The following text is an excerpt from a conversation with Todd Goodwin, Board Certified Hypnotist at GoodwinHypnosis.com, who was interviewed by Conor Flynn, host of the Rx Podcast (DrinkRxCoffee.com), on July 30, 2018.
This seventh segment explores the risks of becoming emotionally dependent upon support groups.
CONOR FLYNN: And isn’t that bad, psychologically, these days, that people turn to social media platforms for the emotional support versus their day to day social networks of having the friends and family around you. Isn’t that damaging, it’s not as good?
TODD GOODWIN: Well, I mean, there are benefits clearly. I mean, if someone is truly isolated, then having social media or people who can interact with them would be potentially life-saving if they’re in bad shape. So I can’t say it’s across the board bad. But it can be very unhealthy. I know people who something tragic, let’s say happened in their life, and they post about it, they get a whole bunch of people reaffirming them and saying, “Oh, it’s okay, everything will be great.” So basically, now, on the surface, that’s good. You know, people are reaffirming them, they’re supporting them. But ultimately, if that person learns at an subconscious level that when they’re hurting, and they talk about it, everyone rewards them. Then at a subconscious level, this person learns, “I get love when I’m suffering, so I’m going to suffer more. I get more love, so I’m going to complain more about my problems.” And then they get the emotional support, the brain chemistry, you know, the dopamine and the endorphins in the brain, which is how people get hooked on things like social media or drugs or gambling.
There’s this dependency that the disempowered person, the person who needs support, gets from talking about how month they got the flu again, and it’s been a tough winter. And people reply, “It’s okay. You can do it. You go, girl, you got this!” Right? People learn that when they complain, and when they show off their wounds, people pat them on the back. No one comments, “Get over yourself! You’ve been complaining for months, go do something about it!” Because that person would be completely flamed by everyone around them or unfriended.
CONOR: There’s a saying, you know, the only thing more contagious than a positive attitude is a negative one. But do you think that the reason why people do this, I’m just thinking from a psychological aspect? Kids, for example, they’ll fall down, they’ll get back up if nobody sees them, right? But the minute they fall down, and everybody’s like, “Oh, my gosh, are you okay? Are you okay?” Then they start crying, they make a big deal out of it. So maybe it stems from some of that subconsciously, from when you’re a child, and you get the attention, because they’re not really hurt. But I guess that’s the same, you know, your maybe your receptors are firing the same type of way, because you’re getting that attention.
TODD: Yeah, it could be. That makes a lot of sense. Then of course, if a child falls, and if they’re not really hurt, the parent can tell that they’re not really hurt. And usually when they fall, it’s really best to not give them a lot of attention. You say, “Okay, all right, well, you’re all right, let’s get up.” And the kid will usually look at the parent for input on how to behave, and if the parent is upset, the kid plays right into that. So that could be where it’s learned, but people can learn at all times in life, or unlearn. If someone learns from an emotional challenge in life that being coddled and supported is a real benefit to them, they’re going to keep doing it. This is part of the trap of support groups, you know, divorce support groups, anxiety support groups, support groups for grief, for people who have had a miscarriage.
I know someone who was in an online support group for three years, or two years. She and those other women in the support group, which didn’t have any expert in mental health moderating it, she said, “People in the real world don’t understand.” If you look at what she’s saying, the “real world,” which means if you’re not in the fantasy world of the support group, the imbalanced perception of the support group, where life is unkind, and so you need to lift each other up, then you just don’t get it. So you who have never experienced something like this, you never experienced the loss of a child like that, you don’t get it. “Don’t talk to me about getting over my issues, because you don’t understand.” While I have compassion for someone who’s gone through that, it’s a very disempowering mindset for them to have. Because any of us can get over our issues, if we shift the way we think about it. And if people defend their problem or defend the “treatment” of that problem and then become effectively addicted to the treatment, then that itself is a new problem. It’s not just the medical treatment, because we’ve talked about some drugs are addictive as treatments. But really, what’s more addictive is the social reinforcement.
The next segment discusses emotionally compulsive habits and addictions.