by Rami Henrich, LCSW
The Chicago Polyamory Support Group is now into its 6th year. The group has welcomed hundreds of people through its doors. Being an open support group, anyone can come at any time. Each month a topic is selected and each time the discussion flows — both on and off topic as the group process unfolds.
A recent topic was “Telling Our Stories,” — sharing ourselves and listening with hearts open and attentive minds. Thirty people gathered and each person had the opportunity (if they so chose) to tell their story — embracing an in-the-moment, impromptu telling. Nothing prepackaged or prepared ahead of time. What happened was moving, touching, inspiring, brought tears to my eyes and smiles to my lips for 2 hours.
Whether 30 seconds or 3 minutes in duration, each story spoke to the depths of each person who shared…stories of sadness, endurance, strength, tenderness, upbringings filled with love and caring, pain and sorrow. One theme that echoed throughout the room was that of feeling “weird, an outsider, of not belonging” both in families of origin and over the course of time in the world. The feeling of not belonging mirrored the experiences I have written about in a paper on the concerns and issues unique to polyamorous clients who seek psychotherapy. Interesting!
The Chicago Poly Support Group has grown into a community of people who provide a home where those of us who feel on the fringes of mainstream society can bring our “outsiderness” in and feel inside, where we, who feel weird, can feel normal in our weirdness, where those of us who feel like we don’t belong, do belong.
Longing for belonging, so personal, and so universal — especially for those of us who may feel that we don’t.