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Old 12-18-2013, 11:06 PM   #1
Chloepatra
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Default Trouble setting boundaries with others

I had to accept and set some personal boundaries with someone new, but I feel poorly because I didn't know at first that I needed the boundaries I ended up setting. I am learning...and need to let myself just be human in this way...

I am left feeling very aware of the part of me who wants to be there 'in kind' for anyone who shows ANY concern for me in any way...but, I am also left feeling grateful for the part of me who knows I did the right thing in setting the boundaries, because I needed to... to feel real.

I know I have to feel these mixed feelings to be a able to let go of the unrealistic picture of myself as someone who 'should not need' the boundaries I realized I had to set, because we all need boundaries... and sometimes it just takes time with someone new, or a new situation, to figure out healthy boundaries.

Thanks for listening...if anyone else here has trouble setting boundaries, or tends to beat up on their self when needing to do so, I would love to hear from you.

Going to concentrate on just accepting that I set the boundaries in a loving way, amd then keep moving forward...
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Trouble setting boundaries with others

Okay, Chloe, I also have terrible difficulty setting boundaries. But I have another problem. With you. I came here several hours ago and you were saying goodbye, like you don't need us anymore. I was really bothered by that because I just got here and was starting to get more comfortable. You were the one I felt resonance with. So, why aren't you gone? Are you back or what? If you're back to stay, say, at least through New Year's, then good. Welcome back.

A lot of interesting stuff has been coming up. One thing was the idea that I've known several Germans in the U.S. who would knock on my door or call me up and demand that I do . . . [you fill in the blanks]. One woman wanted me to spend my precious Saturday to meet her at a coffeehouse on the other side of San Francisco to look at an old necklace so I could repair it for her. I had plans for my Saturday. She was outraged when I said no. Looking back, good heavens, I should have hung up on her!

Somewhere I picked up a funny little paperback called "Getting in Touch With Your Inner *****" and I learned from that how to answer any request with "I don't think so!" And you don't have to have a reason. And you don't have to lie that you're doing something else. . . . Another boundary problem is thinking you're responsible for someone else or either of you has to take care of the other. You can encourage a friend on the phone, but you have a life and at 9 p.m. you tell them you have to go and then you go. You turn off the phone and get your shower and read your book and do your usual bedtime routine. . . . People avoid my hallway in this senior housing because Barbara halfway down the hall will start telling you something and NOTHING will make her shut up and say see you later! You can be twisting your legs together and saying you have to pee but she keeps talking. Almost funny.

I don't think you have to be that loving in setting boundaries. With some people, you're running for your life! Just do what it takes. You're entitled. And you sound undecided. In which case tell the person you're weary and will talk to them later. Bye-bye! Like Scarlet O'Hara, think about it tomorrow!
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Trouble setting boundaries with others

Hi Punto,

Thank you very much for your comments.

Please accept my apology and know that my vacillation about staying was never a matter of not needing others here. Yes, I am now here to stay a while, and so thank you very much for the 'welcome back.' That was magnanimous of you, given that I ruffled your feathers (and very understandably so).

About your experiences with needing to set boundaries...I so appreciate your shares and for pointing out that no one owes anyone anything, and it is not our job to look after other adults, and that sometimes we truly do need to run for it!

It really helps to hear these healthy messages!
You have a wonderful way of making both light and gravity of things, Mimi.
Thank you for being you...sharing your world in depth and your way of navigating in it!

Smiles, Chloe
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: Trouble setting boundaries with others

Hi Chloe,
Could you put an example? I am not sure I understand
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Trouble setting boundaries with others

Hi Clara,
Examples in my life are: Not taking on a favor for someone before I have truly considered whether or not I want to, can do 'it' without it being a burden...allowing myself to consider the implications of agreeing. Another example was in my last job...I worked with a developmentally disabled adult and the mom kept asking me to teach her far too many things...I was unable to simply say, "I will need to do this one thing at a time, or these may not be possible." Also, with this same family, the father was difficult in many ways...I HAD the ability to ask my supervisor to talk with him about some things, or for me to 'simply' talk with him...but, I was not able to then. I just felt a lack of power over my environment, but looking back, I could have asserted myself.

As I learn more about my own needs and how to meet them FIRST, I am trying to be more careful in not just being a "yes person.".
Did those examples help?

Actually, your asking me for examples has made me see that being assertive versus passive is probably mixed into this for me, and maybe others, too.
Thanks for asking for clarification.
~ Chloe
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Trouble setting boundaries with others

A couple more thots:

I know I have to feel these mixed feelings to be a able to let go of the unrealistic picture of myself as someone who 'should not need' the boundaries I realized I had to set, because we all need boundaries... and sometimes it just takes time with someone new, or a new situation, to figure out healthy boundaries. --Chloepatra

We all have and need to have boundaries. Without them you'd be picking up every slobbering drunk on the sidewalk. Every strung-out couldda-been. Or going home with them. Or letting them move in. Yes, indeed, it takes time sometimes. I just came through an un-friending that was not pleasant, but I felt sure it was right. A new friend, T., volunteers in wildlife rehab, as I do. Or she used to. In the training, we were told there's no room for ego in this work. Those baby birds and animals just want to grow up and LIVE! The other volunteers just want to do the work and go home! That stuck with me. All around I see with people that "it's all about them!" So I got hurt in a bus accident -- no broken bones but all torn up, couldn't take a deep breath, lots of pain in the back, hard to walk. And T. took me for meds and chiropractor and groceries and to a concert in a park. I appreciated the help. But this lady is very very different, a retired nurse, and her take on life is very different. Scarey thot: she doesn't knit or crochet or anything like that! As I got feeling better, I realized she was "getting off" on telling me how to live! She's buying a house, has a time-share in Palm Springs and a condo in Sunnyvale! She never seemed to get it that I'm on Social Security. I have resources, a piano, sewing machine, lots of books, but once that check pays the bills, there is not that much left. Don't tell me to get printer cartridges at Costco! Buying in bulk is smart, but sometimes we need a smaller "put-up" when we need things. It takes financial momentum to buy big like that. I have mercifully forgotten what triggered the final break-up. I thought she was fun and interesting. She got upset and called me a "user." Well, yeah, when I could hardly walk and nobody else was helping me. I thanked her endlessly! I was hoping that friendship would stick. . . . I had enough boundaries to NOT ask her to help me buy a car. After I felt well again, I took two buses to go 35 miles to the next city; the beautiful working out of the car would not have happened with her there telling me how a really-smart car buyer dickers and checks everything, blah blah. She has awesome credit. I don't! I was willing to pay an outrageous percentage just to show the credit folks I can make the payments! She would have disowned me for doing that. As it happened, a wonderful dealer made ME a cash deal on a gorgeous trade-in car. I felt like God was working in all of that. It is such a relief not to have to explain what I do to bleeping Ms. T. Anybody you have to please like that -- often moms or sisters -- this is so not good! We decide; we live with the decision; we don't have to explain it to the rest of the world. Except of course a partner.
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: Trouble setting boundaries with others

Hi Chloe,
Have you felt that you are quite empathetic?
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Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. Vaclav Havel
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:20 PM   #8
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Yes, Clara... I naturally have empathy galore... yet, it is me I need to give more empathy to...

I have SO much empathy that I even have a half-feral cat...my normal cat took her in when she was tiny and she fake-nursed off him while i supplied the formula...she is the nuttiest cat ever, and very lucky to have found 'us.' She will not allow a person to pick her up and hides from all strangers...to touch her, i have to trap her and force her to be held (I do this to check her teeth, brush her, and also to remind her I love her)... She has progressed to being able to tolerate being held, but shivers a lot with fear at first...

Many people simply would not understand how i could have kept a cat that will not allow humans to touch her...but, i know she is happy in her life...she and my boy cat seem to live at night...they play then, when she is not afraid...when there is not car noise or visitors. In a weird way, she is the cat version of who I was becoming... a recluse... non-trusting... allowing fears from childhood shadows to overwhelm me...

but, i am not a cat...I am a woman who can and IS choosing to 'makes stretches,' and let go of old definitions of myself... i am seeing that I am HER protector... she needed someone, and I chose to be her...

I, too, need someone and I must choose to be Her for ME...
I am, little by little.... it's not an easy journey, as most of us realize...
I have gotten to the point, though.... THE BOTTOM... where there is simply no other thing to do but to let go of each and every one the chains that dragged me there... and i get that I HAD no idea of how to truly live free of those chains, because i could not see them before...

NOW, i am taking them one at a time...finding them, and saying good-bye to their false comfort...

...like not setting healthy boundaries... it was a chain...made me feel 'super nice,' but now the impulses to not look after my needs in relationships too are being released...

i am facing these impulses, along with lots of other chains...
and giving myself the time to grieve that the little girl in me simply could not have known better... i was not taught how to lead a healthy life, and it was bound to come crashing down... i HAD to suffer the effects to see the chains, and cut them... I can now have empathy for me about this...

I used to feel as of the entire planet is in deep, deep need...and yes, it is, but so am I... I led a life of giving, giving, and giving even more, then finally hit bottom... because i had not been giving to me...

thanks... i see now that 'empathy' taken to the extreme, is really just another form of not paying attention to my own needs...of not feeling worthy...another form of feeling like i do not matter....

...it is part of the passivity i am DETERMINED to work through in meeting my own needs, and learning that if I keep 'feeling too much' for everyone else in the world, i will have no feelings left to give to myself...

...this forum is a good place for me to learn from sharing about my own boundary issues and in hearing about others' realities, too....
to learn to both give AND receive...

About receiving... i am finding it, too, to be a place to allow myself to receive caring, without thinking i then owe anyone anything... THAT is something I have never been fully able to do... to allow...i have always put myself last, not having been brought up to receive, but to give...too much... but, I am SLOWLY BUT SURELY realizing that without self-empathy, I am not alive... not really...

That self-empathy is part of being able to set healthy boundaries with others...
valuing my resources, my time, and actively seeing myself as equally worthy of love... as worthy as my nutty half-feral cat... whom I have chosen to name myself after here... "Chloe"

I am so grateful to be learning about healthy boundaries.

Thanks, again, for helping me understand the whole concept of 'boundaries'...your questions have helped me.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Trouble setting boundaries with others

Someone asks for a favour, i automatically do or offer. I don't think whether i should or could do it, i just do it. I never thought much about it, just that its a personality, never realized the negativity in it/ need for boundries.
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:27 AM   #10
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Hi Chloe and all,
I believe that there is a natural inclination to empathy in the human specie, some people have it more developed or pronounced. In my opinion, in addition to the impulse of helping others even when the other does not ask for help, there is a cognitive componente, I mean, these over-empathetic people immediately perceive other people needs, feelings, etc. This combo of emotions and information prompt them to act. Also, many times their behavior is reinforced by the environment (parents, etc). To me, to improve this feature we need to:
1) acknowledge empathy is a good personality trait and that it is something given to us
2) try to learn more about the mechanisms behind empathetic behaviors, in order to control them as much as possible, particularly in those occasions when we do things to naturally please others and the consequence is harmful to us or others
This is more complicated than being a people pleaser ( that also exists, but to me the last is more the result of the way we have been raised than something overly natural)
In the case of naturally over empathetic people they naturally read others and they are prompted to act to supply the others; this permeats the majority of their interactions. In cultures focused more on community than on individuals naturally over-empathetic people may feel more comfortable. Sorry my spelling. Will try to find literature about it
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Last edited by Clara22; 12-20-2013 at 09:03 AM.. Reason: Mistakes
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