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Musings on boundaries
By maddy
10/9/2013 11:55:09 AM
Boundaries are not what I enforce on someone else. Boundaries are what I hold.

Too often as part of my addiction I have thought that boundaries were what I made someone else do and I tried to control them. I would try and use my words or manipulation to force, shame, or compel someone else into an action.

I still do this too often.

But I know that it is wrong now. I know that I must hold myself and my intentions in total accountability.

I am going to give an example I think I've shared on here before. With my young (and sometimes not so young) children when they are having a tantrum then I would say, "I will talk to you about this when your voice sounds like mine." This does a couple things. First, for me it means that I must have myself in control with the perfect model of behavior. MY voice must be gentle, calm and willing to listen. It demonstrates for them what the expectation is. It also holds my boundary to keep me safe and respected. I will not engage or condone contention and screaming and disrespect so if my child is doing that as 3 yr olds and teenagers are apt to do, then I set my firm boundary. I am teaching them that I love myself and deserve kindness by giving myself kindness and respect. I am also leaving it open for them to change. I am empowering them. I am leaving them the pathway to get to talk to me, but within BOUNDS. By doing that I believe I am telling them I love them, and teaching them how to love themselves.

This is totally different than screaming back at my kids, "YOU CAN'T SPEAK TO ME THAT WAY!!!" full of anger and indignation. Though the idea has it's similarities. This is not a boundary. This is a mess. I have to live my truth. I have to hold my line without contention and without fear. Often, I don't need to say anything to describe my boundaries. I just need to live them.

This is a very hard principle for me to work out in my marriage.

With kids, it seems easier because I have something they want. The car, the toy, the sweet or whatever triggered the bad behavior. That leverage helps me feel more in control...but there is the danger again. Trying to control someone else. My intentions have to be correct. If I can do it with my kids then I think I can do it in my marriage. Forget about controlling the other person's behavior and focus on my own. I need to treat myself with love and respect which if I do, it will natural extend to other's even if they are unwilling or unable to see it at that time.

I also think I can do it on this site. There are times where I have to hold my boundaries here. I cannot scream or yell because Christ wouldn't want me to be contentious, no matter what. I need to simply live my boundaries.

I often live my life in the mud. I think that it is possible to take the high rode and that is what I want. I crave dignity. I crave nobility of character. But it takes boundaries in all situations. I need to remind myself that I am entirely capable of that.

Comments:

Reminds me of something    
"I heard the other day on a radio show....If we want to draw people near to us and if we want them to really be able to hear and understand what we are saying to them, we need to speak with softness and kindness. But we push others away when we are loud and harsh and they can't even really understand what we are trying to say.

Good post, Maddy."
posted at 12:01:32 on October 9, 2013 by Anonymous
Like a boss    
"To: Maddy :D"
posted at 12:23:38 on October 9, 2013 by Anonymous
That may be the first time I've understood    
"The spouses on this site are always talking about boundaries, and I've always misinterpreted it. I, too, thought they were trying to control others by setting boundaries. Now I get it. Thanks, Maddy."
posted at 14:49:15 on October 9, 2013 by beclean


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"One of the great myths in life is when men think they are invincible. Too many think that they are men of steel, strong enough to withstand any temptation."

— James E. Faust

General Conference, April 2002