For any kind of interpersonal support group to produce the right benefits, you have to understand that it’s a give-and-take process. You have to give as well as take. You can’t just take and take, and think that the support group will benefit you. It doesn’t work that way.
Support groups are essentially organizations that produce personal transformation because people bounce signals off each other. People interact with each other in such a way that they push each other up instead of dragging each other down.
Unfortunately, there are certain things you can do in that support group that would actually defeat the whole purpose of such a group. Here are just three of the worst behaviors you can engage in.
There are so many people who are laboring under such a sense of denial that they think that a support group is really a place where people challenge each other. They think that it’s all about ego. They think that people are judging each other and they have to basically be defensive. Not surprisingly, their behavior when they peer out of that support group is very antagonistic.
They’re not there to look for solutions. They’re not there to reach out. They’re not there to open up. Instead, they’re there to pick fights. They feel so defensive, they feel like they’re being judged so much that they keep pushing back. Everything becomes a debate. Everything becomes a pissing match.
If you conduct yourself this way, not only are you not going to be benefiting from the group, you’re also robbing other people of whatever benefits they can get from the support group.
You have to understand that for you to overcome personal finance addictive behavioral patterns, you need to be humble. In other words, you need to really let go of your ego and just look at reality straight in the eye. If you are engaged in certain negative behaviors, reality is never pretty. In many cases, it’s ugly.
It’s ugly that you keep making the same mistakes over and over again. It’s ugly that you feel that you’re often locked into a tight range of options when certain financial cues come to mind. It’s ugly that you feel you’re locking into a particular pattern that you can’t seem to break free of. However, you need to be realistic about your problems so you can make serious breakthroughs. You have to get over that sense of denial.
Unfortunately, when people take critiques personally and they feel that they’re being attacked, they really rob themselves of progress. Why? They prevent honesty from benefiting them. Instead, they’re just so busy trying to put up appearances and they’re so busy trying to keep their feeling from getting hurt that they end up not making any progress. You end up not getting as much results from the support group as you could have. Worst of all, you might be setting a bad example for other support group members. They feel that, “Oh, since it’s okay for you to take things personally, then they can take things personally as well.”
Negative attitudes are very infectious. So be part of the solution instead of just making everybody’s problems all that much worse.
I see this all the time. People would join a group, and all of a sudden, they form a clique. And this group of people would then make enemies of everybody else.
You have to remember that when you join any kind of support group, whether you’re trying to get over nicotine addiction, alcoholism, drug addiction, or any kind of addictive behavior, you’re all on the same page. You’re all on the same boat. You’re all trying to resolve the same set of problems.
This is no time to think that you’re better than others. This is no time to judge others. Instead, focus on collaborating. There is no “us” and no “them”. There is only “we”.