem to stop talking even when I’d like to. He said he thinks I have it in a different way than others in the group. I say things, but then I stop, I don’t go deeper.

He’s told me this before. I’m not aware of more to say that I’m holding back though. I think the problem is that for me, going deeper means going into parts, which is very problematic in many ways. It’s not so easy.

I told him I did feel less close to people in the group than I did in December. I’d somewhat given up on trying to engage people about the group, because nobody else did. Ron said I gave up because when people got angry, I withdrew, instead of just keeping going. Maybe, but that is not easy.

I said I’d had the experience before of being ostracized by groups, and I wasn’t keen on that happening to me again. Ron said it never got anywhere near that, that everyone in the group was angry at me.

Well, I am sad about this. I feel I’ve failed at group. Ron said it’s never just one person. But me getting up and leaving all the time was not good. Just I didn’t know what else to do. Next group I will apologize to the person who was speaking for leaving, at least.

I want to say a few more things in group before it disbands, so I’ll try and do that next week. The people in the group have taken up residence in my head, after all this time, jelled or no. I don’t want to leave things unsaid.

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10 comments
  1. Grace said:

    I found it really touching what the kid said to Ron. I’m sorry it missed Ron so much.
    On another note I don’t think you (or anyone else) failed at group… even if things didn’t work out as hoped, it’s no one’s fault. Maybe the mix of different people just didn’t fit this time but I think it’s great that you want to say some specific things before the group disbands xx

  2. I’m sorry the group is ending. I was in a group once, and I was sad when it ended. I agree with Grace, it’s no one’s fault.

  3. Gel said:

    It’s sad when things end that you’ve been deeply involved in. Even when it had a lot of difficulty. As you said the group has been a good growing and learning experience for you overall. So that has value. When experiences don’t meet people’s expectations it seems natural to have disappointment but that doesn’t mean other needs weren’t met, just not the ones expected or desired. Perhaps the group experience gave you lots of growth that you don’t see yet, but will benefit you in the future….as well as the other participants. Maybe you could see your feeling of failing at group as just a feeling of sad and disappointed.

    I also think it’s great that you want to say some things to the group before it ends. That seems like a healthy way to have closure.

    Best wishes to you Ellen.

    • Ellen said:

      Group did have a lot of value, just it was incredibly painful a lot of the time. I’ve also learned what not to do when trying to communicate, lol. I think it met some needs for community actually. I do feel I failed at the group but in some ways I did not. Thank you Gel.

  4. weareonebyruth said:

    Hugs Ellen, I go with the others in saying you are not responsible for the group. You left the group when you thought it best for yourself. I find it odd that Ron expects you to meet the needs of the group and stay when you are distressed. From what you say about his announcement about ending the group that he did have something in mind about where it was supposed to go. Other posts you mentioned that Ron felt the group should decide. In my opinion, take a deep breath, look in a mirror and confidently say, “This is not my fault. I am nor responsible for the dynamics of the group.” Repeat it several times a day until you believe it. My counselor talked to me often about taking responsibility for things that were not my job. What you are sharing today seems similar. Changes are always difficult and the group did help you make some progress. Hoping you pamper yourself a bit this week.
    Take care,
    Ruth

    • Ellen said:

      I don’t think it’s so much meeting the needs of the group. I believe he thinks I am fleeing instead of staying to experience whatever feeling it is and discussing it, which would be for my benefit. Just then I’m forever interrupting, if I do that. Ron obviously does have a specific idea of what a good group does, and our group wasn’t it. 😦 Good to keep in mind that it can’t be my responsibility to make things work though. Thanks Ruth. Hugs.

  5. laura said:

    hi Ellen, I understand that this is a bombshell! It seems pretty strange that Ron would float this idea, this threat, if people are willing to come. It sounds as if he’s saying that it’s not worth it. It seems to me that you’ve made good use of group, and that it’s helped you with your dealings outside. Perhaps that’s not true of the others. I was in a group that ended, 20 years ago, and I always had a feeling that it was my fault. It does seem that you’ve suffered a setback with this group, first cancelling, then having to step out. Did you ever talk about the feelings that caused you to cancel, and to step out?

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, he seems discouraged. He was yawning away at the start of last group, like he didn’t really want to be there, so I think he’s given up on it. It has helped me. I left last year too, but this year it’s worse. Yes, I’ve tried to address it. It just keeps happening. Thanks.

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