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.
Yesterday, 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.