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Boundaries and Ultimatums

Old 09-16-2008, 06:18 PM
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Boundaries and Ultimatums

I'm an adult child of an alcoholic, but my wife and I agree she may have a slight borderline personality, at the very least she's very self sabotaging, and is a very lazy, unmotivated person.

Going through my recovery, I've grown up a lot, and have really found that I don't like dealing with people's issues anymore. I really don't. I'd rather let people deal with their own problems, on their own, and not take them on for myself. But sometimes her problems/behaviors certainly affect our marriage and I'm learning to set boundaries with my wife.

But the boundaries I've set have become increasingly more and more harsh, simply because she doesn't respect the easy ones I set, so I set them harder and harder because I have to. I realize she doesn't respect my boundaries because she doesn't have any of her own. I feel like at this point my boundaries have evolved into ultimatums.

Is this natural? Is this the natural process?

I feel like I've gone from "Please stop this", to "If you do this one more time, I'm out of here" or more specifically, "I've realized that this behavior isn't healthy for either of us, and if it continues, I'm out". And seriously, I am at the point where I'd have no problem leaving for a weekend. I've made my points clear in each step, and haven't waivered or let her slide on things. But her self defeating attitude simply causes me to be so hard on her, it's scary.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
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Old 09-16-2008, 06:24 PM
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I think the difference between a boundary and an ultimatum is the motive. A boundary is a limit on the behavior I will expose myself to. If I have to leave to protect myself, it's still a boundary. An ultimatum is a threat designed to force someone to change their behavior. The outcome desired is not self-protection, but a change in someone else. Boundaries require acceptance that the other will behave as they will and my reaction has no power over them.

Having said all that, I could not stay in a relationship where I was detached from my partner for most of the time.

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Old 09-16-2008, 08:50 PM
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For me boundaries are about my own behaviour not anothers.
For example, if I don't like what another person is doing, I'll leave the room.
If I don't like the way a conversation is headed, I'll stop conversing.

The only thing I know about ultimatums is, if I'm gonna give them I got to be prepared to put my money where my mouth is and follow them up.

You also see to be quite informed on your wifes 'defects'.
You are aware that recovery is about focusing on your own?
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