You’re not supposed to get kicked out of a support group.
I mean, if you’re a total dick and making fun of a person’s problems or you start telling everyone’s secrets on your personal humor blog (see what I did there?), then I can understand it. But I got booted for not showing up.
Initially I met with the group almost without a miss for three years. This is a men’s group where we sit around a circle and talk about our stuff every two weeks. The real life shit – dating, marriage, kids, work. You know, stressful life events. They’ve been present for me when I was going through my divorce and other difficult times.
Well, after years of going, I simply stopped. Not for any other conscious reason than I was lazy and didn’t want to go. It wasn’t personal toward the men – they’re nice enough guys and I cared about them. I was just being selfish. We didn’t have any rules around not showing up, mind you.
Before I knew it seven months had gone by. I had let a long time elapse. I definitely had disappeared. I was busy dating, writing, and involved in other activities. We were meeting for three hours at a pop every other Monday night. That’s a lot of time.
I kept in touch with several of the men because we were friends. My intention was to go to the meetings, but every time I found a reason not to go. Sometimes it was legitimate (I had a date or a busy work night), and other times I just went home and watched Breaking Bad.
I finally made it back a month ago. I walked in, sheepishly, and was greeted with hugs and warm welcome. People said they were happy to see me. I kept my mouth shut as I felt lousy about not being present for so long. We went around the circle to check in, and before it got to me one guy exploded.
He started in on me about not being around for seven months. Okay, I get that. I deserve a little abuse. I listened and watched as he told me he had “fury” towards me, and how something I did about year ago fucked him up so bad that he couldn’t leave the house for three weeks. I had no idea about any of this, and he obviously harbored this resentment for a long time.
I kept quiet because it didn’t make sense to argue with this man. After twenty or thirty minutes of this tirade he got up, said he didn’t feel safe and stormed out.
I, understanding that I had failed the group by not showing up, owned my mistake and apologized to the other men. I told them I was recommitted to showing up, and I would like to rebuild the trust that may have been damaged in my absence. At the end of the meeting they embraced me and told me to come back. I was a little freaked out about the guy who had yelled at me, but I figured he’d get over it. Several weeks went by.
A few days ago one of my friends in the group called and said that the rest of the members had been talking about me over email and decided I was to be kicked out. This has got to be a first in this organization. I was dumbfounded.
I re-committed to my friend that I was interested in the group and willing to do what was necessary to rebuild the relationships I had apparently damaged. I also reminded him that everyone (except for angry guy) had embraced me and told me to come back. Apparently they had changed their minds.
I have never been kicked out of a support group, nor any group mind you. I was angry and hurt – this felt personal. And it didn’t add up. But, I wasn’t privy to their conversations and I have no idea what the real beef was. My friend couldn’t exactly put it into words.
Who knows if it was the disturbed guy putting his foot down or something else? I have no idea. But I decided I would just sever ties (they didn’t want my ties anyway).
I’d be lying if I were to say it’s not affecting me any presently. It stings a bit. But, I made my choice by not being present and must accept the consequences. I’m still unclear on why me not being around lead to getting kicked out – I’m in other groups where we welcome anyone who shows up whenever.
Anyway, since I now have every other Monday night free, I’ll try to do some more writing. Just don’t boot me out of your Twitter or Facebook feed. That would really hurt.
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