Well for me it is someone very close to me. But then I think, "Maybe it's me. Maybe I am falling short of giving them my love and acceptance." And, well, I am. I get ticked off when this person puts a hitch in my day or isn't very helpful or allows their personal problems to go undelt with. You know, I think the real problem is I am not having BOUNDARIES. Yep, that's it. Why does it bother me so much when this person is failing? Why do I want them to succeed more than they want to succeed? Because I am not putting a limit to where I end and they begin. I have to accept a person, faults and all. Then, I have to put limits on myself and on my relationships in order that I know how far I will let myself go in caring for people.
Do any of you have a recovering spouse? How about a spouse who is an addict or has addictive behaviors and is not in recovery? Better yet, how about a spouse that has a mental health disorder (diagnosed/undiagnosed) and is in denial of how they live with that disorder and how it affects them and you? These are tough cases. Boundaries become very blurred due to need. How much should you take? How long should you stay? Where do you draw the line? Questions that have to be answered. Tough though, very tough. Reality, painful as it may be has to be acknowledged and dealt with. Undealt with issues are like cancer. They start in one area and soon grow to overcome the entire body or the mind, life and personality in this case.
The following are some questions to ask yourself to test whether you are in a relationship without boundaries:
- Are you or your partner unclear about your preferences?
- Do you or your partner have trouble recognizing unhappieness since enduring is your concern?
- Do either of you alter your behavior, plans, or opinions to fit the current moods or circumstances of another?
- Do you do more and more for less and less?
- Are you easily influenced byb the most recent truth that you hear?
- Do you live hopefully while wishing and waiting?
- Are you satisfied with coping and surviving?
- Are you satisfied with your partner's minimal improvement and let it continue a stalemate?
- Do you lack hobbies because you don't have attention for self-directed activity?
- Do you accept alibis and excuses in order to make exceptions for someone?
- Are you manipulated by flattery and lose objectivity?
- Have you or are you trying to create intimacy with a narcissist?
- Are you affected so much by someone's opinion that you obsess?
- Do you forsake personal limits in order to get sex or a promise of sex?
- Is your partner responcible for your excitement?
- Do you feel hurt and victimized but not angry?
- Do you act out of compliance and compromise?
- Do you have a problem saying no?
- Do you disreguard your intuition in favor of wishes?
- Do you allow your partner to abuse your children or friends?
- Do you mostly feel afraid and confused?
- Are you enmeshed in a drama that is beyond your control?
- Are you living a life that is not yours, and that seems unalterable?
- Do you have a bottum line? In other words, do you commit yourself for as long as someone needs you to be committed?
- Do you believe that you have no right to secrets?
These were written by David Richo in an article in 1990, but still very relevent today. These are boundary violations that are very common in all kinds of relationships. If you read this and found yourself in this list you may be very surprised, shocked, maybe even angry. If you read this and you did not find yourself in this list, Congratulations, you have arrived! Honestly I don't think anyone has arrived and all of us can grow in practicing boundaries, including me. So maybe you are wondering, "what do I do with this knowledge?" Here are five things you can do to practice boundaries:
- Ask for your needs to be met. You are responcible for you and your partner is responcible for themselves. Let them ask for their needs to be met, don't for-think for them!
- Foster inner self-nurturance. Being a good parent within yourself. This gives you an intuitive sense about your needs and decision you want and need to make.
- Observe others behavior toward you and take it as information. Don't get caught in their drama. Be a fair witness who sees from a self protected place. Decide what you will accept and what you will throw out.
- Maintain a bottum line. Our illusions about reality diminish actual reality or the reality we could have if we let go of the illusion or fantasy. Set limits, confront issues, admit reality.
- Stop trusting in others to protect you and start relying on yourself to protect you and get your needs met. Trust yourself to be able to handle adult emotions, needs and choices.
Thanks David Richo for the input. Check out the book BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud. It's great! Then go out and live!