May 25, 2010
I wrote this about four years ago for my little sister, then eight years old, during a time where BPD had a very strong grip on my life. I had been away at school, so she did not see much of what went on, but when my parents decided to bring me home in an effort to help me get my life back together, the sometimes harsh reality of what it meant to be my sister started to take its toll on her impressionable mind. For this I felt guilty… And still do. She has seen so much more than a little girl should…been faced with much more worry and stress than she deserves. All because of me… Or maybe I should say… BPD. I still feel badly about it. I still wonder if there is ever anything I can do to make amends. I wonder if I have scarred her for life. Anyways, back in 2006 I had hopes that this mysterious force that led me towards something resembling insanity would somehow disappear. That I would be made free. That I would wake up one day and all of this confusion and misery would be gone. That I could just say to it “Go away!” and magically it would vanish. I suppose this story reflects the hope I still clung too as well a hearty dose of naivety. Little did I know that it would be years before I would even identify, let alone begin to heal from, this monster that terrorized my life and the lives of those around me.
This story is called “The Princess and the Snake”…
Once upon a time there were two beautiful princesses. One was almost grown-up and the other still quite a little princess but very grown-up in her ways. They lived in a beautiful castle with their loving parents, the King and Queen, and their two silly prince brothers. They were all happy and had lots of adventures together, and the two princess sisters were the best of friends.
One day the oldest princess, whose name was Princess Edde, told her younger sister, the Princess Emily, that she was going far, far away to the land of Provo and would stay there for a long, long time. Princess Emily was sad. “Why do you have to go far away?” she asked. “So I can go to school and learn about how to be a Queen someday,” said Princess Edde. “But I will be back in the summer.” She hugged and kissed the little princess and rode off in her carriage to the faraway land.
Princess Emily missed her big sister and best friend. She thought about her all the time. She thought about her when she put her dolls to sleep. She thought about her when she watched her favorite movie, The Little Princess, and when the Queen made snickerdoodle cookies, which were Princess Edde’s favorite.
Princess Edde missed Princess Emily too. Even though her school in the faraway land kept her very busy, she thought about Princess Emily all the time. She thought about her when she walked through the children’s section in the library. She thought about her when she ate lunch at the cafeteria. She thought about her when she dressed up for a dance, and when she saw pretty girls with blond hair that looked just like Princess Emily.
Finally, summer came, and Princess Edde returned. Everyone in the palace was so happy! “She’s more grown-up and busy a lot,” thought Princess Emily, “But she’s still fun to play with!”
Summer ended, and it was time for Princess Edde to return to the land of Provo. “I’ll be back in summer again! Be good Princess Emily!”
So another year passed, and the whole time the two princess sisters thought about each other. Princess Edde came home again the next summer, and it was a lot like the summer before. Everyone was happy, and they had many adventures.
But the next time Princess Edde came home was very different. As she stepped out of the carriage to greet the King, Queen, prince brothers, and prince sister, everybody gasped. Around Princess Edde’s neck was a humongous snake. Its green scales glittered in the sunlight, and its eyes were like two big red rubies. It looked at everyone, one at a time, and hissed a loud “HSSSSSS,” its long slimy tongue going in and out. Princess Emily screamed, “Get it off! Get it off!” But Princess Edde sighed and said, “Oh don’t be such a scaredy-cat. It’s a nice snake. It won’t hurt you. Some people I met in the land of Provo gave it to me, and I like it. I feed it and take care of it, so its getting even bigger and stronger—soon I won’t be able to carry it anymore! Then I’ll be sad, because my snake and I are the best of friends.”
As Princess Emily listened to her sister, her face got sad. She had a feeling Princess Edde wasn’t going to be much fun anymore. But, she would try to be happy anyways and have fun with her sister… but, she didn’t want to go anywhere near that ugly snake. She wanted to scream really loud and scare it away, but she kept her mouth shut. Princess Edde liked it, and Princess Emily knew that nothing she could do would make her give up the snake.
But she sure wished her sister would. The snake was nothing but trouble, and Princess Emily couldn’t understand why her sister wanted it. It would slide all around her and whisper things in her ear that made her sad and angry. Sometimes the snake told her to do things that the old Princess Edde never would have done—like getting frustrated at everybody and even yelling at Princess Emily sometimes. It made Princess Edde sad and very upset at herself, but still she wouldn’t get rid of the snake. She did everything it said and believed everything it told her. Her eyes became sad, and she walked slowly because the snake was so heavy on her shoulders.
The Queen worked especially hard to convince Princess Edde to kill the snake. Sometimes, Princess Edde would listen to her and understand that she needed to get rid of the snake once and for all. So she would throw it on the ground in front of the Queen and kick it. But, when the Queen left, Princess Edde would feel bad for the snake, and pick it up again.
One day, the snake was tired and wasn’t whispering very much in the Princess Edde’s ear, so Princess Edde wasn’t feeling too sad. Not having to worry as much about the snake, she walked around the palace looking for the Princess Emily. Hearing her voice in the royal kitchen, she poked her head in the door. Standing with their backs to the door were Princess Emily and the Queen. “Mommy Queen,” said Princess Emily, with tears in her eyes. “I miss Princess Edde. I wish she were happy.” “Me too,” said the Queen, “But she won’t be happy and fun anymore until she kills that evil snake.” “I wish she would,” Princess Emily replied, “Then we could have fun again and the palace would be a much happier place for everybody.”
Princess Edde, after hearing this, walked to her tower in the castle and looked out over the land. She looked and she thought for a long, long time. As she stood there, the snake started to whisper again. The whispering got louder, and the snake became heavier. Princess Edde thought of Princess Emily. She thought of the Queen. She thought of the King. She thought of her prince brothers. She thought of her friends, the ones in the kingdom and the ones in distant lands. She thought about books, and music, and dancing. She thought about everything really hard. Suddenly, with a tremendous shrug, she threw the snake onto the floor.
“What are you doing to me?” the snake hissed. “I am your friend. I tell you the truth about yourself.” “You are a liar,” said Princess Edde, “And everything you tell me are lies. They make me sad. I want to be happy. I want to play with Princess Emily again. And you are not going to stop me.” The snake’s eyes burned bright, and it coiled as if ready to strike. But before it could, Princess Edde grabbed it by the tail and threw it as hard as she could out of the window—the snake fell, down, down, down and hit the ground. It was dead.
Princess Edde had never felt so free! The heavy, horrible snake was no longer on her neck. She could run and play again! Quickly she ran around the palace calling “Princess Emily! Princess Emily!” Finally she found her putting her dolls to bed. “Princess Emily!” she exclaimed, “The snake is gone! I killed it!” Princess Emily jumped up and down for joy, and both princesses danced around the room and sang. “Does this mean we can play again? Does this mean you’ll be happy again?” asked Princess Emily. “Yes!” said Princess Edde, “What will our next adventure be?”
So peace and happiness returned to the castle. And the two princesses were once again, the best of friends.
Me and Emily… 2004
April 30, 2010
I can barely keep my eyes open as I write this. I am exhausted, even though I slept for 10 hours last night and then took a 2 hour nap. I am emotionally drained. I have spent some long nights this week talking to fellow mental illness sufferers and helping them through their pain. Don’t get me wrong, I love being there for other people. I consider it part of my reason for being here on this earth. Serving as a conduit of love and hope is an essential aspect of who I am and of my journey. However, I recognize the need for me to recharge my batteries and that I may be spreading myself a bit thin.
Combine my new romantic relationship with the current friend and family relationships I work to maintain, plus a plethora of new friends I have met through blogging and facebook who are in need of my support, not to mention the emotional work I am doing in therapy… I am spent. I can feel the exhaustion pulsing through my veins. My mental capacities are worn out. My emotions are all used up. Stress has taken its toll on my body. I’ve avoided cutting, but have been binging much more to compensate. I am so tired. I need some serious TLC. Someone needs to take care of me, just one day. I need a break. Just a day would suffice. Then I would gladly go back to helping my friends, offering my support, advocating the causes that are so important to me, being there for my family, and being a loving girlfriend. But for right now… I need rest. Please…
Let me rest…
Let me close my eyes…
And let the world and everyone in it just disappear…
Just for a moment…
Just let it all go…
April 6, 2010
“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” ~Jim Morrison
Last week I had particularly upsetting experience with a so-called “friend” who, after being rejected in the potential-for-romance department, ripped off the “I’m such a nice, caring guy” mask and revealed himself to be a self-centered, arrogant, and back-stabbing jerk.
Well, it happened again. Different guy, similar situation. Thankfully I wasn’t cussed out or called names this time, but his main complaint was that I only engaged in “small talk” with him and wouldn’t divulge all of my thoughts and feelings to him on a continual basis. He was puzzled by the fact that I had become “distanced.” He kept asking over and over again when we were going to hang out, why I had stopped talking to him on a regular basis, and I kept making excuses and avoiding until the truth finally came out.
Unfortunately, similar to the previous guy, he got to know me during a period where I took masks on and off as quickly and easily as I did tying and untying my shoelaces. The girl they knew was a personality specifically formed for them, who made them feel like they were her best friend in the entire world. Desperate to somehow alleviate the deep loneliness inside, I recklessly formed relationships with anyone and everyone and clung to each of them as an ultimately futile way of forming an identity.
I gravitated towards unhealthy individuals who tolerated my lack of boundaries and enjoyed their egos stroked. As I am becoming more integrated and unveiling my “true self” underneath the layers of false identities, I find myself drifting away from these people, seeing them for who they are. There are certain people I simply do not wish to have in my life anymore. They only serve to bring me down, and out of respect for myself and commitment to my recovery, I cannot allow them back in. I am now reaping the consequences of what BPD led to me to do and attempting to clean up the mess, if you will. It has not been easy or fun.
However, this time around, I was stronger. Even though, in the end, this guy “disowned” me as a friend simply because I was honest about my illness and straightforward regarding my new boundaries (which he refused to accept), I simply wasn’t as upset as the last time. I didn’t cry myself to sleep or have urges to self harm, which I was so relieved about. It just didn’t seem to be as emotionally devastating this time around, probably because I have gradually gained a better grasp my personal “Bill of Rights” (see March 28th post) and my definition of the title “friend.” In my world, a friend is someone who allows you to be yourself at all times, accepts you with all your weaknesses and imperfections, doesn’t expect to “get” something from you, and respects (even loves) your boundaries. To me, that is a true friend.
Anyone less than that is merely a poser, an abuser (heaven forbid), or simply someone who lacks the emotional maturity or skills to engage wholesome relationships with others.
After this experience I was overcome by a fit of “social spring cleaning” – I purged my Facebook friends list, going from 693 friends to 211. Most of those I deleted 1) I never talk to anyways; 2) probably don’t even remember who I am; or 3) have played a negative part in my life. All that remain are my family members, fellow church-goers, and my REAL friends. It was a cleansing process for me, and proof that you can take a distressing situation and use it for a good end. (*NOTE: I am not referring to the Facebook profile connected to this blog, which is merely for networking and advocacy purposes; rather, I’m referring to my personal Facebook page.*)
Speaking of Facebook… Why oh why did I have to be introduced to those horribly addictive Mindjolt games? Talk about time suck! In fact, I think I’m getting carpal tunnel playing that stupifying “Bouncing Ball” game. MindJOLT?? More like MindNUMB!!
I’ve been in a strange mood today – a little laissez-faire with a splash of awkward goofiness. I can’t say I’ve been particularly productive, but I haven’t been especially bored either. The day has flown by, but I can’t really tell you anything that I did! Am I having a brain lapse? Probably.
Lastly, I watched the movie “Girl, Interrupted” last night. My many and varied thoughts on it tomorrow… I reached the peak of my brownie-sundae-explosion-induced sugar high about five minutes ago and I will now be experiencing a crash in 3… 2… 1….
April 1, 2010
Drum roll please!…
…*Drum roll commences*…
I made it through the day!
AND was finally able to accept the fact that what happened on Tuesday is not a reflection of my self-worth. The guy was a… um, jerk… (I had to censor myself here) and I’m very glad to be rid of him. I’m learning how to set boundaries and to separate myself from poisonous people. And while I’m still in kind of a fragile mental state, I was able to get through today without succumbing to any self-harm urges and got myself to exercise, clean my room, and work on my blog.
Plus, I made an appointment for tomorrow with yet another therapist. It’s a woman, which I’m more comfortable with, and my old therapist said that she has a similar counseling style to her own. Wish me luck!
March 30, 2010
It was an interesting day… I feel a bit uncertain about it. Some parts were fabulous, some parts not so great. It may be just the fact that I am becoming more acutely aware of my quickly changing emotions and what brings them on, or perhaps today was just particularly emotionally volatile…. But whichever it was, I felt like someone was playing “tug of war” with my mind. I felt great this morning. I woke up early to help out with a service project at my church. It was so great to do something “outside” of myself, and I felt more comfortable around other people than I have in a long time – probably because I was thinking less about being watched and judged than I was about getting the project done. It was a nice change.
However, it seems like Newton’s Third Law of Motion – every action has an equal and opposition reaction – is actively at work in my life. As soon as I had come down from the “high” of the morning, painful thoughts began to push and shove their way into my mind. How frightfully inconsiderate! Here I was, having an near perfect day so far, and then my mind takes a 360 on me! Even my mom (who was with me at the service project) noticed a change. I had developed a bad case of what I call “Velcro mind” – when thoughts get “stuck” in my brain and drive me to the point of despair and/or neuroticism. I did my best to fight it despite my stomach knotting and anxiety threatening to creep in. I tried listening to some upbeat music, but it didn’t help. Baking is an effective distraction for me, so as soon as I got home, I went straight to the kitchen. Desperate to keep myself from slipping, I vigorously whipped up a batch of snickerdoodles. I don’t think anyone has ever baked cookies with such great drive and purpose I did today! I wound up with about four dozen to, and baked goods are a dangerous thing to keep around the house, so I decided to share the bounty by delivering most of them to friends (which activity also helped me escape from my mind, at least for a while). I owe a lot to those little savory morsels of buttery, cinnamony sweetness…
So everything was again right with the world. My mom, my sister, and I ventured to Coco’s for dinner. I decided to let myself splurge a bit and ordered shrimp pesto pasta with garlic parmesan bread. It tasted so good and before I knew it, I had completely obliterated the thing. Almost immediately after putting the fork down, I was hit by a tidalwive of shame and self-loathing. Even though I had decided that I wasn’t going to purposely “diet” today, I still felt disgusted with myself, and that familiar gut-wrenching anxiety set in full force. Every sound in the restaurant seem amplified, and the lights much too bright. I covered my eyes and tried to breathe but the feeling persisted until I was back in the car. Thoughts of self-harm fought for dominance, and I was tempted to just give up and give in to the negative emotions sweeping over me. Instead, I asked my mom if we could stop at the bookstore. One of my favorite hobbies is creating collages from pictures I find in magazines, so I thought that working on that tonight might help keep my mind off what I was feeling.
Now what I’m dealing with is a guy that just won’t get a clue. I started to talking to him on Facebook (big mistake) and became so fed up that I literally screamed with frustration. No matter how clear I have tried to make it, no matter how many times I have said, “Sorry, I can’t see you” or “Sorry, I can’t talk” or “I really need some space right now,” he has kept pushing and pushing and pushing… Finally, he said something tonight – the straw that broke the camels back… “So, when are you coming to visit me in San Diego?” EXCUSE ME?! How dense ARE you?! Then he started to say how he’s tried to be understanding and be a good friend even though I kept pushing him away, etc. Now, this is a person that I became “friends” with during a time in my life where I was completely fake. I put on a different mask for each person. So the girl he got to know is not the girl I am today. I said right out “I don’t know how much more clear I have to be that I’m not interested. I’m not the person you once knew. I have changed. I have different desires, a different direction, and a different outlook on life. I really don’t believe we have much in common anymore. And I need to stop being pressured. I need to move on. This will be our last conversation.” As I wrote it, my heart was pounding and my anxiety level through the roof. Confrontation and directness is the hardest thing in the world for me. It makes me feel like I’m somehow “bad” or “mean” or “unfair.” But something inside me snapped. I couldn’t take it from this guy anymore. NO means NO! For so many years I have let people walk all over me. Rarely have I ever stood up for myself. But I did. And I know it was the right thing to do… But I still feel so awful. The voices in my head are saying “You were too harsh,” “How could you be so mean to someone who tried to be so nice?,” “You can’t even have a normal friendship,” and “There’s something wrong with you.” I feel like crap. Did I do the right thing? Did I handle it the right way? …
Why does this keep happening to me?
How did I develop so many unhealthy and even poisonous relationships?
Am I right in eliminating them now?
Who do I let in, who do I keep at bay, and who do I shut out forever?
Am I thinking black-and-white again, or is this simple self-preservation?
I can’t handle this right now… That one conversation shot me down into a complete emotional mess… I feel sick…
March 2, 2010
One of the books I’m reading as part of my therapy is “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Itbasically teaches you about setting and maintaining healthy boundaries with yourself and other people, and addresses issues that arise when boundaries are not maintained. It helps you learn what you are responsible for and what you’re not, and when to say “no.”
The lack of boundaries has always been an issue for me, and until I started therapy, I really had no grasp of the concept. I didn’t understand that I wasn’t responsible for everyone else, and that others did not have a right to invade my “space,” in a sense. I didn’t even understand that I had the right to say “no” without feeling guilty, or that I could be in control of what (or who) does or does not have a place in my life. This book has been very educational and has helped me to recognize the need for boundaries in my life and the tools to create them (and stick by them despite pressure from others).
Last night I read the chapter on “The Ten Laws of Boundaries.” The principles described here really hit home with me, so I wanted to write about them and how they apply in my own recovery:
Law #1: The Law of Sowing and Reaping
Basically, this is the law of cause and effect. This is simple reality. You can’t avoid consequences. If you overspend, you will most likely get into debt. If you eat right and exercise, you will have better physical health. Obvious, right?However, in human relationships, some people try to save others from this law by stepping in and reaping the consequences for someone else. For example, if every time you overspent, your mom stepped in and covered for you, she would be keeping you from experiencing natural consequences, and you’d never learn anything. You would do it over and over again.
I’ve found that I have a tendency to “step in” when it is not wise that I do so. Sometimes I have this “savior” mentality where I feel like I want to save those I love from ever being hurt. I’ve gone to great lengths to “fix” something for someone else, but by doing that, I not only drain myself, but I take power away from them – I keep them from experiencing the consequences and learning from them. This is called codependence. I have also been in relationships where my partner attempted to do the same for me – to “rescue” me from pain naturally occurring from the choices I made. In those relationships, I never really grew… I assumed that whenever I “messed up,” my partner would step in and “save me” (usually in an emotional sense).
Law #2: The Law of Responsibility
Cloud and Townsend write: “We are to love one another, not be one another. I can’t feel your feelings for you. I can’t think for you. I can’t behave for you. I can’t work through the disappointment that limits bring for you. In short, I can’t grow for you; only you can. Likewise, you can’t grow for me… You are responsible for yourself. I am responsible for myself.”
This kind of goes right along with Law #1.We are responsible “to” people but not “for” people. This was an important thing for me to learn, as I have always felt responsible for other people’s happiness. I felt if I couldn’t make everything all better for them, I was failing them. In reality, they are responsible for their own feelings. I am ultimately responsible for mine.
Law #3: The Law of Power
Under this heading there is a Bible verse that really hit home with me. It expresses my own feelings about my struggle with the thoughts, feelings, urges, tendencies brought about by depression, borderline, etc:
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keeping doing…waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members (Romans 7:15,19,23).
This is a state of powerlessness, a state I know very well and fight against every day. Though I do not have the power in and of myself to overcome these patterns, I do have the power to do the things that will bring the fruits of success later on:
- I have the power to agree with the truth about my problems.
- I have the power to submit my inability to God. (I cannot make myself well, but I can call the Doctor! I can ask for help from my therapist and those I trust.)
- I have the power to search and ask God and others to reveal more and more about what is within my boundaries. (Communicate and be open to evaluating myself).
- I have the power to turn from the negative I find within me. (Not that I’ll be perfect, but I can recognize that those things aren’t good and take the steps I need to replace negative behaviors with positive).
- I have the power to humble myself and ask God and others to help me with my developmental injuries and leftover childhood needs.
- I have the power to seek out those that I have injured and make amends.
The serenity prayer says: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. In other words, “God… help me to clarify my boundaries and to know what I have the power to overcome myself, and what I need to turn to You and others for help with. Help me to know what is me and what is not me.”
Law #4: The Law of Respect
If we want people to respect our boundaries, we must respect theirs as well. Hearing “no” has always been hard for me. But if, we love and respect people who tell us no, they will in turn love and respect our no. “Freedom begets freedom.” When we accept that others have the right to set boundaries with us, we feel better about setting our own.
Law #5: The Law of Motivation
We fear that other people won’t respect the boundaries that we set with them. This is quite an issue that I struggle with. I’m afraid if I tell people no, or be specific about my needs, they will be disappointed, angry, or hurt (I’ve learned to fear this from past experiences). I’m afraid I will be abandoned. Sometimes we do a lot for other people, not out of love, but out of fear. Fear that we will not be loved anymore if we confront them or say no. This is a false motive that keeps us from setting boundaries, and it includes:
- Fear of loss of love, or abandonment.
- Fear of others’ anger.
- Fear of loneliness.
- Fear of losing the “good me” inside. (“I’m being selfish/unloving”)
- Guilt (When I say no, I feel bad)
- Payback (You receive things with a guilt message, so you feel obligated to give back)
- Approval (The other person becomes a symbolic “parent”)
- Overidentification with other’s loss. (Haven’t dealt with their own losses so they feel someone else’s sadness to a much greater degree)
If I do things for others for any of these reasons, I’m not really free. I’m not doing it out of love and being a good person. I just get bogged down more and more. “Let God work on the fears, resolve them, and create some healthy boundaries to guard the freedom you were called to.”
Law #6: The Law of Evaluation
Sometimes we assume that if we set boundaries, we will get a negative response. Though this is sometimes true, that doesn’t mean we should avoid boundaries. Ultimately, when we set boundaries, the result is good for both you and the other person (in the long-term). It leads to honesty, relief from guilt, and better communication of who you are and what you need. Though it may be difficult because setting boundaries sometimes requires confrontation and hurt feelings, if we do not do this, anger and bitterness will set in because we are not being open about our own limits and needs. Doing so also gives the other person permission to be honest as well.
Law #7: The Law of Proactivity
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Cloud and Townsend give the example of someone who has spent years being passive and compliant, and then suddenly exploding out of nowhere. Though this reactive phase of boundary creation is helpful (especially for victims) and frees that person from a feeling of powerlessness, being stuck in this phase does not allow for the development of proactivity. “This is where you are able to use the freedom you gained through reacting to love, enjoy, and serve one another. Proactive people show you what they love, what they want, what they purpose, and what they stand for. These people are very different from those who are known by what they hate, what they don’t like, what they stand against, and what they will not do.”
I went through my own phase of “reactivity” and “rebelliousness,” in a sense, where I felt like I was fighting against people and ideas all of the time. While it made me feel powerful, it was also a very negative place to be. I started to pass off judgments about people without even really thinking, and I just felt like arguing all of the time. I eventually realized that’s just not where I wanted to be and needed more positivity and love in my life.
Law #8: The Law of Envy
Envy focuses on what others have or have accomplished, or in other words, outside of our boundaries. It can lead us to neglecting our own responsibilities can become a destructive spiral downward. Instead of envying what someone else has, look at yourself and figure out why you feel like you’re lacking so much. Why are you resentful? Do you really want that? Then you need to work on yourself, instead of focusing so much time and energy wishing you could be like someone else. Comparing yourself to someone else never leads to growth. Taking inventory of your life and your desires does.
Law #9: The Law of Activity
God gave me the ability to take initiative. He will match my effort, be he doesn’t do my work for me – that would be an invasion of my boundaries. Passivity and “shrinking back” never pays off. I am supposed to try, to put the effort in. I’m going to fail and make mistakes, but at least I’m trying… And that’s what’s important. The “trying” part is completely my responsibility. When a baby bird is ready to hatch, if you break the egg for it, it will die. The bird needs to peck its own way out of the egg. This strengths the bird and allows it to function in the outside world. If you rob the bird of this responsibility, it will die. If God or others “hatch” for me, I will ultimately fail. I won’t have my own strength to get through life. That’s why problems and struggles are so important, and why God doesn’t fix everything for us. If He did, we would never learn and grow.
Law #10: The Law of Exposure
“The Law of Exposure says that your boundaries need to be made visible to others and communicated to them.” Because of the fears described earlier, we set “secret” boundaries. We withdraw, resent, or experience the pain of someone’s irresponsibility instead of being honest about how they effect us. If boundaries are unexpressed, relationships suffer. Nothing good ever comes from lack of boundaries. If they’re not exposed directly, the will be communicated indirectly (passive-agressiveness) or through manipulation.
We need to make sure people can see us clearly. Boundaries help us to be seen and heard. If we do not communicate our needs, desires, things we are uncomfortable with… we hide parts of ourselves in the darkness. “When our boundaries are in the light, that is, are communicated openly, our personalities begin to integrate for the first time. They become ‘visible’ and then they become light. They are transformed and changed. Healing always takes place in the light.” This was incredibly eye-opening to me. It helped me to understand at least part of the reason why I struggle with feeling like a real person and why I’m different depending on who I’m with or what situation I’m in… It’s my lack of boundaries and communication. I’m so afraid of “losing” people, of being rejected or abandoned, I “hide” myself and allow anything and everything into my person. My personality is not integrated. Once I start setting boundaries, being honest about who I am (my needs, wants, beliefs, values, etc), I will start to feel “real” and I won’t “lose” myself around other people. And this will allow myself to heal and discover who I really am. Amazing!
I wanted to share all of this because it has taught me so much. My goal is to work on having healthy boundaries with other people, so I can feel better about myself and have successful relationships. This is just one chapter of the book… The rest talks about boundary myths, boundary problems, how boundaries develop throughout your lifetime, etc… I might be writing about this book again sometime soon. There’s just so much information to process… Wow, I just pretty much wrote a book of my own. They’re going to kick me out of the library here in a minute so… Goodbye!