Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Fences, continued
Beth is right. I didn't discuss boundaries when it comes to people with whom I actually have familial relations.

I am told that it takes baby steps.

I have, however set up some boundaries with those I am related to because boundaries in my famiglia are...well, what boundaries? So if I hadn't set up some little fences around my life, my family would be sleeping in my non-extant guest room and I would be...really, you don't even want to know.

Here are some of the boundaries I have set up with those people that I am related to:

1. I cannot be reached at work. Seriously. I do not care who you saw at the Soupplantation at lunch. If a relative is calling me at work, someone had better be dying and it better be the sister calling me to tell me that this someone is dying. By dying I am referring to things like head on car crashes with airbag deployment - not, fender bender with crying. This someone had better be blood related to me. FYI, your receptionist's mother is not related to me.

2. I do not have a guest bedroom. Yes we have two "extra" rooms. No, they are not guest rooms. End of story. This is not a negotiation.

3. I do not have a medical degree. Despite working in a clinic I cannot diagnose a dislocated shoulder, a prolapsed uterus, shingles or an allergic reaction to Darvoset. Go to the doctor.

4. I am not going to sit by while someone turns purple with rage at some perceived slight. I will get in my car and drive away. I will not come back until next time. If it happens again, I will leave again. I will keep leaving until lessons are learned. Or not. In which case, I will just keep leaving.

These are some of the boundaries I have created in my life. There are other things that I have not quite managed. I am not perfect. Seriously - but I am trying to be better.

I am working on the stuff around my weight, food and body image which is a major topic of conversation in my family. Last gathering I hemmed and hawed when asked (multiple times) what I've "been doing." I haven't quite figured out how to let them know that this is off limits without getting into a discussion of why it is off limits and why I have so many rules that no one else in my family seems to have.

After all, discussing what we've eaten, what we're eating, what we're going to eat and how much weight we (or other people) have gained or lost is a major topic of conversation in my family. I'm afraid they won't know what else to talk about. Although the awkward silence might be amusing for a moment or two, I'm pretty sure the silence after a nuclear holocaust would pale in comparison.

So thanks Beth for the prompt. It's hideous to start trying to be the mistress of boundaries at 36, but I'm working on it.

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Blogger Allison said...

I think those are perfectly reasonable in situations that seem pretty unreasonable. And the way you described them was wonderful - I truly felt the ickiness of them!

I feel lucky that in my (natural) family there are pretty clear boundaries and we don't have a lot of issues. However, now that I'm married and have another "family," it's a whole 'nother ball of wax. Talk about no boundaries. Eeesh.

Blogger miss kendra said...

when you figure all this out, i will have a copy of your game plan. ;)

Blogger Faith said...

Thanks Allison and Miss K.

One of the worst parts of boundaries with family is that I usually end up being the selfish bitch. For instance, if I leave because someone is throwing a full on rage fit, I end up not helping clean up the kitchen, leaving it for others, therefore, I am 'selfish bitch.' It's hard to be that person when I've gotten my positive reinforcement my whole life being the good daughter.

Blogger Msempower (aka Em) said...

Guilt = a four letter word. I'm currently reading: 31 Words to Create a Guilt-Free Life.

1 down, 30 to go:)


Blogger WineGrrl said...

Ah family...they know EXACTLY what buttons to push.

Blogger Bridget said...

I know exactly what you mean about boundaries with family. Two Christmases ago was a full-on disfunctional family nightmare, and so I declined to subject myself and my family to it last year. Was terrified that I would get kicked out of the family, but it went better than I expected. Except the part about my mom suffering at me, but I'm getting better at dealing with that, too.

Thanks for the links. Though I don't have an eating disorder, I suspect the info on boundaries will be very helpful.

Hope New York goes well!

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