Holding the Line

I have a problem with boundaries. Personal ones, not actual-physical-like-a-fence ones. I often think the problem isn’t with me. I have a very acute feeling for the existence of my own boundaries, as well as a solid sense of the boundaries of those around me. I respect them, and I find I quite need my own. I am an insular person in a world of tell-alls and whistleblowers.

You see, I tend to think the problem lies with other people. I seem to attract people who are incapable of seeing and respecting my boundaries. Or who, more likely, just don’t care about rushing forward and trampling all over them. I often feel that, like Lucy from the Peanuts comic strips, I have a “the counselor is in” sign above my head. I don’t know how these people find me. But they do. I feel compassion for them. I want to help them. But they end up being energy and emotion vampires, sucking up all the air and life and creativity from my existence. It feels as if they simply fill me up and up and up with all their worries, regrets, angers, and on and on — all the crap from their own lives — until I am full and there is no room left for whatever it is that makes me “me”. I feel like I am not a real person. I am just an empty box sitting around, waiting for someone to put their life-crap into it. Sometimes, I wonder if I even exist in my own right.

acorns on the groundYesterday, I had an epiphany (of sorts). As I was talking to my therapist about how to deal with the boundary-trashing people in my life, I realized the problem isn’t just them. It’s me, too. I feel like I somehow attract these types of people into my life because that’s exactly what I do. I open myself up and just let them freely trot in and trample through my life like pigs in a garden. I do not trust myself and my own sense of boundaries. I do not respect myself. I freely give to others what I don’t seem able to take for myself. Don’t I deserve the same respect and human dignity as the people around me?

Yes, of course I do. It sounds so simple to say it or type it out here in my blog. And I need to find a way to make it that simple in my real life, too. My therapist told me it was a spiritual duty to protect my own boundaries and respect my own human dignity, just as I would with any other person. “A spiritual duty” … I like thinking of it that way.

And so, world, I am sorry. I can’t be the box you use to carry around all the crap you think you might need but don’t want to deal with. That load is too heavy, and it eats away at my life. I have my own crap to deal with, but this stuff … This is yours. You need to find another place to store it. Because I am making changes. I am learning how to hold the line.



6 thoughts on “Holding the Line

  1. I am one of those people who aren’t always aware of other folks boundaries. Mine are really fluid, and I always forget that not everyone’s are. I forget to knock before I try to walk in people’s front door (literally and metaphorically) So to the extent that I am one of those boundary-trashing people in your life — sorry, forgive me?, and let me know how to do better going forward. Sounds like you are making good choices for yourself, and you should be proud. Hugs!

    • Oh goodness! You are NOT one of those people. Ever.

      I think there are good ways to break across personal boundaries, and there are bad ways. Toxic ways. And your ways have always been good to me and for me. Even if your own personal boundaries are fluid, you have always respected my dignity and my own limits. I love you for that — and for so many more things, too!

      God truly blessed me when He brought you into my life, dear friend. *hugs*

  2. You go girl! Stop carrying everyone’s crap. I totally sympathize with you. This could be my story and my own words. The unhealthy way I deal with it? I stay away from everyone and now I am deeply depressed in a whole new way. Let me know if you find something that works. I will be your biggest cheerleader! Hugs

    • Thanks! Cheerleading is always appreciated and actually helps a lot. How about if I be your cheerleader, too?

      I can’t say I’m any better at dealing with it. Once the load becomes too heavy, I do the same thing: isolate myself. And, yes, fall into depression. It’s a difficult, draining, and frustrating cycle. I feel your pain, dear friend.

  3. whoo hoo great topic. Here is a good thing to say “go see a paid professional” I can’t help you.
    My son who is only 13! said to his poor dear whining about the good life grandmother, “if you have time to complain, you have time to do something about it” He is a kind and loving boy.
    We all attract emotional vampires but what varies is how long we choose to let them feed of us!
    It is obvious I am passionate about this topic. The kindest thing to do for them is refuse to be fed off them because if no one let them, they would be forced to look at themselves. SEE, saving people by saying bye byes. am I naughty sometimes?

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