Seeking Guidance on Boundaries

Postby alexandra » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:51 pm

Hey All,

I'll try to keep this post brief and to the point. Those who know me from past posts will already know I've got a pretty badly damaged sense of self but as an update, the past year has been sheer hell and I have been trying to work very hard to learn, grow and be in a much better place and though I'd be pretty quick in the past to get back in the metaphorical ring, this time around has knocked me so far down that my grip on the belief that I will get better is quite shaky.

The events of the past year have fundamentally shown me that I have been expected to put up and shut up and that everything with others is more than fine as long as I keep quite about my needs, boundaries and expectations.

I've been making some good steps in owning my space and voice and accepting that I don't have a victim mentality like I've always feared, rather I've literally always have been told and taught that it's ok for others to hurt me, but I'm not allowed to feel, say or show that I'm hurt.

So the point of my post is to seek guidance from you all about how to differentiate between setting healthy boundaries with others and compromising or refraining from expressing my feelings etc as it's unfair, a wrong reaction etc to the other person. To make it easier I'll try and just list the situations and answer later in detail if needed or wanted. Thanks in advance! :)

1. In my marriage, a lot has gone wrong: gaslighting, hard manipulation and using from her to me. We're working past it... Actually, that's a lie.. She's changed some of her behaviour for the better, but we haven't worked on anything.

My question is: How do I express to her how I feel because of her broken promises of working on our issues etc and her "I don't knows" to questions I have about the emotionally abusive stuff?

I've tried so many different ways over the past year and we're in my opinion at stalemate and it's resulted in me completely disconnecting from her on an emotional level which she sees but doesn't know to the honest or full degree because her knowing my feelings or thoughts has led to arguments which happen because of her gaslighting me, being passive aggressive, verbally aggressive and evasive and the impact this has been and is having on my mental health is too severe for me to feel able to keep going through it.

2. My wife's friends (who are literally neighbors to my wife's apartment) and both my wife and I had a massive falling out last year about some very personal and important issues and none of us have talked since. A couple of days ago, one of these friends has said they'd like to be friends again sent me a text saying:

"I just wanted to send you a quick message to say that i apologise for my part in the argument last year and that i would like to just forget about it and move on from it as i am on a new jounery in my life that i would love you and clare to be apart of. I would love you to come to my bapitim and i will be telling the girls that come that it my day and to be nice and cordial."

I responded with this message:

" Hey X,

Thanks for your message last night. It takes a lot of courage to reach out the way you have and I respect and appreciate you doing it. I also appreciate you speaking to the girls to respect that it's your day and for everyone to be respectful and cordial with each other.

I appreciate that you want to move on and forget about everything that happened last year and it would be nice to move forward with you as well but we do need to talk. Air everything and how we felt and feel about things so that we can hopefully resolve things and just lay this to rest and move on.

I'm really glad to hear that you're on a positive and happy journey now and I hope that all of us airing and resolving this stuff supports the journey you're on."

She didn't reply to that message but she ran into me that night outside the apartment and said she got my message but didn't respond because she's had a crazy day and wanted us to meet up the following day so we can chat and asked for my wife to knock on her door when she's back from work to arrange a time to talk. I did pass on the message to my wife who is getting back in touch with her.

Question: Her initial message to me left me with mixed feelings, surprise she sent me a message, respecting the courage it takes to reach out the way she did and then hurt or some other emotional similar that I don't know how to name. I feel her words came across ungenuine and that she's expecting me to accept her apology and brush it off without even talking about it. The way she's been addressing this issue since our messages has my instincts flaring even more.

I don't want to be "friends" with her as I know I'll never trust her and she hasn't given me any reason to. I would like for us to be on good terms though, for my wife's sake, for her sake and mine in terms of resolving a bad situation but that's it.

I'd appreciate some guidance in how I feel because I'm conflicted in knowing if I'm feeling this way because her words and actions keep triggering stuff for me especially of: You don't matter, it's ok for people to hurt you, you need to shut up because no one wants to hear you. But on the other hand I feel in order to work positively towards being mentally in a better place and continue learning and owning me that I should express (not to her) but to my wife who I don't feel is actually understanding how badly the horrible, degrading and violating situation last year has impacted me. Especially because my wife was never there to stand with me when it all happened.

Secondly, this person's sister who is the other "friend" involved in this constantly looks at us literally with death stares or won't look, acknowledge us (even when her cat runs to us and we're trying to get the cat back to her) and her facial expression is of complete hatred.

Her behaviour is very confusing to me as it's actually her whose so badly in the wrong and she wasn't involved directly at all last year, it's her sister who was directly involved. I just feel her behaviour is aimed to provoke an argument which so far I've not taken the bait on, but as a whole, it's making me less confident that the friend whose reached out is actually being genuine.

Anyway... There's lots more but I'll leave it here for now. Thanks for reading this and appreciate and welcome any feedback, guidance, support you have for me.
alexandra
Senior Member
 
Posts: 1483
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 9:10 pm
Likes Received: 5


#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:42 pm

Keep it simple.

In my opinion, you are your own worst enemy. If a person has not yet learned to take care of themselves, they are in no position to mediate a multi-member conflict between neighbors. If a person has not yet learned how to negotiate boundaries in their own relationships, they should in no way, shape, or form be involving themselves in community relationships.

So it makes sense why you are struggling to figure out what to do and are seeking advice. Given your current inability to negotiate boundaries with a single person (your wife) it would seem to be a rather difficult task to get involved with a more complex negotiation involving your wife and neighbors.

My advice is for you to reduce, reduce, reduce. It will give you peace of mind as you move away from complexity and towards simplicity. Focus on you and what you can control. Focus on developing a foundation of low level personal boundaries and build from there.
User avatar
Richard@DecisionSkills
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:25 am
Likes Received: 975

#2

Postby alexandra » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:22 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Focus on developing a foundation of low level personal boundaries and build from there.


This is essentially what I'm seeking guidance about Richard. My post boils down to trying to differentiate between what is healthy boundaries and what is me essentially "overreacting" as my airing or expressing myself is treated as.

I've only recently been able to access mental health support where I am seen rather than categorized by ill informed assumptions. I was beginning my work on trauma to address the real reasons for my struggles in order to stabilize the blown up ptsd symptoms over the past year and thus manage the depression and anxiety.

However, I came to the uk to see my wife before going back to work on trauma stuff in therapy and groups and during my time here, I went through another ptsd crisis in choosing my path of staying and working on marriage or going home and continuing to deal with the ptsd, anxiety and depression constantly triggered at home.

Long story short, out of both bad choices, staying in the uk was the least harmful for my mental health so I stayed.

Before you say I had more than those choices, most of them cancel out for legitimate reasons. I resigned from my job back home last year due to bullying, lies and just utter abuse of power which was my initial setup last year for a mental breakdown due to the constant ptsd triggers. Then all sh** hit the fan when I came to the uk for a few months. This ultimately destroyed me and I've been working hard to get myself mentally healthy and functioning since.

I'm currently fully dependent on my wife until I get a job which I'm actively seeking and my family who are and have been supporting me while I get better. I've never been in this position before and it's the first time in my life that I am more than halfway believing that I'll never get up again, but I am trying because I can't stand the pain and torment in my mind and spirit.

The two situations I've posted about are the ones I'm facing on a daily basis and struggling. I've been keeping it simple by detaching myself from myself and from others. I needed to cut myself off mentally and emotionally because being emotionally present was taking me down a very suicidal path.

I've become so detached from myself that I can't cry anymore. My anxiety is terrible and I got a glimpse of how bad recently at a doctor's appointment where my heart rate wouldn't come down from 104 and then a monitor last week because I felt really ill knowing we were going to an event that day. My heart rate fluctuated from 104-120 for hours until late that night.

I tried this kind of meditative, sensory deprivation thing yesterday because again the anxiety felt like it was eating me up inside and I've been feeling the same today. I feel very stuck with my emotions because negative stuff I feel is locked behind what feels like a steel wall and I know I need to delve into it and release it to reduce all the other bad symptoms but I simply can't.

Anyway, I hope this gives a better explanation of my situation. I understand that I need to keep things simple, be surface level with everything while I figure out how to navigate stuff. I just need guidance in how to best navigate things with my wife given this new info I've written now and how to prepare myself to handle this arranged meeting whenever my wife and this friend decide a suitable day.
alexandra
Senior Member
 
Posts: 1483
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 9:10 pm
Likes Received: 5

#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:08 pm

alexandra wrote: I just need guidance in how to best navigate things with my wife


Reread your last post. How much of your last post is keeping it simple? How much of your last post is reducing instead of increasing the complexity? My advice is to simplify and instead you start trying to add layers of complexity with your thoughts regarding the UK, PTSD, bullying, etc. etc. etc.

You do not do yourself any favors.

Here is a simple exercise that helps define my boundaries. Starting from scratch, what makes it a good day? For me:

-1- I wake up as it starts getting light out.
-2- I enjoy a nice cup of coffee.
-3- I get some fresh air, enjoying a walk or some fitness.
-4- I clean things up, including myself.
-5- I pack up my office and walk to the cafe.
-6- Along the way I grab breakfast (usually some fruit, peanuts). I really enjoy mango.
-7- At the cafe I enjoy a hot beverage while pursuing my professional endeavors, learning, sharing, creating.
-8- I take a break, grab another bite to eat and relax a bit.
-9- I continue my professional pursuits, but typically in the afternoon it is more about the social aspects, networking, etc.
-10- I pack up my office and walk back to my place.
-11- I take a siesta and then read for a bit, or work on language.
-12- I enjoy an evening meal.
-13- I go for a walk to the city center (the park), go to the market, enjoy some entertainment, relax, talk with friends, etc.
-14- Once home I check messages and then decide my priority for tomorrow. Then I disconnect.
-15- I reflect and wind down.
-16- I go to bed.

The above is not complicated. The above is a chronological, very simple process entirely under my control. The above is extremely simple and makes a full and rewarding day. Repeat these sequence over several days and I have a great week. There are plenty of people in my life, but those people don't dictate my boundaries. No one else controls the above sequence of events. If the sequence is altered, it is by my choice.

What everyone else does with their day in my world is up to them. Whatever my partner does with her life, whatever her daily sequence, more power to her. Her routine and my routine can exist together. I respect her boundaries and she respects mine. Whatever my neighbors do is also up to them.

Notice my daily routine is all about me, me, me. Is it selfish? No. I have plenty of time in my day to interact and help others, but it is on my terms, not theirs. And I expect my partner to do the same.

You are trying to make it complicated. You probably don't even know what will make it a good day for you. You don't know your boundaries, because you are too busy try to please everyone else and thinking by pleasing others that somehow that will lead to you being happy. It won't.

Write out step by step what will make it a good day for you. Imagine yourself enjoying every moment. What would that look like? Focus on you. Once you have established such a day, then you know your boundaries, then you have something to work towards.
User avatar
Richard@DecisionSkills
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:25 am
Likes Received: 975

#4

Postby Candid » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:02 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:If a person has not yet learned to take care of themselves, they are in no position to mediate a multi-member conflict between neighbors.


Yeah, that.

It's great to see you here again, Alex, although I'm sorry to hear you're struggling so hard with PTSD symptoms. It's a mindfuck, I know.

What makes a difference for me is having just one level-headed friend who can point out when I'm taking on too much, as Richard has done for you. I mean taking on too much responsibility for other people's feelings. We can't feel or think for others. If we try we just cause trouble and insult them at the same time.

As to the I-don't-matter doormat syndrome, you need to keep chipping away at it. First and foremost look after your bodily needs, then practise noticing when and how other people encroach on your boundaries. You can begin to assert yourself in matters that aren't too important for you and build up to bigger stuff. Only when we know we're capable of defending our personal space can we relax and let other people do as they will without feeling conflicted ourselves.

As to the 'friend' who wants to pretend it didn't happen... either you can do that or you can't. I don't think you can force it except by an act of self-abdication that will make you feel like you've been a mug. Stick to your guns, Alex. You want the talk, insist on it. Be prepared to acknowledge your part in it. If it remains unresolved, so be it.

My best wishes to you always. xx
User avatar
Candid
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 7690
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:00 am
Location: Reading, England
Likes Received: 284

#5

Postby alexandra » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:32 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Reread your last post. How much of your last post is keeping it simple? How much of your last post is reducing instead of increasing the complexity? My advice is to simplify and instead you start trying to add layers of complexity with your thoughts regarding the UK, PTSD, bullying, etc. etc. etc.


The purpose of my posts so far has been to given relevant information regarding my situation and significant events that have happened or are taking place that are important factors. Perhaps this is where you are misunderstanding me?

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:You do not do yourself any favors.


I don't understand what you mean by this?

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Here is a simple exercise that helps define my boundaries. Starting from scratch, what makes it a good day? For me:

-1- I wake up as it starts getting light out.
-2- I enjoy a nice cup of coffee.
-3- I get some fresh air, enjoying a walk or some fitness.
-4- I clean things up, including myself.
-5- I pack up my office and walk to the cafe.
-6- Along the way I grab breakfast (usually some fruit, peanuts). I really enjoy mango.
-7- At the cafe I enjoy a hot beverage while pursuing my professional endeavors, learning, sharing, creating.
-8- I take a break, grab another bite to eat and relax a bit.
-9- I continue my professional pursuits, but typically in the afternoon it is more about the social aspects, networking, etc.
-10- I pack up my office and walk back to my place.
-11- I take a siesta and then read for a bit, or work on language.
-12- I enjoy an evening meal.
-13- I go for a walk to the city center (the park), go to the market, enjoy some entertainment, relax, talk with friends, etc.
-14- Once home I check messages and then decide my priority for tomorrow. Then I disconnect.
-15- I reflect and wind down.
-16- I go to bed.

The above is not complicated. The above is a chronological, very simple process entirely under my control. The above is extremely simple and makes a full and rewarding day. Repeat these sequence over several days and I have a great week. There are plenty of people in my life, but those people don't dictate my boundaries. No one else controls the above sequence of events. If the sequence is altered, it is by my choice.

What everyone else does with their day in my world is up to them. Whatever my partner does with her life, whatever her daily sequence, more power to her. Her routine and my routine can exist together. I respect her boundaries and she respects mine. Whatever my neighbors do is also up to them.

Notice my daily routine is all about me, me, me. Is it selfish? No. I have plenty of time in my day to interact and help others, but it is on my terms, not theirs. And I expect my partner to do the same.


This list isn't a list of boundaries though is it Richard? It is a list of your daily routine. Your boundaries are in you not allowing external factors to affect your routine. I don't get the purpose of you sharing this routine with me? If you had shared your boundaries regarding interpersonal relationships with family, friends etc, that would have made sense and perhaps given me a take away of where I did to reflect on where my boundaries are with interpersonal relationships and how you implement them etc.

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:You are trying to make it complicated.


Ouch! I am trying to make it complicated?? How?

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:You probably don't even know what will make it a good day for you.


Wow! You got that from one post?? A bit condescending?

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:You don't know your boundaries, because you are too busy try to please everyone else and thinking by pleasing others that somehow that will lead to you being happy. It won't.


No, I really don't understand why people read or hear one conversation/thread etc and then stamp labels. You do realize that there are a lot of factors/experiences that can lead people to certain outcome right? I can tell you that you are categorically wrong on this very strong, condescending judgement. Perhaps if you spent time trying to gather information before swinging your hammer down Richard would lead to more helpful, taken on board help that you are wanting to give on the forum?

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Write out step by step what will make it a good day for you. Imagine yourself enjoying every moment. What would that look like? Focus on you. Once you have established such a day, then you know your boundaries, then you have something to work towards.


Again, this isn't about what makes a good day for me. I'm not lacking in self-awareness, or understanding of things going on in and around me. I have spent 34 years of my life going from one abusive situation to the next because of the mental/emotional damage that I have faced. And I will say this again but more direct: I am trying to learn how to dismantle, replace false thought processes that have been ingrained in me since childhood with reasonable, balanced and healthy though processes so that I can navigate this life and interpersonal relationships in the way that every mentally healthy person should.

In all honesty Richard, I believe that your intentions in being here and replying to peoples posts are to help them, and I completely understand that the information given to you per post is limited, we all make judgements, tone is hard to read etc. However, I truly struggle with your responses because though I see the points and guidance you are hoping to give, your replies are so patronising and condescending that it leaves the poster feeling like "wow, I'm so stupid, I knew I shouldn't have said anything etc." or it makes the poster understandably angry/defensive because you are outright attacking someone who has come to a forum supposedly geared to help others to gain insight, support and help for very real and personal issues for them.

I'm all for being blunt, saying it how it is etc as I am very much like that myself; however, you're not being blunt. You know next to nothing about me and instead of feeling heard, guided, bluntly rationalised with etc, you've made some very harsh, attacking judgements about who and what I am and it is very offensive. I'm very open to hearing feedback, advice etc from you or anyone else on here, but this is supposed to be a "safe" place and I have to say that your messages have been very hurtful, uncalled for and whatever your "good intentions" or message was under it all has unfortunately got lost in your personal character attacks about me.

I don't expect you to respond to this, but I'm trying to not filter myself so much that I keep whatever I think or feel to myself and blame myself for how I feel/think. Now, I'm going to say how I feel and think and just put it out there, I'm really, really fed up of people such as yourself putting me in some box and telling me I'm basically stupid, a muppet and a dumbass. I'm actually quite intelligent, very self-aware, and it's been me who has faced more than my share of sh** and I'm still here, picking myself up, learning, evolving and I'm just really f***ing fed up with this self-righteous mindset that anyone who is struggling with relationships has a "victim mentality" and seriously if that is all have understood from a few posts then I think you seriously need to reevaluate how you evaluate others and why.

That's my two pence, thanks for your time and again you're welcome to give your feedback, but that up there ^ is my thoughts on any further unfairly negative judgements you have about me without first asking for that information.

Thanks,

Alex
alexandra
Senior Member
 
Posts: 1483
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 9:10 pm
Likes Received: 5

#6

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:45 pm

Alex,

I see this as a public forum, not a therapists couch. Because of the format, advice is always given based on very limited information. In the years I have been providing advice you are not the first nor will be the last to complain about judgments being made without getting the whole picture or a better understanding.

You have a problem that you decided to post in a public forum. I took the time to provide you my honest opinions. And instead of taking whatever advice is provided for what it might be worth, you complain about the advice. How has that worked out for you in life?

Keep wasting your time trying to make life more complicated than it is. Good luck with that.

As for me, I will move on to other threads and continue to give the advice to those seeking an honest opinion. As always, some will appreciate the advice, others will not. That’s life. Pretty simple.
User avatar
Richard@DecisionSkills
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:25 am
Likes Received: 975



  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Relationships