Emotional Boundaries Aren’t Fixed Positions But Are Fluid
A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nature made us individuals, as she did the flowers and the pebbles; but we are afraid to be peculiar, and so our society resembles a bag of marbles, or a string of mold candles. Why should we all dress after the same fashion? The frost never paints my windows twice alike. ~Lydia Maria Child
1. From smitty (Havingcouragetochange) : “No Time for Procrastination”:
We are moving. Moving is stressful, and Mom also has an addiction to looking for the bad.
I do not need my emotional temperature taken by a mom with a personality disorder to add to my anxiety.
I called a few times today to head mom off at the pass, only to get a busy signal. My intention was to express that it would be great to talk AFTER we have made the move.
After coming home from a going-away party, I remembered my intention.
DH told me that my mom would not like her setting boundaries for her.
Well, I don’t set boundaries for problem people. I set boundaries for ME, and my peace of mind and sanity. I am clear that I do not want my mom calling to “look for the worst” when the movers are changing our lives forever. (It is a little like someone calling to see how you are doing when you are in the throes of childbirth. I will take that call later, thankyou, when my new life has arrived :>)
So, I just rang one last time for the day, and it rang through. I told my dear mom to let us give her a call after we’ve done our move. I was Kind. Gentle. Upbeat. On the answering machine.
As I left the message, I gave myself an out, not to answer her calls.
Told her if she could not reach me, that it was probably because we were busy with details regarding the new house.
It will be her business how she decides to handle this. A daughter has to know her limitations.
2. From Christina (Happiness): “What’s the right thing to do?”:
Lately I have enforced some pretty important boundaries without any qualms. No real need to explain it to the degree that I need confirmation that its been understood. That’s a great feeling, but I find that it only comes when I am very threatened that I will be harmed if the boundary isn’t enforced. Kinda like I don’t want to shoot anyone with a gun but I will if MY life is threatened. I am now at a cross road where I need to rescind an offer of sorts and I am in a quandary as to whether or not I need to explain myself. The offer is actually a response to something someone asked of me. I agreed to what they needed, but in a manner acceptable to me. Now I have changed my mind. And I’m not sure how to deal with it.
If it were a “normal” friend with whom I am in good, harmonious relationship with, I’d simply make the call and offer an apology and explanation. But it is not and I am angry. Partly at this person, partly with myself. I always give too much even when I’ve been hurt. I need to end this “thing” for lack of a better word. But do I do it in silence or not?
I need to do what’s right for me, but not necessarily in a manner to hurt someone else. Damn, everything I write one of these *dilemma* posts, the answer always comes at the end. I know what I ought to do. I just don’t want to do it.
3. From Natalie ( Baggage Reclaim): “When Someone Thinks That It’s Okay to Keep Disappointing You…But Not Others. ER…No It’s Not”
I learned from first-hand experience that if a person thinks that you’re blinded to who they really are, or you do know but don’t seem deterred, or they’ve been manipulative with their compliments to sell you their behavior – “You’re so kind, generous, understanding, and supportive..” or even “I’m so glad you’re not like everyone else making demands on me..” – which you lap up and see as a compliment while they’re slipping their shady behavior under the radar, they will gradually become increasing complacent and even careless about your feelings and your relationship. They’ll also feel free to disappoint you if they know that you’re validation hungry.
If someone believes that you’re so enamored with them that you won’t leave, create conflict or consequences, or at least tell them to jog on (and mean it) when they try to push the boundaries, not only will they relax, but they just won’t value you enough to genuinely fear the loss of you.
When they can keep disappointing, it’s because they’re being believedin and given another chance, when really they should be getting the heave ho or at the very least, an increase in boundary security.
Of course disappointments can and will happen in life, because it’s inevitable that people, things, and situations will fail to live up to our hopes and expectations for them. That said, what you don’t want is certain people keeping you in their mental It’s OK To Disappoint Rolodex.
No it’s not OK and actually whether you say it verbally or through action, make sure that you communicate this and stick to your guns, because when someone experiences medium to long-term consequences as opposed to short-term, hollow ones that they can eventually brush off and weasel their way back in on, they know to think twice about letting you down or recognize that they need to move on, because even if they appease you on a surface level like they do others, they’re never actually going to stump up with substance anyway.
And that’s something else to remember here – yes it would be nice if they saw fit to not disappoint you, but all that glitters isn’t gold and when you take them off their pedestal, you’ll see that due to their surface action, they have very little, if any, genuinely intimate, healthy substantial relationships. Even if you got what you think that they give everyone else, they’d still disappoint you on a deeper level.
The greatest amount of disappointment actually comes from continuing to hold out hope after someone has shown and told you who they are. Trust the feedback from their actions (or lack thereof) and instead of lowering your self-esteem, it’s time to adjust your perception and expectations of them, and act accordingly.