Finding your social support group is the hardest part of being a member of a social species with emotional desires for inclusion and acceptance. It starts at age 0 and continues throughout the life journey. We look for friends, family members who seem safe, partners we can team with long-term, and intellectual peers.
When we don’t feel like we are part of a supportive group of people, we may change who we are to fit in, even when doing so feels like an emotional death. We may cut out people who don’t meet our needs or wants. We may also isolate ourselves completely, or as much as we can, even from supportive people because we believe they may harm us eventually, which ultimately results in more loneliness and grief.
Is it better to stay in a group that is harmful or venture through life alone? It’s difficult to feel whole and fulfilled when placed in a blender of toxic relationships and being expected to cheerfully comply with the demands of the chaos. On the other side, it is difficult to feel whole and fulfilled in complete isolation.
There is something magical about finding the power to create distance between the self and the threatening other.
Once we recognize that we can say “no” to a relationship as a whole, we may be more willing to say “yes” to the parts we want to keep. In doing so, we can carefully craft a functional tribe of companions and collaborative associates without requiring any one person to be perfect. It also allows us to be included without the curse of perfection as well.