Mutual Bonds, Negative Or Positive?

When we're trying to figure out why we have such stressful lives, one of the things we can look at is what we are bonding with others over? What is the main thing we talk about with them? It's good to have someone to share activities with and talk with, vent with, share mutual support, but what is the real "bond", the thing that keeps you talking?

We might not realize that we've carried over the bonding habits of other people from childhood. Are we hanging out with people who are "naysayers"? Do we see ourselves as "logically cynical" so we're seeking others who also see themselves that way? Do we find ourselves gossiping about others? Are we bonding with people over substance abuse problems? Could we be bonding over an unhealthy admiration or adulation for another human, like a sports star or a cultish spiritual/religious leader? Are we bonding over self-destructive attitudes and habits? Are we bonding over MUTUAL DISDAIN or even hatred for others?
Do we really know what a "healthy bond" looks like, have we ever questioned it?

Healthy bonds revolve around positive language, communication, and outlooks. We can have mutual positive interests but STILL be "bonding" because of negativity.

For example Steve and Phil are musicians, and that's what they think their bond is, but their real bond is actually a desire to be "above" others. When they're not together, they find that they feel empty, stressed, and alone a lot, and they both use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. Joanie and Matt are musicians too, and they think their bond is music as well, but it's really their sense of humor and a love for creative projects. Music is something they have in common, so it facilitates their positive bond, just like music facilitates Steve and Phil's negative bond.

Lynn, Laurie, and Lisa do things together like going shopping, going to lunch, bowling, and having playdates with their kids; they think being Moms and Wives is what their bond is about. But what they talk about while they're doing these things is their real bond. These things they're doing together are not "mutual interests", they're mutual activities that anyone in their positions would be doing. So why exactly do the three of them choose one another to do these common things with? Are they bonding because of a positive thing, like a genuine mutual desire to heal or help others, so they talk about it and plan things while they're doing their other activities? Or are they bonding over negative things, like pointing out the "flaws" of other people at the mall, or gossiping about neighbors? Complaining about their lives? Is it really just a share addiction, such as alcohol or another substance? Even food? When one of them is going through a rough patch, do the others actually help them, or do they just give condescending "advice", or do they avoid helping?

Ralph, Les, and John do things together as well, like going to lunch, going bowling, bringing their kids to the park, and working on their cars. They think these activities are what "bonds" them, but like Lynn, Laurie and Lisa, their bonds are actually about their real common denominator. (John doesn't even really like to work on cars, and Les doesn't like bowling.) Their real common denominator is what they talk about while they're doing these other activities, and the other things they do as well. What do they talk about? Are they talking about Spirituality, or how they can be better fathers, or what they can do next with their families? Are they sharing supportive feedback about caring for elderly relatives, or do they talk about their mutual interest in animals? Or are they complaining about their wives and their kids? Are they hawking other women together? Are they pointing out "flaws" and making fun of other people? What do they all consume when they're together, is their friendship really just a mutual addiction?

Individuals in larger groups also bond this way. One religious group, for example, might be bonding on a shared genuine passion for shared joy, a beautiful world, and helping others, while another one might really be bonding over a shared desire for power and being "above reproach".

One men's club might really be focused on mutual support and helping the community, while another might present that way but is really just a shared desire for elitism, control, or shared addictions, or a mutual resentment toward women. Any new member who joins will often get sucked in, and often will not realize why he isn't feeling any better for joining this group.

Support groups and forums also form bonds this way; one support group might be bonding on learning and healing, but another one might find the individuals are bonding over mutual elitism or hatred. The first group will find healing, the second will of course sabotage it.

A group of people who are all artists or musicians, or science buffs, or science fiction buffs, or educators, or healers, etc., may come together for that main purpose, but their real bonding shows in their behavior and treatment of others. Are the INclusive, or EXclusive? Are they seeking to be the Star, or are they seeking resonance with others? Do they encourage and support everyone who shows up in the SAME respectful way, both genders, and all races and all body types? Or do they try to keep certain people in their group, and scare away others?

Are they trying to make certain others feel "small" or like they aren't good enough? Are they sabotaging, backstabbing, controlling, or shunning? Or are they honestly there for the purpose of sharing their interests and passions with other human beings? The way they treat all who show up and all who are there reveals their true motives.

Figuring out what we're bonding with others over can be a huge eye-opener, and help us improve our lives tremendously. Sometimes it's the one thing we can't quite put our finger on.