Step 1: Recognize

This lady broke all the boundaries when it came to skateboarding

Our kids are asleep and the house is quiet.  I'm sitting here in front of this blank screen wondering what I should say to kick off Boundaries Week.  I am no expert, I'm just the experience of one woman and I feel  inadequate.  Hoping you chime in and this becomes one awesome, demystifying boundary discussion.

There are so many bits and pieces of conversations and emails about boundaries bouncing around my brain.

                 "Boundaries piss me off!"

   "He says I shouldn't have boundaries."

                               "What are your boundaries 
                                                            and consequences?"

      "How do I enforce a boundary he doesn't agree too?"

       "When's enough, enough?"

    "Why do we need boundaries?"

Buster is the male counterpart of our doggy-duo, Buster and Lady.  The sun went down hours ago and in the desert during summer, that's prime time.  Temps cool enough to enjoy the evening.  So Buster and Lady bolt across the yard, tails wagging and noses sniffing.  In the Southwest corner of my front yard a mysterious vine grows.  It blooms are a sweet pinkish white and it hardly ever needs to be watered.  A miraculous adaption to the desert.  This is Busters' vine.  Sticking his nose in it and sniffing for the scent of an intruder...sure enough, a boundary has been crossed and he takes a nice long wizz remarking his territory.

If a big-old White German Shepard needs to make his boundaries clear then why don't I?

Boundaries used to piss me off in a teenage angst kind of way.  I was really put out that I'd have to set a boundary.  Wasn't our marriage based on mutual respect?  Promises? Fidelity and love?  Wasn't the boundary that we had committed our lives together, as one?  Aren't we both adults?  Wasn't there some kind of courtesy or Golden Rule?

This is where I was so wrong.  Just because you are kind, compassionate, empathetic and aware of others doesn't mean that everyone has that outlook.  I was under the impression that if I sacrificed something for him, he would do the same for me.  Soon, I found myself trapped in the grips of his control.  In a place where my feelings, ideas and thoughts were secondary.  He wore the pants, so to speak. I didn't dare buy the wrong kind of eggs at the grocery store much less put boundaries down about pornography in our home.

It became a joke between us, I never did anything wrong.  I was the perfect, obedient wife.  When I look in the mirror, I don't feel like a push-over or that I can't stand up for myself or have no self-confidence but when it came to Mr. Scabs, I let him.  Maybe, I thought that was love.  He was never cruel or spiteful, he just exerted control simply because I let him.

 Bill says it has something to do with the way I watched my Father treat my Mother.  

Sure, I'd rock the boat about hurt feelings or mistreatment but ultimately he'd tell me some gibberish about "trying harder to be better".  I'd believe him and that began our terrible marital cycle.  Round and round we went for years.  I gave up more and more control and he got more and more out of control.

One day, years before I learned about his infidelity, I disobeyed him!  *GASP*  My daughter wanted a pet, she wanted a kitten.  I wanted one too.  He said, "no."  When we resisted, he said, "NO!" more vehemently.  

I pouted for a few days and then the thought struck me, "I can do what I want.  I'm a grown woman."

So, I pulled up my big girl panties and packed my daughter in the car.  We drove to the shelter and adopted two cats.  Eddie-Jumper Cat and Twyla Girl-Cat.  Of course, Mr. Scabs fell in love with them.  He has an affection for all things furry---hmmm that didn't sound right did it?  Sorry Mr. Scabs.  (but it was funny, right?)

This whole scenario began my flight into independence.  I started living life for me and then I went to the grocery store and bought the eggs I wanted and didn't apologize.  

Setting Boundaries
Step 1: Recognize!

Tell yourself your a grown woman and put your big girl panties on.  Yep!  Your feelings, opinions and wants matter.  If you don't voice them and act on it, who will? Recognize that someone is stepping on your toes and you want it to stop.

Pick one thing you want to set boundaries with and work through this boundary setting self-talk.  Fill in the blanks with your own answers.

Mr. Scabs can't determine which eggs I buy.
I have the right to buy whatever eggs I want.
If he gives you backlash just say, "I'm sorry you feel so upset about the eggs.  Next time you I hope you go grocery shopping.

Some may say this feels selfish.  I get that.  But, really, are you the type of person that goes overboard and feels selfishly entitled to whatever you want when you want it?  I doubt it.  You're a good person and deserve good things in life.  Recognize.

Now go scramble your omelet!