PEER SUPPORT


All Kinds of Roads Lead to Love

Peer Support has a strong following.

At its most normative it is the fellowship of members of a suffering group.

Frankly the suffering can be at any level. Mothers at a baby and toddlers group; men at the pub chewing over grudges in the office over a couple of pints and a lot of disassociation and a tendency to dissociate from problems and an equivalent tendency to ‘boast’ about capacities and ‘gains’ – sexual, ….mainly sexual… linked in with self representations as ’empowered’ despite underlying ‘power’ issues…

Those ‘peer support’ groups which lean toward such as mental health survivor groups (/service user groups etc) possess an almost beautiful tendency to accommodate feelings of vulnerability, of failure, of anxiety, of underlying fear.

It is not that we would want anyone to embrace fear.

It is the reverse of what anyone should embrace.

However.

To embrace the honesty of the experience indicates an HONESTY.

Apparently ‘honesty’ is easier to embrace if one is a woman.

Women find it easier to confide in each other about their fears of failure – failing to be the ‘perfect mother’; ‘perfect homemaker’; ‘perfect earner’; ‘perfect body’; ‘perfect face’; ‘perfect lover’; ‘perfect all-rounder’…

It makes it much easier for us. By seeing ourselves as imperfect everywhere we have so much less pressure weighing down upon us…

By having so much less pressure weighing upon us we have a greater chance of achieving anything at all…

Is that a possibility?

What is ‘woman’s priority’? On the whole, by the time most women get to 30 or 35 (more likely 25 maximum as a median average) they have already chosen that the care of their children counts as top priority.

This subsumes their identity to another(s).

Meanwhile men, on the whole, are stifled by this commitment, since their commitment is predominantly still to themselves. On the whole – if a problem arises in their relationship with a female, even their parenthood will prevent them from continuing as a committed partner. Or parent. Their focus remains upon themselves.

This has multiple consequences. Although it has apparent unfortunate indications for women who are trapped by their emotional social commitments of minors depending upon them, thus tending toward lower incomes to support them: they tend to have strong friendships with fellow women including family members, and a very strong sense of purpose.

Men on the other hand are weak by comparison. Why are they weak? Because of their solitary commitments and because of their fear of confessing or showing weakness.

Perhaps where they are able to declare their victimisation at the hands of one woman they may be able to ‘buy in’ to another woman’s sympathetic loving commitment. Indeed, I’m sure we are all keenly aware of one or two men whose social (and sometimes financial) ‘salvation’ is gained this way.

How long will this last once the perpetrator of male misery has paled from view, however?

No – let’s return again to the strength of woman to woman solidarity and what it can teach men, and men and women.

A woman who tends to the misery of man to the exclusion of her own woes is as a mother to a son. A man who does similarly is as a father to a child.

The strong ‘peer support movement’ between members of the ‘mental health service users and survivors movement’ is one which can withstand strong challenges from both strength and weakness because of the empathy that holds between members.

If we forget this side of the movement and simply focus upon ‘professional commitments’ of ‘research’, ‘committees’ and ‘meetings’ – we have lost the war. Never mind the battle. Just de-frock and go home. The strength is surging through the feminine in a manner that has nothing to do with ‘feminism’ or ‘being a woman’.

It’s all about ‘yin’ and ‘yang’. I haven’t a clue which is who. But I do know that femininity needs to surge in order that humanity survive.

Amen to that.

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