Boundaries… The word used to feel heavy or closed. I would hear it and I immediately felt a sense of walls going up, a closing of heart and mind. The thought of setting boundaries felt the same way.
My innate tendencies are to please and fix, especially with those that are not deserving of my time and effort. I have always been the one to do everything in my power to ‘mend fences’, even when it comes at the expense of my own well-being. I would regularly sacrifice my own health and sanity, if it meant I could make things better between family members, or help a friend. It took me a long time to see how extreme and unhealthy this was.
I need you to hear me… PLEASE. HEAR. ME.
Do not EVER let another person put a price tag on your head.
No one can determine your worth but you. Not now, not ever.
Several years ago, I was dealing with some serious family dynamics. Issues building up decades of hurt and frustration on both sides. Every time I thought we had moved passed it, something would happen and it would break the wounds wide open again. And every time, I felt it was my responsibility to get everyone on good terms again. I was running myself ragged trying to repair relationships and mitigate terrible, hurtful situations.
I remember constantly feeling like I was the parent, not him. Me just fixing, fixing…. eternally fixing. Wondering why I couldn’t let go? WHY am I always the one that has to FIX EVERYTHING?!
I had been drawing lines in the sand, but then wiping them away and drawing another. And another… And another. (You get the point)
I realized that I couldn’t keep setting these expectations and enduring constant disappointment and heartache. When we discussed how we move past it, I said we needed help. We needed to go to a counselor together. He agreed, but then would never go. I asked for months, always met with some sort of lame excuse. He had put a price on my worth, and I let him. I had let him make me feel as though I was not even worth his time. I knew (still know) that I truly am a good person. Why could he not see me?
Then one day, I was just done. I had to make a decision. After so many tears and so much guilt, I came to the realization that if I wanted to have a relationship with him, I was going to have to accept that this was all he was capable of offering. If that was the case, was I willing to accept that for the rest of my life? (After all, he is family, and you don’t ever abandon family)
Nope. I had to SET A BOUNDARY with him. I kindly told him that I loved him, but he needed to stop contacting me until he was ready to go to counseling. We could not continue on with our toxic relationship.
This idea that a ‘boundary’ was a wall surrounding me has now changed. I realize it is actually a boundary surrounding the other person… This wall holds them away from me so that I can be free and live my life with my heart wide-open. I can love more freely, because I am able to focus more good energy on those that I CHOOSE to build up (i.e., my awesome hubby, family, and my Core 7 Tribe!). I no longer have to hold space for things that were breaking me and keeping me in a box. BUT I can also choose to enter inside that wall when I need to or want to. The beauty of it all is that it is MY CHOICE. I get to decide when I open the door and go in.
Sometimes, I still find myself feeling guilt and sadness for not having him in my life. I wonder if I have made the right decision. What I do know, is that you can love someone from a distance.