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Old 09-25-2010, 02:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Boundaries - another dimension (possible rape trigger)


If you look back through my posts, you'll see that I am a sucker for the whole boundary thing. I think they are such a crucial part of being emotionally healthy and form a foundation for the person we are and who we present to the world around us.

I was reading something on a blog about boundary violations in terms of sexual violence (The Boiling Frog Principle Of Boundary Violation ) and the central theme rung so true to me. If I let someone violate my boundaries, then I am telling them that my boundaries are not watertight. But why is that? Why do I let it happen?

This part of that blog post from Harriet Jacobs explains a lot for me (I have included it all out of respect for her post):

Quote:
Women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:

it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (“mean bitch”)

it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (“crazy bitch”)

it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (“stuck-up bitch”)

it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (“angry bitch”)

it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (“bitch got daddy issues”)

it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (“dyke bitch”)

it is not okay to raise your voice (“shrill bitch”)

it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (“mean dyke/frigid bitch”)

If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.

And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.

Women who are taught not to speak up too loudly or too forcefully or too adamantly or too demandingly are not going to shout “NO” at the top of their goddamn lungs just because some guy is getting uncomfortably close.

Women who are taught not to keep arguing are not going to keep saying “NO.”

Women who are taught that their needs and desires are not to be trusted, are fickle and wrong and are not to be interpreted by the woman herself, are not going to know how to argue with “but you liked kissing, I just thought…”

Women who are taught that physical confrontations make them look crazy will not start hitting, kicking, and screaming until it’s too late, if they do at all.

Women who are taught that a display of their emotional state will have them labeled hysterical and crazy (which is how their perception of events will be discounted) will not be willing to run from a room disheveled and screaming and crying.

Women who are taught that certain established boundaries are frowned upon as too rigid and unnecessary are going to find themselves in situations that move further faster before they realize that their first impression was right, and they are in a dangerous room with a dangerous person.

Women who are taught that refusing to flirt back results in an immediately hostile environment will continue to unwillingly and unhappily flirt with somebody who is invading their space and giving them creep alerts.

People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored.
I appreciate that this has nothing to do with alcoholism, however I would say that it has everything to do with the fact that women are socially set up to be non-enforcers of boundaries. And also the blog post has great insight into how the non-enforcement of boundaries gives a great signal to someone with emotional vampire like tendencies.

I look back now to my relationship with my ex and can see so clearly how my boundaries were tested and found to be lacking. There was one weekend a few months into our relationship where I had some friends to stay. We had a Mexican night and got some tequila as part of the whole shebang. Not much was drunk on the night but I noticed a couple of weeks later that the bottle was almost empty. I asked my ex and I can't remember exactly what was said, but that doesn't matter. The fact that I let it go is the important thing. I will make all sorts of valid excuses for that (I had no experience of alcoholism, everything else was going great, he was very believable) and some not so valid ones (I didn't want to rock the boat, I thought it was a one off despite some other strange drinking signs). That I continued the relationship despite the lameness of his excuse - it must have been or else I would have remembered - gave him a big green GO sign to carry on in that vein, to test every boundary that I may or may not have had.

I could rant with the best of them about my ex and his behavior. Bottom line. though, is that I had weak boundaries. I couldn't change him, but I could have avoided all of that by saying "thanks, but no thanks". I find it fascinating to explore why I didn't.

Please tell me I am not alone in being a dumbass......
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I can't tell you how many times I've wound up having sex with someone because, I reasoned, I'd let it go "this far" and gosh, how unfair and unreasonable to say "no" at this point.

Yeah, I'd rather give in than have some jerk disapprove of me.

No, you're not alone. But let's not call ourselves "dumbasses", k?
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Heh - I don't really think that, although I have shaken my head at myself a few times. I was naive.

I think this is such a crucial point - I let things go because of what HE might think.

Huh?
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I was raised to speak my mind, and, I do. My problem is tempering my responses, especially to other women. The lady who has the eternal maternal mother syndrom, who treats her adult children and husband like children, I always struggle with not opening my big mouth and saying "What are you thinking?"

As for my emotional state, that I can usually control. I learned how to when I worked with all men in corporate america. I had to stand nose to nose with them, and, take a non emotional approach to my job, and, as the years went by, it became part of my personal life too. Really don't know if that is good or bad, but, it is what it is.
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Old 09-25-2010, 03:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Dolly - I do to with the eternal mother thing. And the treating the husband like another child etc etc. In fact, I have to bite my tongue in many situations. But I do it because of my boundaries and my respect for their boundaries.

I think non-emotional is good. The fact that you are questioning it is interesting. Are women supposed to be emotional when we impose boundaries? Surely that just feeds into the "crazy bitch" steroetype. Or if we aren't emotional, then are we "mean" or "stuck up"?

This is not just a recovery issue, people.
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, due to my career, I learned that being emotional in the work place, was a deal breaker.

One guy I worked for said "Dolly thinks like a man". I wasn't sure how to take that, men only think with one side of their brain... I guess the otherside is a vast wasteland! Wonder what they do with it? Woman on the other hand use both sides of their brain, we transmit back n forth, thus multi tasking at all times. So I guess I should have felt insulted!

I am neither stuck up or mean, just in control of my emotions. A lot of crying and wining by either men or women make me want to flee the room!
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That was very insulting, Dolly, what that man said to you. Very neurosexist of him.
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am older than dirt. This happened in 1972, at that time the word neurosexist didn't exsist. And most women had no clue of what discrimination in the work place was all about.

In the latter part of the seventies, all h*ll brokem loose, women were standing up and demanded to be counted. Unfortunately, the movement fizzeled.

Today, women still make only 82% of what men make for the exact same position.

As a side note, I left that guy in my dust, that job was only one rung on my ladder to a sucessful career.
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Good for you, Dolly!

The movement is gaining traction, you will be glad to know. The whole 3rd wave choice nonsense is being challenged on a daily basis and what you have gone through is not in vain.

Thank you, for what you have modelled.
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I would like to see more women promoted to the executive circle. It is a world of its own and I know for a fact that there are many well qualified women who deserve to be promoted to that level.

We use to hold women back by keeping them as our our executive secretaries, we didn't promote them because they did all the mundame stuff we didn't want to do. We now call them administrative assistants, basically the same job, new buzz word for the same support staff position.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I found that entry very revealing and informative. Thank you for posting it!!

I'm no longer living with my XABF, but my current landlord/roommate has an extreme lack of communication skills that I actually find disturbing. Rather than communicate his needs when it comes to logistics around the house (cleaning duties, rent payment etc), he instead uses angry behavior and the leaving of "clues" that I and other renters are supposed to pick up on. Leaving the vacuum for someone to trip over so they know it's their turn to clean, taking away all the silverware in the house if they weren't organized properly in the drawer etc.

I have just accepted his behavior as that of a damaged person who wasn't raised to communicate in a verbal way without going completely nuclear and raging.

Recently I discovered he was entering my locked room when I would go out to turn off lights and things he felt should not be left on. I saw it as yet another "clue" I was supposed to read into so I stopped leaving anything on no matter how briefly I was out of my room and still the inspections continued. When confronted about it, he denied it all.

I finally saw no choice but to state my boundary firmly and directly, which I did. I cosidered it an invasion of privacy and do not like at all. He grunted acknowledgement and that was the last he spoke to me.

Since that time I have been treated like a walking plague. I have overheard some very choice conversation about me and my rampant bitchery. I am the enemy and deserve nothing but scorn and scowls.

I suppose as long as I am subservient and bending where the prevailing winds go, sniffing out the clues on how I'm supposed to behave, I am tolerable, but when I become an individual with needs and wants and with lines I won't allow to be crossed, I am a raving, irrational, stone cold B**tch with a capital B.

I admit I started to cave recently and actually felt like I had done something wrong and started to believe there was something wrong with me. Those old codependent feelings and inferiority complexes bubbling up. I had to give myself a good talking to that I had every reason to state a boundary. I did nothing wrong.

You've reminded me to stay strong! Thank you for that.

Alice
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks for the post, Bolina. I've had to read it, leave, come back to re-read, etc. My initial reaction was just that: a reaction without taking in the entire blog and post. The reaction was 'you mean I was the reason I was abused?!' It's taken several reads to realize the blog really points out that my not enforcing my boundaries initially was probably a signal to STBXAH (even if on a completely subconscious level for both of us) that I would enable his alcoholism and put up with the abusive behavior. Blehhh.

I don't think I was raised to be quiet, subservient or to allow my needs to be overlooked. My mom and sisters certainly speak their minds and stand up for themselves.

I find it interesting that I've been able to read the other threads about boundaries without internalizing the messages or examining the issue.
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
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great thread that gave me some great insight. though i am strong in many areas, when it comes to close relationships i tread lightly and have been stamped with those inhibitions that have made me the perfect Sap to have married an alcoholic and dance that dance. I see it clearly! Now i just want to break that cycle, state my boundaries and be proud i have, loud and clear!
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:39 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I go back to the "good old days", when the following, was law to our Government departments and generally a way of life in lots of professions, including nursing.

As a nurse, if I married I was expected to leave my employment.
Working for the State Health Dept, I had to resign my position when I married.

WHY? Because it was assumed my husband would financially support me and I didn't need to work anymore.

Those who had a bad marriage, stayed in it because everything was geared to keep her there......society, family precepts, financial constraints and employment rules.

Now of course a woman can leave, and recieve all sorts of help not available in those days, and of course she now has access to higher education and finacial assistance to gain professional degrees. Many in the old days had cleaning, or domestic help jobs or were part of a factory production line, poorly paid, laborious and boring and grim.

I take my hat off to those women, who sacrificed who they COULD have been, so their children could be saved from a miserable existence.

God bless
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Old 09-26-2010, 05:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dollydo View Post
Well, due to my career, I learned that being emotional in the work place, was a deal breaker.

One guy I worked for said "Dolly thinks like a man". I wasn't sure how to take that, men only think with one side of their brain... I guess the otherside is a vast wasteland! Wonder what they do with it? Woman on the other hand use both sides of their brain, we transmit back n forth, thus multi tasking at all times. So I guess I should have felt insulted!

I am neither stuck up or mean, just in control of my emotions. A lot of crying and wining by either men or women make me want to flee the room!
LOL

It took me a looooong time to learn how to deal with things without emotional input or output first, but learning how to see things from logical point first then decide the emotion after.

It also helped that I worked in law office environment for many years and learned the art of negotiation and strategy, and tried to apply it to my life.
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Old 09-26-2010, 05:21 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
I was raised to speak my mind, and, I do. My problem is tempering my responses, especially to other women. The lady who has the eternal maternal mother syndrom, who treats her adult children and husband like children, I always struggle with not opening my big mouth and saying "What are you thinking?"

As for my emotional state, that I can usually control. I learned how to when I worked with all men in corporate america. I had to stand nose to nose with them, and, take a non emotional approach to my job, and, as the years went by, it became part of my personal life too. Really don't know if that is good or bad, but, it is what it is.

Dolly, I"m a business owner-myself and my partner are both women-in a male dominated industry and it's very interesting to watch the dynamics in meetings, business dealings, etc. I've been told the same thing-in 2010-that I think and act like a man. Of course, it's said while looking at my boobs but I set very clear boundaries and keep working.

My business partner is an emotional mess and it's really getting on my nerves. I think she's a detriment to our business, as she will get all worked up and cry instead of take action. I hate it, having to calm her down, listen to her BS until she's over it and can get back to work.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:45 AM   #17 (permalink)
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This is an interesting discussion for me because it brings up an issue that I never knew existed within myself. That is the difference between intellectual learning and emotional learning.

The signals and stereotypes were very clear in my family of origin. The whole wife is subservient to husband, children (especially girls) should be seen and not heard, etc. I remember when I got to be in my teens, I was exposed to other opinions. Feminism, equality, all those things that were not a part of my upbringing were suddenly available to me in terms of beliefs and opinions. And I embraced them wholeheartedly, forsaking the 1950's mentality of my parents.

What I didn't realize until just a few years ago was that despite my intellectual rejection of the sexist attitudes of my childhood, I had absorbed much of it on a subconscious, emotional level. It was a huge AHA for me because it explained much about why I "believed" one way, yet behaved in another--especially in my marriage.

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Old 09-26-2010, 11:53 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Yep, it's true LTD. It's up to us to stop replicating the dominator model of society.
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:22 PM   #19 (permalink)
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This may seem somewhat OT, but my all-women Alma Mater had to close its doors last year because it had refused to give in and go co-ed. I went there just at the crest of the women's movement when all gender-specific colleges were going co-ed. '

The argument my college pushed at the time was that women, when allowed to achieve their potential among peers, and where their leadership is not usurped by men, they benefit by the increased opportunities to learn leadership skills. Now, perhaps we don't need to segregate ourselves to prove our leadership abilities, but I think that, as LaTeeDa said, we accept our roles more subconsciously, even now.

I'm also proud of myself for winding up where I did, from a shriveling codependent wife of a raging alcoholic to someone who found a career at the age of 46, quadrupled her salary in 5 years, and then decided to leave the corporate world and do just what I wanted to do as an independent contractor, making a salary I would not have believed ten years ago. My best clients are the males (and females) who respect my opinion and value my services.

I don't believe you have to get militant about it. I think you have to do your job, with the same personal detachment we learn in dealing with our As. When people respect your work, they usually respect your boundaries. At least that's been my experience.
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:28 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The problem with articles like this with relation to rape or being passive in relationships is it places the blame on the woman... yet again.

You can be who you are, how you are. Loud or quiet, soft or firm and you should never ever be assaulted.

It smacks of 'if she only did X than Y wouldn't happen' in cases of rape.
Wrong.

Sorry I had to say this because as women we need to embrace all our richness and use it to our advantage, not as a deficit.
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