Boundaries

Disclaimer:  This is lengthy and NOT a normal thing of West Word.  This is just something (a huge something) I have to get off my chest so I can move on and continue on with sharing our stories again.

I have been almost entirely missing from blog land for 6 months now.  Something happened to whole heartedly hurt me, and I walked away from a lot of things that I loved.  Photography.  Blogging.  Reading Blogs.  I withdrew.  I became depressed.  Sometimes I'd sit down to write and would instead stare at my screen as an hour went by.  Sometimes two hours.  Unable to put anything to words.  Sometimes for fear I'd hurt feelings.  Sometimes for fear the person that hurt us would be pleased to get an update on us or see the kids faces.  Petty I know.

The hurts all boil down into one issue.  Boundaries.  I decided I'm going to talk about some of it, in hopes to maybe open others eyes, and because I want to move on.  I want to start sharing again and I can't seem to move on without speaking my mind. 

Bullying.  That's where it starts.  When you're a child and you're bullied by an adult, you retreat into yourself, and for the most part you're smart to do so because an adult can quickly over power a child if they are further angered.  You learn to cope, you learn to avoid, you learn to withdraw inside.  You also DON'T learn to stand up for yourself, so you are an easy target for boundary issues when you become an adult.  Then the same reactions take place, as that's all you've learned.  You cope, you avoid, and you don't speak up.
 
That can only happen for so long before something snaps inside and you say "ENOUGH is enough."  It's good to finally stand up for yourself, except you often look like a lunatic.  Formally quiet, soft spoken, easy going person now out of now where goes 'ballistic'.  Or so it looks to others, especially the abuser.  Then questions come up.  "Why can't you let 'Aunt Matilda' be herself, why do you have to be so angry?"  "Why do you have to be so unfair?"  "Why are you always thinking of only yourself?"  All false acquisitions. 

Everybody deserves to be able to say no.  To draw lines.  To say enough is enough.  The word "no" isn't a challenge.  And that's what we have been feeling, like we're being challenged on our "no".

I was recommended to read a book, Boundaries , in it boundaries are explained in the form of a yard/property.  People have their yards, their fences, their gates.  There's correct ways to enter a property, like a gate, and there's incorrect ways. Jumping a fence or bulldozing down the fence.

Our fence keeps getting bulldozed.  And then we're made to feel bad if we get upset our fence is now gone.  We get ignored, we get excluded, we are given the "silent treatment" by many people all rallying around the bully until we apologize or enough time has passed that all parties just ignore what has happened.  Love is withdrawn from us unless we accept this person as is.  Manipulation.  Let's look at that definition.

To manipulate somebody you skillfully influence them in an unfair way.  You falsify against them to your own advantage.  You use tactics to get what you want, like threats or as a parent, will withdraw your love from a child.

This is what we're dealing with.  I can't take it anymore.  I can't stand as more and more people exclude us or refuse to see our kids for fear of "upsetting" the manipulator.  For then they too will get silent treatments.  Or because they are starting to believe the lies about us.  I get it, it's hard to be a target.  It's hard to stand up and say "hey, this is wrong."  It's hard to potentially hurt someones feelings.  You can't change a person.  It has to come from within.  BUT, you can say you will no longer stand for this treatment.  You can say to your bully that you can do these "things", but I'm going to walk down a different path.  With or without you.  You can form boundaries.  But being an enabler doesn't help.  Ignoring doesn't help.  Being scared doesn't help.  Others need to speak up too. 

I liken the whole start of this situation to this analogy.... I have a blueberry bush.  I work and work and work with it until it is harvest time.  I invite people over to share in my hard work.  I go inside to tend to a few things, and when I come out my guests have harvested and ate all my berries.  My berries!  I am not able enjoy what I, myself, have worked so hard on.  When I show some upset over this I am made to feel bad about myself.  I'm told I'm selfish and think myself the center of the world for even thinking that my guests should have waited for me, and that furthermore, I deserve it because of trivial things.  Like I didn't eat a slice of cheesecake at a gathering.  Or I interrupted my guests one time.  And for the simple ‘fact’ that I am selfish and think myself the center of the universe.  I'm diseased, I'm horrendous, I'm hostile and I need to suck it up buttercup.  And my husband needs to suck it up princess.  To even be upset that I missed out on the fruit of my labor is ridiculous.  I need to share and quit being self-centered.

Sound a little off?

I can't take it anymore.  I will no longer stand to have a bulldozer in my life, bulldozing down my fences.  It's unhealthy. It isn't fair to my children to have people they love dearly in and out of their life because of "silent treatments" because their mommy is standing up for their family.  Because their mommy is saying "no you can't call my son names" (we do have that one on video – the name calling of my son), no you can't be a bully, no you can't be a manipulator.  In our life anyways. 

Love withdrawal from children is a manipulators tactic.  It is an abusers tactic.  Name calling is a bully tactic.  It is an abuser's tactic.  I will not stand to have my children watch as their parents are bullied, called names, humiliated, and they themselves are called names.  I will teach my children how to draw boundaries.  I will stand up for myself.  I will say no.  And I will mean no.

I have drawn my boundaries, and they will stay.  I will no longer play the victim or watch as my husband plays the victim, hanging his head in shame as he is told he is a worthless man.  We will hold our heads high.  We will walk a different path.  We will no longer feel guilty for being humiliated, made to feel like we deserved it.

We don't deserve it. 

Saying "no" isn't what we were told as 'unprofessional'.  It's mature.  It's mature to say no,  or to say I don't like this - vs ignoring and pretending everything is fine.  It's mature to try to talk things out like adults, not lash out and call each other names.

I've withdrawn for 6 months because I had to mourn the loss of what my kids are missing.  What we are missing.  I cared that much.  This "selfish, horrendous, hostile and virulent" person cared so much it took 6 months of mourning what could have been.

I still mourn, and will still mourn so long as I have to look my son in the eyes and not know what to say when he weekly asks to see these people.  For he doesn't know nor understand how they hurt his mommy and daddy so bad.  He doesn't understand how badly he himself can be hurt if it further continues.  For you tell a child one time he is an idiot, and he will believe it as true, for you are the adult authority.  I.  Will.  Not.  Stand.  For.  It.  You bully and/or manipulate an older child, and it affects them for a very long time.
This little boy who loves so freely, so innocently.  He was hurt too when a related person refused to see him for fear of hurting the manipulator.  He cried and I had to hold him and tell him it would be okay, that he is still loved more than life itself.

That's when I decided I wouldn't relapse into the absused mentality of "forgive and forget."  We will and have forgiven, but won't forget.  We won't ignore and pretend nothing happened.  Not at the cost of an innocent child's feelings and self worth when things go wrong again. 

To withdraw your love to your loved ones as punishment to get what you want is manipulation.  In turn, to avoid being exposed to an abuser over and over again, that is safeguarding.  It's nothing to feel guilty over.  It's a consequence to a boundary not being respected. 




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