Group was horrible tonight. Now I can’t sleep. I walked out of group for the first time in two years. Not planning on going back to the last session.

I’d thought I was getting somewhere, making headway of some kind. I wasn’t. I’m just a scapegoat for people’s bad feelings. I tended to be the scapegoat in my family, now I’m one for the group. It’s happened to me in work situations as well, when there was stress no one could deal with, it got focused on me. I’ve lost two jobs that way.

Don’t know if I want to go into what happened. I spoke after E started, after the usual silence to start. I didn’t respond to what she said, because it wasn’t interesting for one thing. She just said group was ending and she didn’t know how she felt about it.

I said I’d found it an interesting experience to ask someone about not liking me. Really hard though. Then Ron wanted to know why I hadn’t responded to E. At which point E got massively upset with me, she said she felt ignored, a receptacle, I was just like her husband, I didn’t look at her….so much stuff. Then Ron kept asking her questions about all this.

This time I couldn’t just sit and take this. It seemed so unfair. So I said why I hadn’t responded to her, that it was difficult sitting and absorbing all this….

Then Ron said I was being defensive. He thinks I treated E like my family treated me, by ignoring what she said. I didn’t think it was true. So I was defensive. So E talked for a long time to Ron.

Then I was so furious I couldn’t stand it. So I took a pill, then left for some air. When I came back, everyone ignored me, and A cozied up to E, they’re best buddies now.

Then I said how I was feeling. Argued with Ron.

Then Ron asked for feedback from the group on my and E’s interaction. A said how he wished I’d stop talking, he had no sympathy for me at all. M said she never wants to say anything to me because I’m always negative.

Then I kind of started crying. I talked about how if we’re supposed to trigger each other, as Ron had said, why was it only me who did that, it feels incredibly lonely.

Then I sat there, and felt so awful, just dying to go home. So I left. Forgot my umbrella, had to go back for it. I didn’t care. I’m glad I left. They are assholes.

It’s a sad note to end on. I don’t really want to leave it that I left crying and hurt. But if I go back, I just have angry things to say about most people there, so what would be the use.

Can I just say this? M says I’m always negative. Maybe. But here’s what I don’t do. I don’t carve pretty bloody patterns all over my body. I don’t overdose. I don’t get locked in the psych ward and think my doctor is doing me favours. A little negativity might do M some good.

I’m angry, but I also have a point IMO.

A is projecting like crazy, saying if only the group didn’t have me, it would be great. So how come Ron doesn’t tell him about projection? Instead I get the lecture.

Ron said when I switch to parts and cry, that’s when people really sympathize with me. Well, being a four year old is a very small part of me. I don’t need their sympathy thank you very much. Most of me is old, that’s who the group knows, and that’s who they don’t like.

It’s a very conflict averse group. Ron will never say it. I think he should. And he should comment on the group dynamics, not forever be doing the individual therapy.

I’m real upset still. R emailed me after group to see if I was OK. Kind of him. He’s conflict averse too, but he never lashes out at me. I guess because we have these after group chats, I still feel positive about him.

I’ve also completely lost trust in Ron. Why can’t he offer some support when he sees me sinking? On the one hand, he says this is how you behave, so people are reacting this way. On the other hand, he’s telling me I’m a trigger, that their feelings are about their own stuff. He says both all the time, and I find it confusing and unhelpful.

Today I am grateful for a beautiful rose scent. I walked past an old-fashioned rose bush leaning over a wall on the way to group. I didn’t have to sniff the roses – the scent wafted from the bushes, soft and sweet in the rain.

  1. Karen said:

    I know group therapy can be highly charged…but bloody hell. This is horrendous! I can’t believe they spoke to you like that, and particularly that Ron let it all come out in that way. How is that ever going to be anything other than (re-)traumatising for you?! Isn’t that the exact opposite of what therapy’s meant to be about?! It reminds me of my old one-to-one therapy; volatile and hurtful. I get that that might need to happen for psychological processing…but not at the end of everything, as happened with me, and as has happened here with you.

    F**k ’em. Arseholes. I’m just so sorry you had to go through that. As you say, it’s more about their projection and transference than anything else, but I’m sure that doesn’t make it any less painful. Be kind to yourself. Sending hugs and warm thoughts across the e-ther xxx

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Karen, your support means a lot, especially right now as I’m still raw and bleeding. That’s one of the things I said in response – why bring this all up now, at the very end of group when there is no time to deal with it? I have lost trust in Ron’s skills as a group leader. He wants to allow everything to happen I guess. I think he needs to intervene in different ways than he does. In the meantime, I am so hurt. Angry too. It’s a sad note to end on. I wish I’d quit earlier. I hope I can repair my trust in Ron. xox

  2. Tilda said:

    I don’t think I could do group. I couldn’t cope with all this stuff, it would just overwhelm me.
    And from the bits I have read, more often than not, you seem to come away so upset [for good reason], and have very little support during or after. And nothing ever seems to be resolved. I’d find this so frustrating.

    Maybe it’s time to give Ron a stern talking to!

    Take care my friend. Have another cry, let it all out.

    PS I’ve wanted to ask for ages, are you ‘c’ free now, you are often in my thoughts. xxx

    • Ellen said:

      Hi Tilda – It overwhelms me too. I thought I was coping better, but here I am again, feeling really awful. If Ron could stop the endless analyzing and be supportive (be a mench) it would help. And I don’t understand why nothing is ever OK, after going over it, listening, responding. No. As soon as there’s a problem, it all comes up again. Thanks for your support – it helps.

      I’m not good at crying actually.

      Yes, I still get check-ups, but as far as anyone knows I’m cancer free. I’m very lucky. For a while I thought I had another cancer, stomach, because of symptoms, but now I think it’s OK. So I’m lucky in a way many aren’t. xox

      • Tilda said:

        That’s good to hear, about your health, I’ve wanted to ask for a while.

        I hope you will be able to talk with Ron about all this, it needs to be sorted, you need to be heard, and treated better imo.

        • Ellen said:

          Thanks 🙂 Unfortunately my session today was dismal and I feel worse. But thanks for your kind words.

  3. I used to be a scapegoat too. It stopped happening when I stopped spending time with people who choose scapegoating as a coping mechanism.

    • Ellen said:

      Sorry to hear you also suffered from this. I think groups under stress do pick scapegoats, and some groups are unavoidable, like at work. Maybe I can learn t recognize it sooner and make my escape sooner next time. Thanks Ashana

      • They do. But I think certain personality types–that are more fragile, perhaps–do it much more than others. Certain types of groups–ones that function like dysfunctional families–do it more than others also. I think it does happen that you just become less willing to put up with nonsense.

  4. Grace said:

    Whenever I read about A, I get pissed. Just what the hell is wrong with him….
    I really think these people are idiots (to say the least) and it’s horrible how you were treated. This session almost sounds like bullying to me (and it made me totally uncomfortable only reading about it). I think it’s god that you left though. Because what else was there to do? I’m sorry it was so awful. You don’t have to do this to yourself (by going to the next group session, that is). xoxo

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks – A pisses me off too. 🙂 It’s odd reading all these supportive comments, because for Ron I’m completely at fault and leaving is the worst thing in the world. I won’t go to the last session. xox

  5. Bourbon said:

    ‘Liking’ to show support though I don’t feel I have any words to offer at the moment. I’m sorry they were all so cruel to you though xx

  6. Cat said:

    I appreciate groups can be highly emotional and even confrontational, but this seems to have gone too far. It sounds like you came under fire and maybe even a scapegoat for the tensions. It doesn’t sound like Ron has a handle on it. I can understand why you feel hurt and out on a limb.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for understanding Cat. I actually feel somewhat at fault at this point….But I appreciate you see it more from my point of view. take care

  7. I am sorry that group was so awful. I am so angry at Ron for not saying something to interrupt the group. I hope your session with him went better today.

    • Ellen said:

      The session made things worse. Ron seems quite angry that I left and feels the dynamics are my fault basically. I’m going to research other therapists. Thanks for the support Di.

  8. sorry it all went so horribly wrong, and that today didn’t help mend things.


    i *do* think that you made some “headway”, as you say and i wouldn’t discount that, despite the scapegoating. you’ve been taking risks in speaking up, you have been asserting yourself and stating your needs.

    i wonder what would have happened if you had said to her directly, i didn’t respond to you because you are not very interesting, since that was what you were thinking, at least in part.

    i’ve seen scapegoating happen in group before and it wasn’t pretty. i’m really sorry you experienced that.

    also, i’m not sure about ron being angry… i think it’s pretty rare that our therapists are actually angry with us. i mean, as you know sharon was recently frustrated with me, but that’s because i put myself in a life-threatening situation and she was frustrated that i didn’t seem to be taking it seriously. i think she was quite honestly scared i might die.

    anyhoooo… maybe it’s more that you are super angry at him at the moment and you see that reflected back at yourself.

    as always, i have the minority position in yr comments, but i think there’s value in sticking around and resolving this. not glossing it over, for sure, but talking and talking until you come to an understanding.

    • Ellen said:

      I actually did say that at one point. I was asked over and over why I didn’t respond to her – once Ron brought it up, it became a huge deal.

      Thanks for believing me about the scapegoating. Ron said flat out that I hadn’t been, but I believe I was. I read about it a bit, and every definition fits. It is something that groups under stress do.

      In my session, Ron talked the whole time in this creepy, calm, even voice – like you’d use for an unstable mental patient. I hadn’t realized before how personally he took it when I walked out. It was like being in therapy with a cyborg. I’m glad Sharon was able to express to you her fear and frustration. I think she cares a lot. Which Ron does not. Ron is insecure.

      It’s true I’m very angry with him. However. I think I will look for someone else. I’ve canceled my next session with him – it was pure hurtfulness today, I don’t need any more of it for a while. And until the group is over, which is next week, I don’t want to deal with him, he has such strong feelings about it.

      I never do come to an understanding with Ron. I just become persuaded that he’s right and I’m wrong, or I give up and move on to something else. He’s not the most flexible person. However, I greatly appreciate hearing your minority opinion! 🙂 Thanks for caring and for letting me vent a bit in my reply. take care.

      • Ruth said:

        I am impressed. You recognized Ron’s behavior as about being his on insecurity and not about you. I believe you analyzed correctly his anger at you walking out. This was important to him and you did not comply to his way of doing things. I think I better understand why everyone else stays quiet. Easier to stay quiet than to speak up and become a target. Hugs.

  9. Cat said:

    The fact that E got massively upset and then openly relates her responses to the outside, “feeling ignored/like her husband” seems to me more justified to get the attention of other members. So, why did they turn everything on you? For Ron to say you were being defensive over E’s behaviour is a joke (of an asshole!)

    Being able to remove from the situation, then go back and attempt to sort things out, demonstrates strength of character. It is a pity that Ron didn’t recognise this in his feedback.

    To stand up and refuse to be everyone’s scapegoat is, I suspect, not something you would have been able to do 2 years ago. Be confident and proud of your own progress

    It must feel enormously difficult to process the subsequent emotions, but I do hope everything feels a little brighter today

    • Ellen said:

      Hi Cat – I guess theoretically, we are supposed to relate our responses to our past or present outside lives. Group is for working out our projections and taking them back. However, I don’t believe these two really believe they are projecting – they seem to feel that I am simply a bad person. I think it would have been helpful to me if Ron had been able to offer me support. I have had practice at simply sitting and absorbing, when I’ve triggered someone. It kind of works. They get more thoughtful, and then I can say how I feel, without attacking them. Anyway. It’s too late in the process for this to be possible now, and surely Ron knows this.

      I do feel proud that I am not taking this on and feeling completely bad about myself. It’s a good thing, and it is something I’ve learned, so thank you.

      Things are indeed brighter today. Thank you for caring and commenting.

  10. Cat said:

    my pleasure, Ellen

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