Tag Archives: Relationships

Drawing Boundaries

So it’s been a month since my last post, more or less. Life has gotten crazy busy with work, traffic, commute, end-of-school events for the minions, my bro’s wedding, etc., etc., etc. You name it, it’s probably happened. And even though we’ve had lots of fun celebrating, I am tired. T. I. R. E. D. Guess my age is catching up with me – it takes me about a week to bounce back from a weekend road trip these days. Either that or I need to travel more. Probably the latter. Hmmm…

Anyhoo, what’s been on my mind? Boundaries. Not as in land borders, but the kinds of boundaries we, as people, need to set for ourselves and others. My wonderful women’s group at church has been working through the Boundaries book for the past few weeks. This is a good thing for me. As a people-pleaser who’s spent most of my life afraid to say ‘No,’ I’ve experienced firsthand the aftereffects of taking on too much. Putting too much on my plate. Trying to make everyone happy. So I could definitely use some help in setting boundaries.

If you haven’t read it, do. Boundaries is really helping me put relationships and life into perspective. I’m on a mission to set more boundaries with the minions, and they’re not gonna like it. Chores? Too bad, kid. You’re old enough to help now and that’s what families do. Period. That’s MY new boundary with basic housework. I foresee some rough waters ahead for me and the minions – but I’m sticking to my guns and fighting this battle. No way are MY kids gonna turn into men who don’t know how to plug in a vacuum or empty a dishwasher! Yes, I’ve known quite a few. No, thankfully I didn’t marry one of those men. But they’re out there. Ladies, you know who I mean. And MY sons’ wives will thank me someday. Hopefully. Really.

Of course, not all boundary-setting episodes leave me cackling gleefully like setting chores for the kiddoes. I’ve had to set a couple of boundaries on the Boundaries study. Yep. See, our book study starts around 6:30 PM. I work across town until 6. After two weeks of traffic hell and lots of stress I finally decided to use what I’d read and make a rule: I’ll do my part to leave the office on time and take the tollway. But if traffic is running slower-than-a-snail-on-Valium and/or I have pressing errands to run that can’t wait – I’m not gonna allow myself to stress about it. If 6:30 rolls around and I’m nowhere close, or stalled on the highway, I’ll just check in with one of the other chicas in my group and get the next week’s reading assignment. Stress solved.

So I’m on my way. Working on setting boundaries for my own sanity. Here’s the problem…

Accepting others’ boundaries.

Yep. That’s right. As empowered as I feel with my own limits, I’ve noticed that I definitely DON’T have the same tolerance for others’ boundaries. Correction – I have a real problem accepting others’ boundaries that don’t align with my own. Cue my inner child here – I want what I want when I want it. Period. No, not all the time. Usually I’m pretty good about it. But every once in a while that inner toddler decides to flex her muscle. And I’m learning to pause in those moments, think about the situation, and remind myself that I need to show respect to get respect. That was my struggle earlier this week. I was in a situation where someone expressed a boundary to me that I didn’t like. To be honest, it hurt. A lot. But I had to stop and think logically that this person wasn’t acting out of spite – they were simply setting a boundary with me. (Granted that took a couple of days, and the sting is still there, but it’s OK.)

Boundaries. Huh. Who knew??

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s Not Personal…

And this is a reminder I need today. So much that I’m using it as my mantra this morning. Why? Because, for one thing, I have a tendency to take things personally and make them all about me. And for another, recent events have me defaulting to that particular character defect. Much as I’ve worked on my self-talk and tried to reprogram my brain, some things just cause my head to default to that mode of self-pity. Particularly girl stuff and relationships.

See, there’s some pretty big stuff coming down the pipes for my extended network of peeps. We’re talking celebratory stuff. Huge. And, thanks to the pain in the butt joy that is social media, I was lucky enough to see plenty o’ posts and pics over the weekend. Really fun stuff.

And apparently I wasn’t invited.

Now, here’s where the insecure-formerly-socially-inept-introvert in me starts to take it personally. Ladies, you know the drill. Why didn’t they invite me? Oh, it’s because I’m not good enough for that crowd. Not really a part of it. Sure, they’re nice to me in certain situations, but only because they have to be. They don’t really want me around. Maybe if I dressed better, wasn’t so old….

Ok, stop it. That monologue could (and does) go on and on ad infinitum. As far as I’ll let it. And that’s where I’ve had to kick my (however tiny) rational side in the butt and make a conscious choice. To think differently.

Newsflash – it’s really NOT ALL ABOUT ME. As much as I (apparently) would like to think so, it’s not.

In fact, when I stopped for a microsecond to ponder this particular situation, I KNOW that there’s a perfectly good reason I wasn’t invited this time. It was a sign of respect from those doing the planning. And I should be grateful that they care enough to consider that the invitation would have made me feel awkward or uncomfortable because of certain other issues. My brain (at least the left side of it) knows these things.

So why does the rest of me persist in trying to make myself miserable and insecure over nothing? Guess old habits die hard…

So that’s my goal for today, folks. Going on day three here – endless repetitions of ‘It’s not personal,’ going through my head. Maybe I’ll believe it eventually.

Am I the only one with this problem?

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Overthinking. Yet Again.

systems-thinking

Ok, I’m the first to admit that I have a teensy bit of a tendency to take things personally. But in my defense, part of that is just my innate blue-colored-brain desire to make everyone happy. See, my self-centered Type A personality defaults to thinking that, if someone isn’t happy, it must be my fault somehow. It’s led to more than a few issues, to tell the truth. And yes, I’m working on it. But there’s one area where this character defect refuses to shut up.

Relationships.

Yes, relationships. See, the last year and a half (give or take) has been pretty tough on my relationships. I have no idea why – I mean, all I’ve basically had to do is scrape away all of my onion-layers, micromanage each one, and try to put them back together. That shouldn’t have any effect on my relationships with other people, right? (If you missed that heavy sarcasm, you obviously don’t know me.)

See, my relationships right now basically fall into three categories: status quo, ended – kaput – dropped like a hot stone (not by me, mind you) and the WTHeckisgoinon.

Status quo is good. By status quo I mean that my friends and loved ones are still just that. Friends and loved ones. Lots of these relationships have grown even stronger, and for that I am truly grateful. In fact, I communicate more openly and honestly with most of my friends and family than I’ve ever been able to do before. It’s pretty cool.

Kaput and dropped like a hot stone sucks. It hurts. Especially when I considered some of the individuals in question to be true-blue friends. You know the type. The ones who swear that they will stick by you through thick and thin – until they don’t. Honestly, I can’t blame them. I get their reasoning – even though it does hurt and even though I can’t imagine having the stones to do that to someone – I get it.

The ones that I’m talking about today are that pesky third category – the WTHeckisgoinon relationships. These are the ones I’m befuddled about. See, these dear and close friends stuck around when things got tough. And when I wasn’t so nice. And when their own situations got muddled or crappy. We stuck by each other and supported each other when we could. At the very least a quick text, email or Facebook post to say, ‘Hey! I’m thinking about you!’

And then nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. No communication. End of line. Maybe a brief text that said, ‘Hey – let’s get together and catch up sometime,’ and then no response when I shot back, ‘Sure! When and where?’

Maybe my real problem here is that I can’t take a hint. That’s where my Type A people-pleaser gets totally thrown for a loop. Yeah, believe me – I know how easy it is to fall off the grid when things get busy. I’m guilty. I’ve dropped the ball on communication too. But for months? I start to overthink, overanalyze and stew in my own juices. And before you suggest it, yes – I have gone directly to those in question and directly asked what’s up. Vague apologies and explanations have ensued. I keep sending the occasional email/text/whatever. And nothing.

What’s up with that? Does anyone really get that busy? Or is it like I’m thinking – these people are trying to cut ties and I’m missing the hint? I’ve already explained that my Type A blue-braininess can’t think objectively here.

Sigh. It would be SO much easier if people could just be brutally honest, you know?

So, what’s YOUR take on the situation?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized