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Question about support groups

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Crushed15Feb13 posted 1/24/2014 11:00 AM

Have any of you tried going to support groups? My area has a couple of BAN (Beyond Affairs Network) support groups, and I've attended the monthly meetings of each of these groups a few times. (Its free, so more affordable than IC or MC).

In the interest of trying to heal I'm doing things like this. I thought maybe face to face conversations with people who have BTDT might help me. But I think I'm having an unexpected reaction to attending these sessions. I come home feeling unsettled, and feeling like my W's affair really was a dealbreaker. I think the reason may be that as part of the group I'm compelled to share the story of my wife's LTA with these complete strangers - and I think I'm feeling shame and humiliation about it, and that makes me feel like walking away from the marriage as a way to 'take back' some self-respect and push the feeling of public humiliation back down.

I could be completely wrong about this. The feeling goes away after a day or two of bonding with her again.

Can anybody relate? Could I just be misinterpreting my reaction?

Kyrie posted 1/24/2014 12:27 PM

Hi Crushed - yes, I can relate to this. In fact, I could have written your post. I went to the local BAN group a few times. I stopped going because I would always leave feeling empty and discouraged.

Commiserating with other BSs in that setting didn't do anything to help me. It just reiterated to me that there are a lot of wounded and betrayed people walking around out there and there are a lot of people living dishonestly and foolishly. I chalked it up to a lousy group leader - she did not know squat about facilitating. I think the potential is there to provide people with a kind of group therapy. But without a trained facilitator, it just falls flat.

I guess the same kind of thing plays out on SI, but I can pick and choose posts/threads and look for wisdom and insight from folks who are motivated to R, just like I am. I'm bolstered by the encouragement folks offer each other and I find a lot of hope in people's success stories.

So, IMO, no I don't think you're misinterpreting your reaction. Early on, my MC even cautioned me about participating because of the same issues you raised. I told her I wanted to at least try and she said, just be careful - you run the risk of it feeding your fears and despair.

Boy, was she right!

Crushed15Feb13 posted 1/24/2014 14:56 PM

Thanks, Kyrie. I think that about sums my experience with BAN, too.

In fact, I used to get discouraged here as well, until I found the Reconciliation forum. The JFO forum can be particularly heartbreaking.

I think you are absolutely right about the wisdom and insight (and I'll add compassion) here. For example, I saved 1985's recent post about forgiveness; it just seemed so right on. I often share posts that mean something to me with my W to help keep her spirits up.

[This message edited by Crushed15Feb13 at 4:28 PM, January 24th (Friday)]

DixieD posted 1/25/2014 14:58 PM

Crushed, my husband and I attended Retrouvaille and some of the benefits of that were to hear presentations from couples who have struggled with crisis in their marriage, such as affairs, and they have come out the other side and have developed a better relationships. It's encouraging to hear. Plus meeting other couples who are interested in working on their marriages and making it a priority.

It's may not be for everyone, but just thought I'd throw that out there.

sisoon posted 1/25/2014 16:41 PM

Also, I suggest you consider g2gs. I know you have to wait for them, but you can be yourself at g2gs - almost everybody there has had to deal directly with infidelity.

I wish I could find a regular group in which the members are openly BSes and remorseful fWSes, but g2gs are the closest I've found.

If there are a couple of BAN groups in your area, you might be able to get a g2g going with SIers in your area. Just start a thread in F&G seeing if there's interest in a g2g in your area. Heck, you could even start the thread, generate some interest, and then ask innocently, 'Who's gonna get this organized?', and hope that someone picks up the task.

[This message edited by sisoon at 4:42 PM, January 25th (Saturday)]

MFC2011 posted 1/25/2014 16:43 PM

I think it all depends on the individual group. I have a BAN group that is small, close-knit, and has been a true lifeline for me.

Counseling was valuable to me too, but this is perfect now that counseling is over with.

And cheaper :)

Ascendant posted 1/25/2014 16:44 PM

There are online group-organizing sites, as well. I can't link it here, but I can via PM if you'd like. It'd take some initiative on your part, and I'm not sure how anonymous it'd be, or if that even matters, seeing as how you're looking to meet in person.

Monsterslayer posted 1/25/2014 17:09 PM

It all depends on the group. I facilitate a BAN group in my area and there are times when it is rather overwhelming as few fresh BS show up in there pain. Some people stay for a few meetings and move on, others stay long term, after they have R or D to give back. It is like SI in person. It is always helpful to hear someone's story and to see another perspective.

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