December 17, 2012
Yesterday, Steve, a couple friends and I started unpacking Steve’s things. Have you ever seen an 80-year-old protecting her boundaries. My mother (who has been living in my mother-in-law apartment–which really mean she living in every room of my house… lol), has really taken over the kitchen. Of course Steve had some kitchen utensils, bowls and food he was adding to the Queen‘s kitchen. Watching my mother was like watching the Black Swan evolve in slowmo…
I sat on my little spiritual perch and observed. I don’t triangulate. I think it’s bad for everyone involved when you intervene with what’s between two people and interfere. I learned my lesson the very hard way a couple years ago when I told a friend he was being cheated on. It wasn’t pretty. I think I may have lost a couple friendships along the way.
Anyway, it was kind like watching two dogs when they first meet, and they are wrestling for superiority. They growl and bark really loud, then one kind of puts his tail between his legs and the other knows she has gained control. I won’t tell you which one lost control, but you can imagine. (Oh, did I use pronouns?)
Healthy boundaries. You have to have them. I don’t recommend the rabid dog type of boundaries. I believe that a person with good boundaries has a natural air that shows where not to tread simply with body language and a few choice kind words. You never have to be mean to show that you’re not comfortable with where a conversation is going, unless you have a predator that won’t take “no” for an answer. That’s an entirely different scenario.
Healthy boundaries. You need them at work. Bosses tend to heap work on employees who don’t say I have enough work, thank you. Other employees tend to exploit you when you are venerable. You have to keep a careful eye out at work. It’s not a time to put down your guard. Always be professional at work. Don’t mix your personal life with your work. It’s not a win-win situation. Get a social life outside of work.
Healthy boundaries with family. Yikes. If ever there was a time when boundaries were important, it is with family. They will tread where no tire would dare to tread. They will make a mohawk of your hair and sell the rest for a wig. They will cut off an arm and pawn it for the gold on your fingers. They will take you to court in a time of need. Boundaries are more important with family members than with anyone because you have neuro pathways in your brain that far exceed any other personal relationships. They tend to get triggered easily. Guilt and betrayal and having to save someone can become a messy recipe for anxiety when they are all feelings dealing with the same person.
Healthy boundaries in personal relationships are probably the most important place to have them. But the time to set them up is not after you are in relationship. You should talk about your likes and dislikes long before you enter into sex and intimacy, if you are planning relationship. (JM if you are reading this, you’re safe.) Also, history about what has happened to you and your triggers are important to discuss with an intimate partner. So, when they come up, you can say, “This is why I am reacting out of character. I have discussed this with you before.” And the result won’t be cataclysmic.
“Spirit God, help us define our lives in a way that keep us safe and bold and strong, without harming others. Teach us to communicate our boundaries with others in rational and loving ways.”