Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW: Support group for destructive relationships

Mary Ann Glynn adBy Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW, located in Bernardsville, New Jersey

Last summer I got a support group off the ground comprised of clients, all of whom had been in a relationship with a narcissist, sociopath, psychopath or combination thereof. The reason I began the group is because, first of all, there appears to be an epidemic out there of conscience-free people who are destroying the lives of their partners. Just in my practice there were enough clients to start a group. Now there are many others.

“Nobody heals alone”

The other reason is that I understand and believe in the power of support groups. I heard an interesting quote last year in a workshop: “Nobody heals alone”. This is based on findings in neuroscience around the growth of mirror neurons. Mirror neurons form in the brain when we are infants and children from the interaction we have with our caretakers. When our caretakers are “attuned” to us, mirror neurons “mirror” that atonement. The implications are that we are taking in what we’re being shown — (hopefully) the feeling of love and attachment. This feeling of atonement creates a sense of safety and security, a sense of ourselves, and even a moral sense, because in it is based on the shared emotional connection.

Healing occurs when someone “gets it”

Later in life we can still grow these mirror neurons when we experience attunement of others to us. This has been found to aid greatly in emotional healing. We all know how it helps us to process our emotion and how soothing it is just when someone “gets” us. It seems perhaps that since we are social creatures, the way to heal is through social connection. Having a good friend, therapist, or healer can create this experience.

How much more so by walking into a room with many people who are struggling with or have been through the same thing? The “get” factor is tremendous — especially in the unique situation of being with a sociopath. Few really understand except those who have been through it, and few understand the Post Traumatic Stress associated with it.

Relief through sharing

Participants in our group generally experience a huge sense of relief just being there in the same room together. People share their current or past struggles, and are guaranteed understanding and feedback from others’ experiences to cope with the PTSD issues, the separation or divorce issues, the children issues, the no-contact struggle, the fears and the victories, not to mention information to gain clarity. Since getting emotional support appears critical to everyone, I hope to incorporate separate meetings to do various healing techniques to help along the healing process.

Join the group

If anyone is in the Central/Northern New Jersey area, please feel free to contact me about attending our group. You can also join by going to Meetup.com and searching for “Relationships with Narcissists, Sociopaths & Psychopaths” (make sure you search the proper distance around the area to include your town). Meetup sends out continual alerts and updates regarding the group.

When I get a few interested people, I hold a live online support group on the group website:


So if you are interested in this, please go to the website and fill in the contact form, and state that you would like to participate in an online group. If you need the support — no matter if you’re in the thick of the relationship and ambivalent about being there or left it 20 years ago — you are welcome!

Comment on this article

32 Comments on "Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW: Support group for destructive relationships"

Notify of

I agree. NO CONTACT is the answer. My husband used to be manipulated by the ex because he was walking on egg shells all the time, that she might go off and hurt the children just to hurt him. Or she would ruin his reputation at work so that his clients would drop him and the community would judge him. HE FINALLY HAD AN “AH HA” moment when he realized it didn’t matter if he gave her all his money, did everything she ask him to do – IT DIDNT MATTER, because no matter what he did IT WOULD NEVER BE ENOUGH.
He realized he couldn’t buy peace. He couldn’t do anything to make her leave him alone. He couldn’t even buy a kind word. Even for the children’s sake, she could never just movein with her life and her new husband, she felt it was her life mission to make sure my husband suffered…
For what though? Marrying her… She is the one who cheated for years and left him. So it’s hard to understand why she wamts to punish him so badly. She left him! She should be happy that he is not angry, bitter and vindictive. He let it go years ago. Like 15 years ago. He was basically guilted into marrying her because she lied and said she was pregnant. She wasn’t though. Every time he would be ready to leave because of her crazy unpredictable behaviors, like when she bought a gun, and almost shot the gardener. She would all the sudden become sick, even checking herself into the hospital, telling him she was dying. One time she purposely left a tampon in for days…. Yes I know.. This is sick and gross. But she did so in order to become sick. She got sick and almost died. Of course that kept him around a little longer, and even though she was cheating, of course he didn’t want to bring that up again when she is sick in hospital from toxic-tampon-syndrome or whatever


Send this to a friend