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When Your Story Is Too 'Complex' for Support Groups

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I don’t get the same validation as others in suicide support groups because of the stigma surrounding sibling abuse. I learned this early on in my healing journey.

The first suicide support group I attended didn’t know what to do with my story. Whenever anyone else shared, they would be met with validating comments or a tissue box. My story was met with radio silence. After an uncomfortable pause, the group simply continued onto the next person’s story. I felt like my struggle was too complex and horrible for them to hold space for and validate. Because of how alone and invalidated I felt at the end of the meeting, I didn’t join another suicide loss support group until years later.

There are people like me who feel stigmatized, even in suicide support groups. The stigma we feel prevents us from opening up and further alienates us from the world. It’s big step for survivors with additional stigmas to tell their stories. As suicide survivors, we feel stigma from society about our grief. I hope we can hold space for survivors who are different than us because we all deserve support and love in our most vulnerable moments.

Getty image via Drazen Zigic

Originally published: December 17, 2020
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