Something I have always been terrible at is creating healthy boundaries with friends and significant others. Often I let my friends and partners become irrationally too close, and eventually, I wear out my welcome or they wear out there’s and in the end we end up hating each other.
Now that I am getting older, and attempting to get my life back in order, I have thought of various instances where I need to improve, and one of those areas is setting very specific boundaries with people. So I decided to take a class with a counselor, and learn what I could in order to know how to do this properly.
NO COMPROMISING OF CERTAIN VALUES
Every person has a button or a trigger if you will. Basically, we each have things that we are unwilling to compromise on. For me, and it took me a long time to realize this, it is pretty simple: when I say I need space, I most certainly need space. I don’t say it very often, but when I do, I mean it. Folks who are unwilling to understand the importance of providing me space when I request it (usually I request it politely at first, after that I am far from kind) – me requesting space is my way cooling down. It is something I learned from therapy long ago. My first response is rarely my best response. I am an emotionally charged person. So, taking a break from the situation to help me sort through what I am feeling, and what I am thinking, is necessary. Not everyone works this way. But it’s how I work.
Recently, I asked for space from a friend. I was pretty upset at what, let’s call him Jaws, did, and said, and I needed some time to cool down. He didn’t exactly allow me the space I needed, but rather I was enough of a dick to ensure that some sort of space was given.
I then told him that I still needed space, but laid out why I was irritated with him.
A day later, he told me that I had no reason to feel the way I did, and that I was being, and I quote an “unnecessary dick” – followed about some words on how my perception of reality was off.
This ticked me off further.
FEELINGS MATTER, EVERYONE MATTERS
I know I am an emotional person. Everyone does. If you have read my blog, you probably know that I am bipolar. I have talked extensively about this disorder this disorder with Jaws. And for him to mention that my perception of reality is off, illustrates that he is using my disorder against me.
Would you use someone’s cancer against them? Had I ever used Jaws’ HIV-positive status against him? We don’t do that because it is not appropriate. So, to use my disorder against me is also inappropriate. I do not enjoy being called crazy. Period.
My feelings are just as important, and just as valuable as anyone’s. I am currently being medicated for my bipolar disorder, and so to use that against me is just petty.
These are not people I need in my life. I need folks who are supportive of me, who understand that I am valuable, and who do not belittle my feelings. That doesn’t mean they have to agree with them, but they have not belittle them.