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Thread: Boundaries?

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    Boundaries?

    I have a friend who I know cares about me, but when she gets upset with me because something I say or do --unintentionally (!) hits an emotional tenderpoint -- she doesn't seem able to stay on message when she reacts, which she does very emphatically. Instead of just saying what she is upset about, she accuses me of doing it on PURPOSE, of not caring about how she feels etc. Right down to going after my character.

    The problem is I know where it's all coming from (places of deep pain/fear/need for control). The other problem is that she knows MY places of deepest pain, and it's very triggering when she stomps all over them. I bite my tongue because to say anything would just escalate things to the point of no return.

    I think she's aware at some level because she soon apologizes, sometimes with words, sometimes with actions.

    I know I need better boundaries. When I get attacked verbally I freeze, just like since I was about 3 years old (a long long time ago). I have worked hard for years to recognize and manage my triggers, and I'm happy to say it's been quite a while since they have pushed me into dissociation or harmful behaviours, but it's draining and I feel ashamed that I still can't stand up for myself and that I let myself BE shamed.

    I don't know what to do. 99.9% of the time it is a friendship I treasure, though lately I ask myself how it can be a real friendship if I have to walk on eggshells.

    Feedback would be really appreciated. I'm getting too old for this nonsense.

    🕊

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    Re: Boundaries?

    Maybe spend less time with her?:

    Take an inventory of which people in your life leave you feeling stressed and unhappy more often than not. If you don't want to completely remove a toxic relationship, minimize the time you spend together.

    If you don't want to change how often you see each other, recognize drama triggers. When the conversation moves toward her horrible mother, steer it somewhere else.

    How to Minimize Drama in Your Life

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    Re: Boundaries?

    Regarding boundaries:


    We can’t control whether another person will listen to or be interested in our truth, but we can control for how long and with how much energy we will attempt to correct their version of our truth. We can also control how and if we want to continue in a relationship with someone who chooses not to relate to who we actually are.

    In relating with a blamer, some important questions to contemplate are:

    • When I search my own heart, is my intention in line with what the blamer is accusing me of? (Am I responsible in some way for what they are claiming and can I look at that part of myself?)
    • What is my heart’s intention in this relationship?
    • Have I tried to express my experience or my truth to this person?
    • Do I experience this person as interested in or open to my truth?
    • Am I allowing myself to experience the feelings that arise as a result of being unfairly blamed and/or not heard?
    • Can I honor and grieve the gap between who they are relating to and who I am?
    • Can I know myself as who I am even in the face of their need to relate to me as someone else?
    • Can I allow their negative projections to remain with them, and not take them in as my own?
    • Can I let myself be who I am and know myself as who I am, even with this person believing that I am responsible for how they feel?
    • Can I honor myself as innocent even in the face of the guilt they are assigning me?
    • Do I want to remain in relationship with someone who sees me in a way that is out of alignment with who I know myself to be? If so, why?

    A longing for others to see and know us as we know ourselves—and, of course, regard us positively—is integral to being human. And yet, we can’t always change the way another person relates to us, or who they need us to be for them. Fortunately, we can always change the way we relate to ourselves. No matter the narrative tsunami we face, we can always be that kind and curious presence—for ourselves—which wants to know what is actually true inside our heart, and thus to know us as we really are.

    What to Do About the People Who Blame You for Everything

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    Re: Boundaries?

    At times like this I miss my computer so please forgive if I'm slow to learn this mobile format.
    We don't really spend much time together ... she's very busy and active while I'm pretty crippled up. She still hasn't figured out why I can't keep up with her walking and have quit even trying 🙂 On the other hand she's very good at calling and talking at me for an hour. Some days I wonder if I will have to get my phone surgically removed from my ear.

    It wouldn't take long to take an inventory of the people in my life, stressful or otherwise and funny thing is most are my own flesh and blood as they say, and while they can get on my nerves or hurt my feelings, it's not all that upsetting. I have a few friendly acquaintances but there's no worries there. (Her Mum was great .... I was jealous when we were kids. Mine is now long gone, though the nightmares longer on &#128577

    It seems to me I need to choose between eggshells and stepping back. Listen a lot more and say a LOT less, and never initiate conversation. It's not a happy solution, and I expect it could get pretty depressing pretty quick, but it hopefully can't hurt to give it a go.
    🕊

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    Re: Boundaries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bumblebean View Post

    The problem is I know where it's all coming from (places of deep pain/fear/need for control). The other problem is that she knows MY places of deepest pain, and it's very triggering when she stomps all over them. I bite my tongue because to say anything would just escalate things to the point of no return.
    That is great that you are able to "not engage." I find that is the hardest thing. As you recognize, it's more about her than you.

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    Re: Boundaries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bumblebean View Post
    It seems to me I need to choose between eggshells and stepping back. Listen a lot more and say a LOT less, and never initiate conversation. It's not a happy solution, and I expect it could get pretty depressing pretty quick, but it hopefully can't hurt to give it a go.
    Never initiating conversation sounds horrible.

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    Re: Boundaries?

    Hi Bumblebean just wanted to say i can connect to some of what you have said. I know it hurts when someone attacks you like that knowing where to hit not right..

    This person if she was a true friend would never ever go there ever knowing how much pain it caused you.

    I know it is your decision but for me i would stay clear keep yourself safe ok.

    You should not have to walk in fear really of being triggered .

    I would tell her outright if she hurts you that way again then it will be time for you to walk away.

    It is not alright to think actions or words can undue harm done to you if she is your friend she will treat you like a friend and stop hurting you .

    I hope this makes sense i am sorry that she triggers you and i hope you can keep yourself in a place of peace ok not in place of trauma.
    Words always stay inside ones soul

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    Re: Boundaries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
    Never initiating conversation sounds horrible.
    It does sound kind of sad, but I rarely need to unless I have a question or important news. Our phone conversations go something like this:
    She: so how you doing?
    Me: still breathing (people almost never want to hear that i'm discouraged, frustrated by limitations, or in pain so bad i'd like to break something)
    She: well that's a good start.
    .... At which point she switches to a highly detailed recap of her day (or days), covering everything that happened and how she felt about it.
    If I call her, I rarely get past "hi" before she spends an hour telling me why she's too busy to talk 😃

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    Re: Boundaries?

    And if you interject yourself into the conversation, she eventually gets triggered by something you say?

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    Re: Boundaries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
    Regarding boundaries:
    It took me a while to get through that article ... very glad I read it! Thank you 🖒

    As briefly as I can:
    What got her upset was that I interrupted her. Didn't mean to derail the train of thought, but I did. (I know her well enough i really ought to have been aware that she was dealing with a lot of "stuff"). And I apologized. She didn't react except to act like she was shrugging it off but my sinking stomach warned me .... partly.
    When I saw the email i knew it wasn't going to be pleasant but better to get it over with.
    Here's the thing: I believe she had every right to be ticked about my having interrupted her. I get tired of people doing that to me. If she had said "I was really upset/hurt/whatever when you interrupted me" it would have been right to apologize again and validate her feelingd, but that was only the opening salvo, followed by guilt-trips, negative comparisons ... me getting the failing grade compared to her... accusations, and slashing away at my character and how x, y, and zed that happened over two years ago were my fault. When she had chosen not to take seriously my concerns about a certain matter only to find that if anything, I had understated the problem (don't like being called a drama queen so I often do understate), she said she hadn't believed me because of "all the times" I had "cried wolf". Then she implied I was a liar because I had mentioned something that she found hard to believe. I was able to stand my ground on that last one. Told her I had never lied to her and didn't plan on starting now.

    Very helpful article! I think I'm going to find a way to get it printed out.

    I think it would be impossible for me to put into words why I don't just block and walk. We have such a long history I wouldn't know where to begin.
    🕊

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