A strong support system- at least that’s how we perceive them to be, but is it really in our best interest to develop relationships solely based on shared trauma?
The way we approach our trauma can either make us victims, or it can turn us into evolved, conscious co-creators who are willing to analyze every aspect of our healing. In analyzing these friendships, we must be aware of the paradigms we share, as well as the pattern of conversations and emotional states which take place.
Lets be honest- many of these relationships are found in support groups and may seem to be beneficial, but when we really take a look at them, we will find that more often then not, they are preventing us from altering our thought patterns and paradigms in ways which will benefit our growth and overall well-being.
Based on my own experience with these types of relationships, I created a list that can be read through and checked off to help the reader determine whether their friendship is helping or hurting them.
Positive Impacts of Shared Trauma Friendships:
o Having a support system which understands the impact of the trauma.
o Having a trustworthy friend to communicate feelings and thoughts without feeling invalidated.
o Sharing coping techniques, knowledge, and methods to heal mental & physical wounds.
o Having a friendship in which growth is encouraged and can be shared with each other.
o Comfort and reliability.
Negative Impacts of Shared Trauma Friendships:
o Growing too comfortable with just that one individual, preventing self from building trust in family, other friendships, co-workers, peers, and mentors.
o Stagnancy in growth as a result of being too comfortable.
o Lingering on experience of shared trauma and negative impacts of the trauma (mentality, physicality, emotional patterns)
o Co-dependency for the individual, creating an out-of-balance relationship and placing unnecessary responsibility on other individual.
o Maintaining the idea that you are both victims- and feeding it. This includes seeking pity from outsiders as a joint-effort.o Developing tunnel-vision; seeing life from the eyes of a victim, focusing on the trauma, and constantly beating yourself down with negative thought patterns.
Be observant.. detach yourself from any emotion or belief while analyzing these relationships, and you will know whether they are in your benefit or doing you a disservice.
It isn’t recommended that you “cut them off” or flat out end the relationship, but to slowly redirect the conversations you have and guide them into one of harmony and acceptance. If it seems impossible to do this with some individuals, then I would suggest slowly pulling yourself out of the friendship, with grace and in the most loving way possible, taking with you the valuable knowledge you’ve learned in the process.
If you’ve made an attempt to correct the pattern of harmful speaking in these relationships, and there are no different results, it may be best to flat out explain to the other why you don’t think it is benefiting either of you to continue the bond.
It takes a lot of courage to analyze and correct harmful thought patterns, paradigms, and belief systems, and what we resist will only persist, so it is important to make sure you are not ending one harmful act only to be replaced with another. (Ending one stagnant friendship to replace it with another, for example.) It can get exhausting when you continuously try to avoid learning the lesson the universe and your higher self have laid out for you.
What you resist, persists. Take responsibility for every aspect of your life (including friendships,) share your knowledge, and have forgiveness for yourself and others. You will always win if you take this route.