Monday, April 23, 2012

Setting Boundaries...Follow Up

Not too long ago I asked for advice on my facebook page about boundaries.  I got some good feedback on the page and then some feedback that was messaged privately to me.  It seems to me that this is not an uncommon issue and something that all of us at some point deal with.  I decided to share a little bit about what sparked that topic in the first place and how I've decided to deal with it.

A few weeks ago, someone in my life purposely encroached, yet again, on my personal boundaries in hopes of getting a response out of me.  This was not the first time this had happened.  In fact, this was just one of many, many times this has happened.  Because of the position this person holds in my life I've done my best to respectfully deal with or ignore these attempts of hurting me over the years.  I thought that this was the right thing to do...the Christian thing to do.  Another thing...I've never purposefully or intentionally, hurt this person back.  I always had hopes that the attacks that they have thrown at me would one day, eventually stop.

Well, I came the the realization a few weeks ago that the attacks will never stop no matter how much I walk on egg shells!  Within a span of 2 weeks I was wrongfully attacked (that's the word I call it) by this person a total of 6 times!  I did not respond to any attack as I felt that any response I gave them would give them more ammunition in their quest to hurt me.

I've prayed, I've cried, I've sought the Lord on this matter.  I even asked my readers how they handle boundaries.  Well, after evaluating the situation and how it's gone unchanged for nearly 2 decades of my life, I decided that I needed to do something drastic.  I felt a peace about this from the Lord.  He showed me that I CAN NOT change the person that does this to me, but that I can change the way I respond. I CAN CHANGE ME!

So, after several days of praying, thinking and seeking wise counsel, my husband and I decided to set up boundaries with this person.  It's been extremely difficult and something we never dreamed we would have to do.  It has not only affected us and the offender, but other people that we all interact with.  In some cases it's been downright uncomfortable and awkward.  Our hopes are that this person will maybe one day realize that they can no longer use me for their personal dart board when they are upset, scared, angry, feel rejected, feel unloved and/or whatever other feelings they have as a result of whatever it is that sparks these internal rages within them.

I'm writing this because I've learned a lot about myself during this process. Early on in this relationship I didn't voice my opinion nearly enough, I didn't voice my hurts, likes, dislikes and complied in order to keep peace  I also didn't tell this person that the things they say to me and about me to other people hurt me.  In essence, I TAUGHT this person that it was okay to abuse me in this way.  Yes, you read that right.  I take full responsibility in that area.  When I came to the realization that I was responsible for the way I reacted to their behavior I decided to no longer live under their manipulative, controlling, passive-aggressive, sporadic behavior any longer and I chose to scale way back on our relationship.

This has been heart breaking to me.  I love this person very much and I'm deeply saddened that things have come to this point, but for my own sense of well being I did what needed to be done.  In my heart of hearts I desire to have a good relationship with this person and I will continue to pray that they seek treatment, and accept help for their mental illness so that reconciliation can happen.

I normally don't recommend psychological help websites here on my blog, but I found this one to be extremely helpful for me to understand exactly what I have been up against.  I'm posting it here in case it might help someone else that reads this.

If you read this far, thank you for letting me share a little bit of my world with you.  Feel free to comment, but please note that comments that mention specific names of people and comments that are mean or rude will be deleted.



  1. Thanks for sharing Heather! I needed to see this more than you know.

  2. You're welcome, Charlotte! Sorry that you needed to see it, but I hope it somehow helps you!

  3. are you deleting comments questioning your post or only rude comments?

  4. Anonymous,
    Feel free to question my post, but please know that I will decide on what I should or shouldn't allow to be discussed on my blog. I knew that this post had the potential to be controversial, so if you have a different perspective on this situation you're more than welcome to share. My heart is to keep this blog Christ-like. Thanks for reading!

  5. I wonder if the person you talk about has access to your blog. While clicking the link above I noticed the first paragraph said, "People with bpd may have suicidal or self harm behaviours". Do you think making your quarrel public is in your offenders best interest? J.P.

  6. That's a good question, J.P. First, let me say, that this person does have access to my blog (the entire public does), but to my knowledge does not read it. Even if they do read it, this person has already exhibited past behaviors in harming them self. Part of why I've had to set boundaries is to free myself of the guilt of their behaviors. Another part of my recovery, if you will, is understanding that my actions really have nothing to do with their behavior. Their behavior has everything to do with their illness and whether or not they seek treatment and want help.
    Another thing...In my opinion this is not a quarrel between me and my offender and I don't feel that I revealed too much information about it publically. I love my offender and have done what was in their best interest for a very long time while neglecting what was in the best interest of me and my family.
    My intention for this post was to share my side of this issue. There are all kinds of situations this could apply too. Think of the alcoholic...Al-Anon came from that and many, many people have been helped through sharing with others that have gone through the same thing.

  7. Question 1: What do you find most challenging when setting boundaries with loved ones? I personally find the most challenging thing is having them treat you like YOU are the one with a problem, instead of them looking within themselves to see what they are doing wrong.

    Question 2: When you set boundaries, do you feel like the people you set these boundaries for should always be told WHY you feel you need boundaries? Or do you feel that boundaries can be set non-verbally?

  8. Dear Anonymous,
    Thanks for the questions. Here's my response to each of them.

    Q1: I've found the same thing you did. My offender only things that I'm the problem and not them. BTW, I never did say that my offender has BPD, I only referenced that site because it helped me understand a few things. I'm not a Psychologist and can not accurately diagnose someone with a mental disorder...even if I think I know what it is.
    Also, I've found that my offender has continually attempted to break the boundaries that I set up with recently as this morning.

    Q2: I do believe that boundaries can be set non-verbally...especially with those that we don't have close contact with. In my case, I have very close contact with my offender and felt that they needed to be informed of my decision to set boundaries. I'm not sure if the offender needs to know the ins and outs of WHY we decide to set the boundaries. I've found that my offender truly doesn't see (back to Q1) that they are the source of the problem, so by letting them know the WHY I don't think it's really helped anything.
    Thanks for you questions/comments!

  9. One more thing...
    I think I've already said this enough, but just to stress this point again...
    I didn't set these boundaries for my offenders sake. I set them for myself.

  10. Thank you, Heather! Your answer has eased my mind a little. I'm sorry your person is not understanding your boundaries yet. I guess it just takes time. As far as any disorder goes I didn't think you sounded as if you were diagnosing a problem. Any information out there can help with a number of situations. I have not had a chance to look at the link but thanks for posting it. I will go look at it soon! Thanks again for the post. It is really helpful!