Jump to content
×
Are you looking for the BariatricPal Store? Go now!

SURGERY SUPPORT GROUP NEGATIVITY: How to deal



Recommended Posts

SURGERY SUPPORT GROUP NEGATIVITY: How to deal?

My surgeon's practice has a FB support group for pre and post op WLS patients, including his practice partner's patients. I joined as soon as I had my first appointment and three months post-op I'm still a member. I met many other members face-to-face during our pre-op classes; we had 6 total modules, including one online right after COVID happened. People did not talk much in person, but the FB group has always been active.

At first reading the support group posts every day was nothing but positive. I posted a question or shared sources for Vitamins or Protein products, as did many others. A few people who were several months to a year or more post-op regularly posted encouraging and uplifting posts. The group is moderated by nurses and other practice staff people. The other surgeon posts and comments on our posts now and then.

All was well, until it wasn't. Slowly negative posts and comments seeped in. A regular round robin of complaints, misery, fear, and misinformation became established. A negative post or comment would lead to other negative posts/comments. A staff member warned about posting misinformation , specifically about others "diagnosing" each others' medical issues or food questions. Some of that tapered off, but the general complaining and misery kept up at a regular pace.

I must add that right after COVID began many of us, myself included had our surgeries postponed. Pre-COVID my surgery was earmarked for April 2020; I wound up getting sleeved on October 2020. For my own sanity, I chose to keep my head down and keep grinding, as did many others.

Also, around this time our surgery practice lost some of their support staff; suddenly calls were not being returned or even answered; lab tests were not always called in before we showed up for blood draws. Real problems to be sure. Many people in the support group chose to put the staff/practice on blast in the group posts/chat. This continued even after we were told by the moderators 1) the reason for the problems 2) possible solutions 3) the best way to get answers (email your Patient Navigator or one of the Group Moderators directly.

After a brief respite, the Negativity Ship sailed once more, this time with an emphasis on bodily functions and over-the-top complaints about a certain staff member.

I noticed that several of the most positive members who were enjoying great success, as well as the usual ups/downs, were suddenly missing in action. And I found myself less willing to visit the page. I missed the old pleasant and mutually supportive atmosphere.

A couple days ago after outright personal attacks on a staff member, the group admin took down posts/comments and posted a long memo about the situation in particular, the negativity in general, and why handling complaints publicly in such a manner was damaging to everyone involved. They also mapped out the direct ways to get questions/problems answered.

I thought maybe this whole scenario was peculiar to our little (well, not so little as there are over 1000 of us) support group. But then I saw it happening in a second , national WLS group. When a dear friend called me in a panic over outright lies being shared about the consequences of gastric sleeves, I was convinced this is a more wide-spread problem.

My questions: Have you experienced WLS support group negativity or toxicity? How did it impact you? How did you deal with it? Did you leave the group, participate less, or find some other options for support?

Thanks for reading this small booklet!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, TheMoxieMama said:

Thanks for reading this small booklet!!!

I love small booklets 😆

1 hour ago, TheMoxieMama said:

My questions: Have you experienced WLS support group negativity or toxicity? How did it impact you? How did you deal with it? Did you leave the group, participate less, or find some other options for support?

Yes I have seen and dealt with it. I mostly try to ignore it or choose very carefully where I want to participate. I'm trying to give everyone a *little* grace these because we're all having a rough time in some way. I think we're likely to see patterns of general negativity rise everywhere especially when times are tough.

The simplest thing can be to leave those negative platforms. That may be the right choice for your happiness and well being.

A harder path maybe to try and push out the negativity. Positivity can spread just like negativity, but it takes more effort to cultivate. Viktor E. Frankl's writes in his memoirs of the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning :

"For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best."

This always stuck with me. I couldn't understand how someone who experienced the very worst of human behavior could find peace again (if you read the book he outlines his philosophical theories).

I hope the forums (and world to a greater extent) become positive and enjoyable again ♥️

Edited by GreenTealael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the only WLS group I participate in here on the Bariatric Pal forum, so I have no other experience with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, TheMoxieMama said:

My questions: Have you experienced WLS support group negativity or toxicity? How did it impact you? How did you deal with it? Did you leave the group, participate less, or find some other options for support?

What's negative or toxic is in the eye of the beholder.

Keeping this in mind I definitely say: yes, the WLS community can be really toxic and negative in quite a few ways.

I simply participate less and avoid certain discussions and/or members.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@GreenTealael Thank you for your thoughtful response.

I read and loved Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning when I was in my 20s. I will be reading it again soon for a spiritual book club group I recently joined on FB.

I lean more towards the quote you shared than simply leaving the groups. I do participate less, but when I do my goal is to help grow the positivity. And by positivity I don't mean a kind of pretend "everything is awesome" vibe, but more of a leaning towards hope and kindness.

And I'm glad you love booklets! 😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really only participate here on BP and on one particular thread on Obesity Help, one that is made up of mostly vets, some of whom have been on the thread for years so we know each other pretty well. Haven't noticed it in either place - although I guess I'm not surprised there's negativity in some groups given the kind of year we've had (esp COVID). I think a lot of people are stressed out or depressed due to it, so that's likely a huge factor in negativity. Plus all the postponed surgeries (also thanks to COVID)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, TheMoxieMama said:

How did it impact you? How did you deal with it?

Yeah, I’ve seen/read many posts of various members that annoy/bother/upset me. Crossing paths with those whose views (and how they express them) that are antithetical to yours is a reality in life. I mean, we are all different, so of course there will be a whole spectrum of beliefs/thoughts/actions out there.

For the most part, I just ignore it and move on. Though there have been instances when I felt VERY strongly AGAINST something posted and I would post a reply...mostly for the attempted benefit of the other readers of the thread, as in my experience, its is very unlikely that one can change the mind of the “offending” OP.

I find that the helpful generally outnumber the unhelpful on here, so there is hope.

P.S. The VERY unhelpful have been known to get booted out of here by administrators (Mikey/Superman, anyone?), i think in part to others “reporting” the unhelpful behaviour. So PSA to anyone: use the “Report” button if you feel someone crossed the line...its there for a reason.

P.P.S. Using the term “unhelpful” may not be indicative of what I’m trying to convey, but I’m sure y’all know what I mean.

Edited by ms.sss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been on both Facebook and two other groups. This is the one I stay on but not for negativity reasons on one group and the other one I was attacked for telling members that there were other support groups and to try to find the ones best for you. The person was mean and posted that I should not talk about any other groups as encouragement. I apologized and said that I was only told by my Dr (who has their own weekly in face meetings) that anyone having had surgery should find as much support as they can get from groups and to just try and see which are a good fit.

Another was a good group but I am atheist and it was largely religious. It was an awesome support group for those with largely Christian beliefs but not a good fit for me. One group on fb did begin to become judgmental in responses and not so understanding to members who were older with families that had valid concerns. The members themselves would respond with comments that were mostly attacking or sarcastic and hurtful. It was addressed but I just left the group and it was fine.

One of my favorite groups besides this one is for a group that is specific to women past menopause and over 50. For me, that is a very good fit and I use that group as well.

If this group you are on makes you feel the way are relaying, it's not a good fit for you. This site is actually very informative and largely neutral in answers or encouraging. I have seen very little negativity but on the rare occasion I run across it, it's addressed and then let go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My surgeon’s office has a Zoom support group twice a month, and while it remains positive most of the time, people have been really negative about COVID. Any time it has gotten negative about a person, the moderator offers to do a private call with the individual, which I think is a good strategy. Sometimes people just need to vent or be heard. I would feel the same way as you if the support group took a turn like yours did - I honestly would have not been as patient as you, LOL!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recent Topics

  • Most popular:

  • Together, we have lost...
      lbs
    ×