Setting Boundaries

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Absent Minded Artist

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Setting Boundaries
« on: July 28, 2018, 12:01:57 PM »
I'm a newbie to the forums but not a newbie to PD. My mom has lived across the hall from me and my fiance for about a year, and now she is moving. I have decided to set the boundary that we will not be helping her move. I don't know how to approach the topic. I feel guilty saying no, even though I know my guilt is unjustified.

How do I set a firm boundary without throwing gas on the fire? I have a really hard time handling confrontation.

Thanks in advance!
"A manipulator makes you fear everyone around you so you don't see the monster right in front of you. They may have tied your blindfold, but you can take it off"
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Starboard Song

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Re: Setting Boundaries
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2018, 12:12:26 PM »
If your mother has no friends to help, and no funds to purchase labor, then this is potentially a real dilemma.

But if she has either the friends or the funds to purchase Services, then the only reason this is a dilemma is that she thinks she can always expect the labor and assistance of you in everything she does, and that is just not true.

As another Forum member once said, you just "do boundaries." They are not about what your mother needs to like, understand, or want. They are about what it is that you will do and not do, and engage with or not engage with.

You have the right to very politely, very lovingly, explain that while you understand that the move is a big deal, you are unable to assist this time. You can suggest a place that she can call for professional assistance, or remind her of friends who might be able to help. You can even soften the blow by offering a substitute service. Like, making a phone call for her. Or picking up some packing materials for her to use.

If there is some minor service you can do to relieve the pressure that might help a lot.

But if you are not wanting to be that engaged with her move, that is not something that you have to do, and it is something that she will have to understand.

Remember, adults do not get upset when explaining the facts of the world to a two-year-old. They do not yell, they do not give detailed explanations, and they do not construct big arguments about why it is that they may or may not have a cookie. So do none of that for your mom. You owe a kind voice, and an understanding heart. That's about all.

Boundaries are very hard, especially when we've been trained to believe that they are selfish or hurtful. You are not being selfish, and you are not being hurtful.

Be good! Be strong!
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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Absent Minded Artist

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Re: Setting Boundaries
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2018, 12:37:18 PM »
The main reason I've decided to set the boundary is that if I help just a little she constantly asks for more. If I offer her solutions she gives me 7 million reasons why that won't work. I'm considering going no contact after this is over.

She has both the finances and the "friends" to help her move.

The concept of explaining like I would to a toddler is brilliant. Thanks for your support!
"A manipulator makes you fear everyone around you so you don't see the monster right in front of you. They may have tied your blindfold, but you can take it off"
Erin Van Vuren

"Owning our story & loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we'll ever do"
Brenč Brown

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Starboard Song

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Re: Setting Boundaries
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2018, 12:58:01 PM »
I know it is at a distance, but you do have the support of many people who share your dilemma here on this forum. In my home, we also had a situation where it was difficult to just partially engage on anything. You were either all in or all out.

Her move away from you may be a great opportunity reducing your engagement with her. So good luck with that.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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all4peace

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Re: Setting Boundaries
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2018, 01:35:39 PM »
I think part of the solution also becomes getting really comfortable with your boundaries.

So: "I'm able to help you load boxes for 3 hrs on Saturday, but after that I will not be available to help." She begs, pleads, suggests more things to get done. You repeat yourself. Again and again. If you don't want to keep repeating yourself, you can tell her "I don't have anything to add to this conversation. This is what I'm able for, and now I need to leave/get off the phone/end this conversation."

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practical

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Re: Setting Boundaries
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2018, 02:50:04 PM »
The main reason I've decided to set the boundary is that if I help just a little she constantly asks for more. If I offer her solutions she gives me 7 million reasons why that won't work. I'm considering going no contact after this is over.
Oh man does that sound familiar  :aaauuugh: 

It was her decision, it sounds like all very short notice, so you are busy. "Sorry, this won't work for me, I have other plans. I'm sure you'll find somebody else to help you." or "Sorry, this won't work for me. You may want to look into hiring a company."

My F last year decided to move out of the SNF he was in and where B and I had helped him move to. B offered to help him, but just like in your case the help he offered wasn't right, the goal posts kept being moved, so B told him this is all he could do and he was sure F could figure it out on his own, which he did. I never got involved in it at all.

Keep conversations and interactions short and to the point. If your M starts to have a melt-down a good response is "You are clearly upset right now, so we'll talk another time again. Bye."

You have your own health to look after, this kind of stress isn't healthy, and it is manufactured drama, meaning it is totally unnecessary.

One key about boundaries is to not wobble or they become useless. Check out "Intermittent Reinforcement" in the Toolbox.
“If I’m not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when I’m only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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sunshine702

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Re: Setting Boundaries
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2018, 08:12:51 PM »
Boundaries!  As an adult you are allowed them.  That is one of the thing that will help you out of the Fear Obligation and Guilt.

So my Air Conditioning in my car wasn't working so great.  It's understandable, it's tripple didgets and it has a slow leak.  I deal with this every few years.  I need to eventually get a freon can from the auto supply store. $30 no biggie.

Well Personality Disordered Parents "discovered" this FLAW / SIN! and I have recieved 5 text mesaages, 3 calls and two voice messages in 2 days!   (Sound familiar guys!). They even made a dealership appointment fro me without my permission.

I texted them about the freon can twice and refused to pickup or discuss further.  Period. I also canceled the dealership appointment.

Personality disorders are camel's nose.  You let the nose in the tent  pretty soon the whole camel is in.

Boundaries!  State clearly what you will do and refuse to Justify Argue Defend or Explain (JADE). 

For my parents it's about CONTROL. And nope not anymore.




« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 08:16:24 PM by sunshine702 »