Boundaries. What Are They?

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Jillian

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #40 on: June 22, 2011, 11:40:44 PM »
I've been quite isolated lately too because of my health and can't socialize much or do activities that are good ways to meet people and so maybe I am coming across as needy too????  wacko blush 


Thanks for your feedback, Hopeful. I can relate to your struggles. I am guilty of being "needy" too. I used to cringe at that word when people would tell me that I was. But I didn't really understand what it meant. Now I know that it means that I seem needy to others when I'm asking them to essentially play the role of my parent and therapist. I had a rough time of a few friendships, and am struggling with my marriage, and of course trying to make sense of my attachment to my childhood feelings, so because of that, I have been taking a break from pursuing friendships. Kind of like someone might take a break from dating after a breakup. So I've been purposefully giving myself space. And when I feel the urge to call someone or just see anyone, or to beg someone to love me, I remember - oh ya, I'm on a break. I'm creating my own boundaries, I think, for my own childhood self. Funny thing... I've made friends and didn't even know it, even without "needing" them. I'm just being me, being authentic, and asking nothing. People actually like me and treat me better when my boundaries are securely in place. I get out quite a bit because of the kids, and I am in toastmasters. But I don't do these things with the intent of making friends (anymore). And wow, it's changed how I talk to people. So, boundaries for others and also setting boundaries for my own behavior (right now) while I heal, has really helped in this regard.

I totally know what you mean!  When someone treats me badly, I blame myself, wondering what signals I'm giving off that people pick up on that let them think I am a pushover ("bad boundaries"), or that I am just flawed because even my own family didn't like me, so how can other people?......trying desperately to make them like me so that they will be "nice" to me, 

I totally get the self-blame. I mean, it's obviously not their fault, cuz we're the needy ones, right? Arg. And the desperate need to make someone like me. I am learning - can't make people like me. I also tend to choose people to try to make like me who are like my parents - go figure. I think taking responsibility, now that's different. It's not our fault (blame) that they don't like us, but it's our responsibility to set boundaries for behavior we'll accept towards us from others.

You are so right, it's that expectation of being treated well that we need to focus on.  I am realizing that in the past my "filters" weren't functioning....that people could become my friend just because they seemed to like me (Yay!!!!!) or wanted to spend time with me (yay!!!!  I mustn't be as bad as my parents said!!!)
Can you relate to that too?

I can definitely relate. In fact, embarrassed to admit, my filters were worse. If someone showed any kind of positive regard towards me (and I liked them back), I took that as a sign that we could be CLOSE, and I desired to be close, without really knowing the person. I don't really know my parents that well - it's hard to really know a person with PD or one who is emotionally or physically unavailable. So if someone was nice to me, I got that, ding ding ding, they could love me! feeling. I'm learning to instead, if someone is nice, to need nothing from them emotionally until much time and experience has passed. I haven't reached the comfort with intimacy stage yet, tho. I'm scared. I am so used to the old way of "getting" people to like/love me, I'm not sure what it's even like to have a relationship (friend or closer than friend) without that feeling. Still learning. Boundaries are definitely part of that. And they are for me, not the other person, to remind me not to be so willing to let people hurt me for the sake of making sure they still like me. It's so hard!

It's tough sometimes to sort it all out, but I think just the fact that we are coming to some of these realizations about ourselves and where they likely stem from, we are well on our way!!!   

Absolutely! I love this perspective. :)

Thanks, Hopeful. Your insight helps so much.

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Hopeful at last

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #41 on: June 24, 2011, 06:31:28 PM »
Now I know that it means that I seem needy to others when I'm asking them to essentially play the role of my parent and therapist. I had a rough time of a few friendships, and am struggling with my marriage, and of course trying to make sense of my attachment to my childhood feelings, so because of that, I have been taking a break from pursuing friendships. Kind of like someone might take a break from dating after a breakup. So I've been purposefully giving myself space. And when I feel the urge to call someone or just see anyone, or to beg someone to love me, I remember - oh ya, I'm on a break. I'm creating my own boundaries, I think, for my own childhood self.

So, boundaries for others and also setting boundaries for my own behavior (right now) while I heal, has really helped in this regard.

Wow, Jillian, you just made a lightbulb go off for me! That makes soooo much sense!!!!  Here I was thinking how my friends just weren't being friends to me......I listened and tried to help every time they had a problem, but then felt so hurt when they didn't do the same for me, not realizing that I was actually trying to put them in the role of parent or therapist!!!!!   :blush: 
You are so wise to take a break.  It's true what you wrote about people doing so after a love relationship but not from friendships.  I'm going to try and take this time while I'm recovering physically to do that too.  Thank you!!!!
 
And the desperate need to make someone like me. I am learning - can't make people like me. I also tend to choose people to try to make like me who are like my parents - go figure. I think taking responsibility, now that's different. It's not our fault (blame) that they don't like us, but it's our responsibility to set boundaries for behavior we'll accept towards us from others.

That is very true!  As I have been taking stock of the relationships that I have ( or don't have any more) I'm realizing more and more how much the responsibility lies with me, especially for the friendships that are no more.  It's not only for not putting boundaries in place, but also for choosing to focus my efforts on people that share many of the traits of my parents and repeating the same old patterns of neediness, rejection, and emotional pain.


I can definitely relate. In fact, embarrassed to admit, my filters were worse. If someone showed any kind of positive regard towards me (and I liked them back), I took that as a sign that we could be CLOSE, and I desired to be close, without really knowing the person. I don't really know my parents that well - it's hard to really know a person with PD or one who is emotionally or physically unavailable.

No need to be embarrassed Jillian!!!  It's totally understandable why we, as children and then later as adults, have developed these faulty coping skills.  Every human being desires to love and to be loved and to have others that are close to them and understand them, liking them just as they are.  Unfortunately, we didn't have that as kids and its BANG ON when you said it's hard to really know a person who has a PD and is unavailable!!!  So, of course, we seek that out in others.  You are not the only one to seek that closeness or intimacy inappropriately.  I realize that I am guilty of seeking that or expecting it from others after just a short amount of time too, and I even sometimes have to do a lot of self-talk in public to keep myself from sharing too much or saying things to people I don't even know!   :blush: :o  And then I start thinking, wow, am I a total nutter????  No boundaries perhaps????!!!    hahaha 

I'm learning to instead, if someone is nice, to need nothing from them emotionally until much time and experience has passed. I haven't reached the comfort with intimacy stage yet, tho. I'm scared. I am so used to the old way of "getting" people to like/love me, I'm not sure what it's even like to have a relationship (friend or closer than friend) without that feeling. Still learning. Boundaries are definitely part of that. And they are for me, not the other person, to remind me not to be so willing to let people hurt me for the sake of making sure they still like me. It's so hard!


It is tough, I agree!  I feel kind of shell-shocked lately and am afraid to open myself up to more hurt and rejection. I also feel afraid sometimes in moments of self-doubt that I am just not meant to have friends, like everybody else has the "manual" and I didn't get a copy and don't know how a friendship operates.  From what I have read on the site, it seems like a lot of us who grew up in dysfunctional families often feel like an outsider.  Am definitely going to work on boundaries and like you are now doing, letting a friendship develop more "organically", for lack of a better word.  Also have to work on not backsliding when someone reacts negatively to my attempts to put a boundary in place for the first time in that relationship, and stand firm.  Like what Gary said, they may not like it, but might wind up respecting us more in the end and not admit it.  After all, they are used to us behaving a certain way and it probably seems strange for them when we are suddenly showing more self-respect and some backbone!   :aaauuugh:  We are all still learning.   ;)  Be proud of yourself though for how far you've come, being a good Mom, being part of Toastmasters and for all that you have accomplished already.......and for your wisdom!  Thanks again and take good care!   :D

 

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Hopeful at last

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #42 on: June 29, 2011, 09:34:13 PM »
Sorry I wrote such a long reply.....    :blush: 

Am thinking I need to establish a boundary for myself.  Have done some reflection and am realizing that I talk/write a lot and also talk loudly sometimes.   :-[ 
Pretty sure that it stems from being shut down (shut up really) and not listened to as a kid and as an adult by my folks, but I need to work on it.....
 :-\    :-[

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Jillian

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #43 on: June 30, 2011, 02:33:10 AM »
Sorry I wrote such a long reply.....    :blush: 

Am thinking I need to establish a boundary for myself.  Have done some reflection and am realizing that I talk/write a lot and also talk loudly sometimes.   :-[ 
Pretty sure that it stems from being shut down (shut up really) and not listened to as a kid and as an adult by my folks, but I need to work on it.....
 :-\    :-[


Hopeful, I think this, of all places, is where we are safe to write as much as we need.

What I'm learning is to recognize the places where it's OK to let it all out, and wear my vulnerabilities on my sleeve, and where to rein it in. Here, in therapy, and sometimes with my husband, I can free associate or be completely open with just how much is going on up in my psyche. Learning selective and situational boundaries is tough when raised by someone who has no boundaries anywhere. And learning to recognize when we've really gone too far (and aren't just imagining the other person is upset with us) is tough. I still get embarrassed about how much I reveal in therapy sometimes, and wish I didn't dominate the conversation so much - and I'm supposed to be the one talking and revealing in therapy! Just so much guilt associated with not being good enough and not being worthy of being listened to... like you said.

What you wrote about feeling like other people have the manual on how to get along and you didn't get it, is a familiar feeling for me, too. It's a good analogy, I think - we didn't get training on how to get along in a healthy way, and other people did. Not everyone, but certainly they are out there. I think it's important to forgive ourselves for not knowing something when we weren't given the tools to know them. Sometimes I feel like I'm re-living my adolescence and teen years, learning the things now that I was supposed to learn then. So when I make mistakes like opening up too soon to someone, or explaining myself so the other person won't be mad, or getting caught up in the "omg someone's listening to me I better tell them everything I'm thinking" blabbermouth, I remember - that's the young me reaching out, trying to learn. And since I'm on a break from trying to make friends right now, it's OK that the other person might be a bit annoyed with me. I'm not concerned with it (well, as bad as I used to be, anyway). If they are healthy people, they will forgive me.

It's all a big pretzel. Learning our own boundaries for ourselves, it's tough. Kuddos to you for all the work you've been putting into healing, through the stops and starts, to figure out your boundaries.


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Hopeful at last

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #44 on: July 05, 2011, 06:00:08 PM »
Oh Jillian, YOU UNDERSTAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
 Thank you for reassuring me that it's okay to vent or share on the site! I was feeling really ashamed and thinking that others on the site were probably thinking badly of me....  I find myself CONSTANTLY trying to gauge other people's thoughts and feelings and to do the "right" thing, make people happy, and not offend anyone (but seem to do so anyway!). 

Learning selective and situational boundaries is tough when raised by someone who has no boundaries anywhere. And learning to recognize when we've really gone too far (and aren't just imagining the other person is upset with us) is tough.

 It's true how you said we're learning things many other people learn at a much younger age.....I'm 40 and I so often feel like a child and see other people and wonder how they know all of these things and how all of these social skills and confidence seem to be almost second-nature to them.
I have faced a couple of rejections lately so I have been feeling really down too.  One of my "friends" has been quite negative lately and she has made various critical comments about me and how I'm not working, even though I am physically not able to right now.  And, the cousin who I have been close to for years is now the subject of a major campaign by my Mom and appears to be going over to "The Dark Side", believing the things my Mom says.  Although she is still keeping in touch with me, it feels different and not as close as before. 
My Mom has been inviting my cousin out on tons of outings, she began volunteering every week at the school where my cousin works, she's been giving her things, and, the latest, today my cousin went to stay for a couple of nights at the cabin where my Mom is staying for several weeks.  All of this while she has not called or written to me, even though she tells everyone about how "worried" she is for my health, has been bad-mouthing me to anyone who will listen, acting all "victimy", and telling everyone how I am ignoring her and not staying in contact with her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
I think I'm going to have to follow your example and truly take a break from the friendship thing until I have done a lot more healing because I feel like I have no self-respect, self-esteem, and have a super thin skin!  I said to my husband the other day how sometimes I feel like I have a sign attached to me that says "Kick me".  I read somewhere (maybe OOTF??) that when we grew up as the scapegoat, we give off signals to other people that tell them we don't respect ourselves and that we signal to them that it's okay to treat us badly.  I am so tired of being hurt and walking around wishing that I had a loving family and a group of friends like the ones I see in movies and tv.  I know that some people have them, so it does exist in reality! I'm hoping that with therapy I will learn whether I am picking the wrong people (some of them seem like they have a PD too, or am I reading too much into it????), whether it's these signals I seem to be giving off, or perhaps it's my lack of boundaries......or maybe it's all of them!!!   :aaauuugh:


Thank you so much for your kindness and for taking time to "listen" and write back Jillian.   ;D  I hope you feel freer in your therapy to just let it all out! 
Kudos right back to you, for being so strong, for working so hard, and for being so brave! 

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GoingNC

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #45 on: July 06, 2011, 08:41:55 PM »
... sometimes I feel like I have a sign attached to me that says "Kick me".  I read somewhere (maybe OOTF??) that when we grew up as the scapegoat, we give off signals to other people that tell them we don't respect ourselves and that we signal to them that it's okay to treat us badly.

Oh! I can relate to this, and Jillian:  everything you said was so spot on! 

Hopeful, I agree there's something we do that gives the PDs "permission" to act badly, and I'm on a quest to figure out what it is.  It may be exactly as you say - we don't respect ourselves, and they see that.  I've also thought that my tolerance for "crazy" is way too high (from growing up around crazy people).  Someone that "normal" people would avoid immediately I tolerate to some extent (I've been accused of being "too nice"), until it's too late.  At that point, I have to defend having any boundaries at all.  Something I wouldn't have had to do if I had kept them strong in the first place. 

I think you are doing wonderful to have even recognized you may have some responsibility in the entire dynamic - I spent years taking the victim stance in the dynamic (which is what my mother used to do).  Now, like you, I recognize that I'm partly responsible, and I actively seek to change whatever it is.  We will prevail!

I have not read this entire thread, so I hope I am not repeating something that has already been said...

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Hopeful at last

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #46 on: July 08, 2011, 04:41:36 PM »
Hi there GoingNC!

I have yet to figure "it" out too......one thing I am thinking that could be a signal is our posture. I noticed that I don't stand up tall and straight and instead, I kind of hunch in as if to protect myself......the light bulb moment came when I realized that I do it mostly around my FOO!  Also had a memory surface recently about how my Mom used to make fun of the way I walked and told me that I should take smaller steps, even though I'm about a foot taller than her. 
It could be an interesting experiment to have someone film those of us Nons in different situations with and without the PDs. 

I've also thought that my tolerance for "crazy" is way too high (from growing up around crazy people).  Someone that "normal" people would avoid immediately I tolerate to some extent (I've been accused of being "too nice"), until it's too late.  At that point, I have to defend having any boundaries at all.  Something I wouldn't have had to do if I had kept them strong in the first place. 
Very good point Going!  I think that tolerance is a good thing  (something the world needs more of!!!) but you're right, our filters or boundaries are off to begin with and so we tolerate much more than we should for our own well-being.  I know that when I'm faced with any kind of conflict, or even just having to be a bit assertive, my insides churn and I feel super panicky and unsure.  And when I feel threatened or mistreated it's hard because I tend to panic and will sometimes repeat the behaviours I learned growing up and either retreat or lash out.    :-[

I spent years taking the victim stance in the dynamic (which is what my mother used to do).  Now, like you, I recognize that I'm partly responsible, and I actively seek to change whatever it is.  We will prevail!
I bet a lot of us caught that "flea" of taking the victim stance, Going!  I still find myself slipping back sometimes but I have recognized that it usually happens when my Mom is on a rampage and trying to paint me as a villain to everybody.
 It takes a lot of strength to stop playing the victim role and you have done that Going, because you recognize that you have the power to change and are starting to put some boundaries in place to make sure you are treated properly.  A big pat on your back for getting out of it and working on changing things for the better.   :applause:
You are absolutely right, we will prevail and it just gets better from here!!!  ((GoingNC)) 

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Holly

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #47 on: October 28, 2011, 01:53:40 AM »
Hey, B.D., did you see gdsgirl analysis in the spiritual forum?  It's amazing!!  She analyzed each thing her ex did in alignment with PD traits or behaviors.  You gotta read it!!  I will put a piece here so you can find it!  Imagine doing this exercise to see where you are at.

Boundaries are the key!!!  They certainly work for me!  I feel it truly was kind to me and to my guy to put them in place.  I get more sleep now, have less circular conversations because I walk away and do not engage (but I say I love you before I walk, let's talk later when it's calm), I am respected more for my wants and needs...  It's amazing!  Plus,I don't enable him to keep repetitiousness behaviors going.  Identifying each behavior can help in establishing boundaries.  Labeling them and working with a scrip to say to deal when that behavior comes up. For example, when circular conversations come up, I  state I will hear this once, comment and then I walk with saying the above.  It's respectful to me!

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Re: How my faith has changed through EXPDh (OCPD/NPD) spiritual abuse
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2011, 05:26:40 PM »
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In working through the "spiritual abuse/Spiritual Narcissistic" behavior of a OCPD; I have taken the MOST prevalent PD behaviors that I experienced DAILY and still whenever in contact with him for any reason.

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Alienation - Alienation means interfering or cutting a person off from relationships with others. This can be done by manipulating the attitudes and behaviors of the victim or of the people with whom they come in contact. The victim's relationships with others may be sabotaged through verbal pressure, threats, diversions, distortion campaigns and systems of rewards and punishments.
Now, let's take this "christian man" that we are talking about and SEE how these behaviors FIT into a "christian lifestyle"...I have PROOF that my EXPD not only sabotaged the relationship between his daughter and myself but also my manager at work who's son dated my EXstepdaughter for a short while; thus trying to get me fired from my work of nearly 24 years.

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"Always" & "Never" Statements - "Always" & "Never" Statements are declarations containing the words "always" or "never". They are commonly used but rarely true.
Dec. 2010; in his kitchen, after son and I had been living separate for over a year and I was JUST realizing that "it was over" and I was ready to call an attorney; he said "I NEVER verbally abused you". THIS WAS VERY UNTRUE; others such as my mom, dad, sister, friends and neighbors SAW or HEARD with their own ears his behavior toward me. NOT to forget to mention the nurses, security guards, hospital staff when he visited me on Thanksgiving and told me  "You can't blame ME for you being in here". I was in the hospital for chest pains due to stress. I WAS in there BECAUSE OF HIM.

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Anger - People who suffer from personality disorders often feel a sense of unresolved anger and a heightened or exaggerated perception that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused.
More like RAGE; not only at me; sometimes he exhibited road rage as well. He would YELL and say that he was yelling because I was not listening to him. He could "whip himself" into a frenzy by me sitting there and listening; NO KIDDING!!!! He did not need me to have an argument; he had one with himself.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 02:17:04 AM by Holly »
Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

- Henry David Thoreau

Find the Light on your path.

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aquarius

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #48 on: November 14, 2011, 01:49:50 PM »
OK, I wish I had found this particular discussion earlier. Anyway, here is a reposting of something I wrote in another discussion.
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... I am not at all sure what my spouse's goals and objectives are with her personal counselor. More recently she has been exploring 'boundaries' and has even invited me to comment on her thoughts, and yesterday we even discussed this with our couples counselor. For the most part I agree with what she thinks about boundaries, but her final conclusion is "A boundary is therefor something you use for yourself to adjust your own behaviour - rather than something you impose on another to adjust their behaviour." This leaves me unsettled because if you agree with this conclusion, then by simple logic it implies, 'whatever boundaries I articulate, I cannot expect her to change her behavior.' Am I alone in thinking her conclusion is off the mark, and potentially an easy way for her to avoid responsibility or accountability? Here is my latest response to her:

If you were a parent, it would be up to you to adjust your child's behavior. If you were a law enforcement officer it would be your responsibility to change someone else's criminal behavior. The point I keep coming back to is that, 'we train people to treat us the way they do.' We all have a role in changing other people's behavior when that behavior is not appropriate and we have the ability and resources to do so.

Getting back to boundaries, I think Dr. X made an interesting point about representative anger vs. reactive anger. We can use things like representative anger, representative fear, representative anxiety, etc. to notify us that we first need to think about if a boundary is being crossed, and what that boundary may be. When we are clear with ourselves on what the boundary is we can decided how to deal with it
  • We can decide to remove ourselves from the situations or people that challenge that boundary.
  • We can politely and clearly articulate that boundary to others and hope that once they are aware of it they will respect it and change their own behavior of their own accord. They will respect the no trespassing sign if they see it.
  • After others are aware of the boundary, but they are unable or unwilling to stop challenging it then we need to make a decision - is this boundary worth defending? If my boundary is 'I don't like being ignored' then I might consider changing my own behavior to find productive and responsible ways to recognized. If my boundary is 'I don't like men making comments about my tits and ass' then you might feel it is not your responsibility to change your behavior because there are workplace standards that clearly support that boundary for all women, and someone else's behavior needs modification.
In my humble opinion, boundaries are not black and white issues, and they should be representative and not reactive.

I am requesting feedback on what I wrote.

It seems I may have confused 'boundaries' with 'rules', based on the first postings I read in this discussion. Does that seem to be the case?

It seems likely now that my spouse's conclusion was not necessarily hers alone, but likely developed in conjunction with her counselor as part of a general discussion on boundaries. Consequently it would probably be a good idea for me to follow up with her by saying "OK, I did some follow up reading on boundaries, and now I understand the conclusion you came to, and that was part of your personal vision statement and not really a discussion point." In the spirit of validating what she says, and not invalidating it, my goal is to reassure her we can share some common reality. Does this seem like an appropriate response on my part?

I guess in my own paranoid way :) I was feeling like I was being set up for something down the road. In the past I have often felt manipulated or drawn into some twisted logic, and in this case I think I overreacted because I did not understand her conclusion and assumed the worst. Does that make sense?

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Hopeful at last

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #49 on: December 16, 2011, 06:03:04 AM »
Hi Everybody,   :D

Just found this to be very helpful and wanted to share it!  I have, for a while, been quite confused about what exactly boundaries are and how exactly to use them......pretty typical for those of us raised in a dysfunctional family with PD parents who had no models of what healthy boundaries look like!!!!   :stars:

Hope it helps some of you like it helped me.  :tongue2:  Hopeful at last! 

http://www.joy2meu.com/Personal_Boundaries.htm



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GoingNC

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #50 on: December 31, 2011, 07:58:10 PM »
Hey aquarius, I can totally understand the confusion from overlapping needs/wants and desires.  I was just having a conversation with my youngest sister about maintaining morals and the problem with the resulting "judgment" that that implies (ie moral judgment).  The conversation was really about professional behavior, and not immoral behavior, btw.  But it all kind of overlaps, and it's difficult to sort out!

I think what your counselor was saying is that our boundaries are not designed to change other people, but rather to protect us and to let others know where we stand.  A line in the sand, without the resulting "challenge".  Keeping a boundary won't necessarily "change" the other person, but rather notify them to stop or move on.  Nothing will change other people, but we can protect ourselves. 

I had one successful day when I set a boundary with a co-worker.  It worked great!  At that moment.  But she hasn't changed, and the need to maintain boundaries when I'm around her hasn't changed, either.  It's ongoing, with her.

I yearn for someone to be close to that isn't so draining on my emotional resources.


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tomzdadster

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #51 on: March 16, 2012, 09:26:24 AM »
I've been trying to figure out what to do with this sort of friendship I have. 

It's someone who expressed interest in me when she knew I wasn't available, and didn't listen at first when I reiterated that I wasn't available.  Finally, I was listening to her talk about a fantasy she was having about the two of us being intimate, I told her, "What you are talking about is only happening in your head.  It's not reality."  It's like her head kind of snapped back a little bit, and she looked a little stunned, and she never talked about us getting together again.  Instead she talked about her resentment toward me for not being what she wanted me to be.  That didn't last too long and it was only overtly expressed a few times.

Then we were in this transitional time that was confusing.  I was in this position where I thought I really needed her support for me and for my family because I had just moved to this new town (not far from my old one, really), but I also had a lot of my own unexpressed resentment. 

Over the next few months, things began to feel a little more even, but very recently I started to get the feeling that he health is in decline, and I said something about it to her, and she shared some things about her own ideas for her future (she doesn't think she has much of a future) and relying on her teenage kids in a way that felt really kind of bad to me.  There was and is no threat or any direct consequence for me or my son, but it triggered my own unexpressed resentment. 

I'm really feeling that I should've recognized all along that I was dealing with significant boundary issues, and I'm working out how to create what I need now, and I've found the past two nights that my anxiety is REALLY high.  Some part of me really seems to feel that I am jeopardizing something or doing something wrong by creating more limits in this situation.  The feeling is just as if I were actually a little kid cutting myself off from my mother.  I'm dealing with these huge feelings of scarcity.

What I'm getting from this site: http://www.joy2meu.com/Personal_Boundaries.htm, which is the one some people have referred to in this forum, and I really like it, is that the key about setting personal boundaries is you have to accept the outcome, whatever that I may be.

And what I'm seeing from this person that I'm dealing with is that she was pretty much expecting me to set boundaries all along, kind of like people had cut her off a million times before, and she was totally used to it.  And now that it's playing out like that, it makes total sense, but, really, I'm the one that's having the problem with the change. 

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TOBATTTPD

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #52 on: March 30, 2012, 01:30:13 PM »
Thank you for all the great input here, really awesome, very helpful.
I was told by my counselor this... ask yourself this...

"Who has the problem here?"

This simple question has helped me tremendously..



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FreewillBliss

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2012, 08:21:14 PM »
I had to hesitate to answer this post. I grew up hearing about how my boundaries don't matter or that you can't say boundaries in Spanish, so why bother having them around my mother? I'm evading an old family friend who is coming to stay with us. This is out of a fearfulness of being anywhere near her because she's busy trying to get me to fall back into old patterns of passively taking my mother's garbage. She will try the nice route for sure. Maybe bring me a present to try to emphasize how much I need to just take what's given to me instead of doing the American thing and standing up for myself.

Her daughter is a nurse and has a house in their state. They moved out of state years ago, which was somewhat traumatic for me. They would be the people whose swimming pool we'd use in the summer. Her kids were like brothers and sisters to me growing up. I'm aware that her own family circumstances weren't ideal if you're a 9 year old cooking on a hot stove for your parents. I've met her parents.

In fact, I'm really nervous about seeing her. Just one of those bad feelings and if you're sensitive like me, you trust your intuition. I'm hanging out further north where there will be cooler weather. I can't help but remember when I wore my medicine bag with semi-precious stones inside, how she'd want to touch it. I'd step back to set the boundary that my religious perspective needed to be respected. She had some trouble with that one. I really wanted to be able to trust her, but something in me says don't. I don't trust people who follow the party-line that pressures my mother to stay married to my, narcissistic, PD dad. I refuse to trust some family friends that keep mom drinking instead of making her drink less or tell her, hey you say stupid stuff when you're drunk. There was that one family friend who told my dad to stop trying to be affectionate to her in a way that she felt was inappropriate. She is married to her husband, thank you, and to back off. She was polite. But it was in my doorway. The neighborhood might have seen that.

The way I keep my boundaries together at all is not to open my mouth. Just in case. Sometimes I can get really entertaining with a few coca colas in my body. I live the caffeine-free life these days. I'm tired a lot but its more worth it to me than forcing myself to be extroverted in a way I can't stand, in which I might say something rude. So I'm quiet. I keep to myself. There's nothing wrong with wanting that.

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gb5

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #54 on: May 17, 2012, 06:34:11 PM »
Haven't seen the answer to this part, though....what do you do with the PD who will not respect any boundaries? My husband and I are constantly told that our problem with his sister is that we don't set healthy boundaries. We try. But we end up like the East Germans trying to defend our version of the Berlin Wall. She is dedicated to tunneling under them, climbing over them, sneaking through our gate on the undercarriage of someone's car....you get the picture, I assume.


I just explained to someone that she is not simply a slightly difficult person. She has a real problem. The only boundary that has saved us any trouble at all is the geographical one of living as far away from her as is currently feasible. If we say we are not having a conversation about something, we get bombarded with voicemail or email about the topic. When we don't respond to that, she starts using other people to get to us---this weekend she ranted to a co-worker of my husband's about something when he was in her business and he turned up at work on Monday asking my husband about it. (Of course, in his perception she was sweetness and wounded light and why would we ever veto a b-day party for their dad....).

So...thoughts??? How do you make boundaries when someone is dedicated to destroying them?

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moglow

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #55 on: May 17, 2012, 07:17:34 PM »
Simply speaking, your boundaries are YOURS.  She doesn't have to respect them.  Boundaries are what separate us from other people - we can't realistically expect a disordered person to behave the way we want them to; some are going to continue simply because they can.
 
You decide what is/is not acceptable in your life (your boundaries) and you decide how to protect them.  They aren't rules for her to live by or demands on her behavior, they aren't an Emily Post of what is/is not civil or courteous behavior.  What she does/says with other people and how they handle that information is not your problem - they have to establish and protect their own boundaries, just as we all do.
 
There are a number of examples around the board.  One thing that sticks in my mind is the "unsolicited information."  Don't defend or explain why you don't care to hear it; just say thank you.  Maybe she means well, maybe she doesn't - you don't have to do anything with it or explain anything further.  Really, you don't.  She steamrolls people because she can, it's who she is.  It would/does drive me buggy too, but I've found the less I respond other than "thank you, I got it" the harder it is to force the issue.  She may keep on anyway ... okay.  Her stuff, not yours.
 
Really, thank her for her concern and leave it at that.  Don't even go into "we're not discussing that ..." Change the subject or just end the conversation entirely.  By continuing to respond, she's getting whatever feed she wants/needs.  You have to learn to make your personal decisions NOT about her or her reactions - it's not and it never was.  Doesn't matter that she doesn't see it that way. 
 
It's not easy but I've found that the less my mother knows about tmy life, decisions, etc. the better off I am - and the less she can interfere with useless foolish information.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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gb5

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #56 on: May 17, 2012, 08:49:00 PM »
MoGlow--Thank you for the reply. I've been a member for a few hours and I'm already learning so much and feeling supported by people who get it for the first time--just by reading their stories.

In the terms you define, we have boundaries. My husband has been especially strong with this. She actually thought I was the first woman he ever dated--and he was nearly 29 years old when we started dating. But one of his automatic boundaries with her had always been that he did not tell her about his dating life or his relationships. He has told me before that this was because she would have attempted to interfere. Except I knew her before him, so she knew we were dating. And she did attempt to interfere and is still doing it.

I think a lot of the people telling me we don't have boundaries with her are defining them as us finding some way to control her behavior. Which we will never be able to do. But we do have boundaries as you define them. We do not discuss certain things with her. We do not engage with her. She frequently demands that my husband take her side in some sort of formal confrontation against me in which my bad behavior (which is mostly made up) will be corrected by her. There is a strong boundary in place in that we tell her a conversation/confrontation is not going to take place in which she attacks me or my husband. My husband says no to her demands if they interfere with our life, plans or relationship (not that I don't say no--but she usually communicates with him and not with me--then periodically throws a tantrum that I don't communicate with her). And that means he says no to most things she asks.

What we don't and can't do is control her responses when we say no. And that's what friends are really telling me I have to do. And to make it harder, they tell me that if I don't, how she behaves toward me is my fault.

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moglow

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #57 on: May 18, 2012, 12:00:25 PM »
Quote
What we don't and can't do is control her responses when we say no. And that's what friends are really telling me I have to do. And to make it harder, they tell me that if I don't, how she behaves toward me is my fault.

Remember, those are people who are used to dealing with "normal" behavior.  They're saying those things based on their personal experience, just as we are all over this board.  My personal tolerance level for certain behaviors is pretty low due to what I've been through with mother.  I may have felt I didnt' have a choice where she's concerned, but a lot of what's "normal" for her I have not and will not accept from new people in my life.

There are lots of people who live in safe little bubbles, and bless them for it.  The reality is you can't ever control another person - not their behavior, words, responses, thoughts, nada.  What your friends are used to is normal people backing off when you tell them ENOUGH!  Not everyone will do that - your sis in law and my mother, for example. 

I've had to all but shut down any contact with mother to find peace.  She knows damned little about my day to day life because I don't tell her.  If she hears about it elsewhere and asks "Oh yeah, that happened." and I change the subject.  I don't give her anything to build drama on - she still does it but it's all invented and she's welcome to her fantasy world.

And honestly, your friends may be setting your expectations where they shouldn't reasonably be.  Your sister in law is not a reasonable person, she's proven that consistently over time - why on earth would we expect her to respond as such?  I've had WAY too many conversations regarding my mother with people who "oh but she's your mother, you don't mean that, you'll miss her when she's gone, you only have one mother, etc etc" ad nauseum.  They had/have different experiences and I learned who is/is not as supportive as I need where my mother is concerned.  It's not that some don't mean well; they just don't get it and are basing their responses on what they know.


“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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Varja

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #58 on: May 21, 2012, 04:15:57 PM »
What we don't and can't do is control her responses when we say no. And that's what friends are really telling me I have to do. And to make it harder, they tell me that if I don't, how she behaves toward me is my fault.

Sorry your friends don't understand the depth of your challenges. Perhaps it is actually fortunate they don't, because they may not have any experience with people with PD's.

I do understand how their passive-aggressive comments can hurt. Aleady frazzled from trying to cope with her; when we vent to people who "don't get it," sometimes they twist the situation and turn it against us.

Maybe this would be helpful to think about. Have you ever experienced difficulty controlling what you do? Ever have trouble dragging yourself out of bed early in the morning for an important engagement? Hitting the snooze button is very...... tempting, isn't it? How about witnessing someone suffer a minor injustice, and having the courage to step forward and support them? It is very tempting to simply turn a blind eye, isn't it? How about leaving a couple of cookies in the box, instead of eating the last ones?

My point is that we often have difficulties controlling ourselves. It is part of the human condition. To think we have the ability to control others isn't logical, is it?

Perhaps they're alluding to the fact that - since you continue to suffer from her behaviors - you could do something different to help alleviate your suffering. In my view, this is something to consider and you are the only one who can make this decision.

I'm not supporting your friends; only hoping to share a different perspective. When we continue to do the same thing (assert the same boundaries) yet continue to suffer from their behaviors, perhaps our pain is an indicator we might do something differently, thereby achieving a better result. Better - being defined as a result that spares us from the pain and anguish.
 
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

~ Bodhipaksa Krishnamurti

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Ineverknew

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Re: Boundaries. What Are They?
« Reply #59 on: May 21, 2012, 07:38:02 PM »
Boundaries bring order to our lives. As we learn to strengthen our boundaries, we gain a clearer sense of ourselves and our relationship to others. Boundaries empower us to determine how we'll be treated by others. With good boundaries, we can have the wonderful assurance that comes from knowing we can and will protect ourselves from the ignorance, meanness, or thoughtlessness of others.

I've been reading this quote over and over...it makes so much sense. 

Thank you to the poster...  :)