Establishing Boundaries

Old 04-03-2007, 05:30 AM
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Establishing Boundaries

I know I've written similar posts, but I am beginning to try to flex the boundaries muscle within and am wondering if anyone else has found it difficult to clearly establish them to yourself?

Seems like my mind is so apt to discount my own personal needs that it is taking a large exertion of effort to really be clear to myself as to what a boundary should be.

For example, it's clear to me that when my abf was actively in his addiction (unbeknownst to me) and I began to associate his withdrawing and indifferent behavior as a reflection of his dying feelings for me- it was absolutely impossible for me to focus on myself. At this point I went into panic mode and for whatever reason it made me more needy and clingy in the sense that I was that much more consumed with regaining his attention and affection. Nothing was about me. I abandon so many priorities and commitments and things central to MY life just to secure moments with him where I might receive a glimpse of the man he use to be- a drop of the attention and affection I had come to once expect from our relationship.

Focusing on oneself is tough when the other person has given your life so much meaning. It's frustrating to me because for so long I have actively discounted everything important to ME. Making it that much more difficult to discern MY wants and values from my codep behaviors in which I attempt to feel better about myself through others words, attention, etc.

I feel guilty (why? why? so irrational- I should not feel guilty) sometimes for attempting to own my power. The obsessive, panicy reactions have become so much of the norm that NOT reacting in that way is creating discomfort. So I am hoping that a boundary would be to CHOOSE not to react in old, negative patterns that kept me stuck in the cycle of codependent behaviors and made focusing on myself impossible...

I have to remember to take "baby steps" as I am a personality that likes to attempt getting somewhere as fast as possible. Being patient with oneself is difficult.
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:41 AM
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grateful rca
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you are off to a good start, you are right to take it slow, one step at a time. when i got to the point where i didn't know me or what i wanted out of my life, when i realized that i was living totally in my rah's world, and when i finally excepted the fact that there was nothing that i could do to change my husband's behavior or the way i thought he felt about me, i gave up trying.

my first set boundary was no using around me, then it quickly became no staying out all night, then it went to no using and staying out at all. i ended up seperated a lot, but that was ok for me after awhile. i was able to focus more on me cause i decided that i would set a no contact rule for myself and i realized what i didn't know didn't hurt as bad as what i did.
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Old 04-03-2007, 06:03 AM
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hi heather,
i'm still very much a newbie to boundaries myself, but i've found that even the smallest ones that i've been able to set and maintain have helped me to feel stronger. even the ones that have nothing to do with addiction or my abf.

silly example, but i'm proud as hell over other night, abf and i went to a steak house for dinner...we were both starving, and ordered an appetizer, steaks, and salads. we waited and waited and appetizer...suddenly, our salads show up. brightly and politely i turned to the server and said, "we ordered an appetizer that never showed up, can you go ahead and make sure that's taken off our check, please?" i've been "invisible" to the world for so long, and i frequently just take what the world gives of my new boundaries is that i'm able and capable of asking for and receiving what i want. silly, like i said, but it was a boundary i set for myself, i was able to act on it, and i felt stronger and proud of myself when i took that action.

for what it's worth.... *hugs*
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:57 AM
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I had so many problems with this, because I was the same way. The way I saw it, almost ALL of my happiness came from without, specifically came from the romantic relationship I was in. HE fulfilled me, completed me (just like in the songs and the movies) and if HE didn't love me on a given day, that day was a disaster.

Do you see how you, and I, have given away the power to be happy by handing it over to a significant other?

It's as though most of us (men and women) are trained that we're this circle rolling around with a wedge-shaped piece missing out of it, desperate to find some to "complete us". When we find that person, we're desperate to hang onto it, and boundaries be damned if they mean we risk losing our "Missing Piece".

Small steps. Small steps. The book Codependent No More got me started by identifying for me the thoughts and behaviors to look for. I took time to digest that, because a lot of it focuses on seeing that part of us that is so needy and clingy when threatened.

Other books helped me particular, Wishcraft by Barbara Sher and the audiobook The Joy Diet by Martha Beck helped me to start developing the habits that I needed in order to be a complete circle myself.

And I will let you in on this: when you are your own circle, capable of having a happy and complete life with or without someone else, the joy that you experience every day is amazing, and the relationships you establish with people are so powerful.

It just takes little steps, with that end in mind. I have been where you are...if you look down, you'll probably see my footprints right in the sand where you're standing And I had very little self-esteem at the time.

You are a whole person, with dreams, joys, talents, beauty. Somewhere inside you have a painting of the life you want, not just the relationship but all the rest too -- the place, the work, the freedom, even the personality traits you want to have for yourself.

When you spend some time identifying and claiming these things, the world cracks open for you and reveals its treasure, and the actions of one man suddenly seem not so life-ending. Still sad, but not the end of our happiness.

Post in that "things you like about you" thread, HK. It's hard for all of us, but it's freeing to start admitting that we've got something beautiful inside us that belongs to us alone.

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Old 04-03-2007, 08:03 AM
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The smaller the boundary, the more I can "practice". I do better with strangers than with people I know. I do better the further away from my family (friends vs brother, acquaintances vs friends).

Practice on store clerks, in the mall, while driving.

Practice hanging up on telemarketers.

Practice not answering the phone at all!

Practice saying no.

It gets easier and uses less "energy" (I used to be only able to do this angry) over time.

I wish you the best!
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:08 AM
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let it grow!
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i agree - practice, practice, practice! blessings, k
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:20 AM
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I know I have to practice on this.. Cause, he does have the control to make me feel guilty. He can even make me feel sorry for him. I pray one day I can stop them feelings.
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:31 AM
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Once again and as always, Thank you.

Hmm.... erecting boundaries everywhere in my life?

Difficult when you've always been a "yes" person. When I say No to things I find myself physically uncomfortable - that I just cannot stand my ground- and I end up over apologizing for not saying yes. Typical people pleaser.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:21 AM
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That's funny -- I started with telemarketers too!

My line was: That's not something I'm interested in pursuing, but thanks for calling and good luck with your sales tonight. (click)

I don't feel guilty at all any more.....I tell them what's true, acknowledge that they're not exactly doing their dream job, and get off the phone quickly and honorably.

There's a nice baby step.

And are a Yes Person to everyone....except yourself.
You count.
You're an important thing.
Your boundaries will set you free to live a wild and gorgeous life....AND PEOPLE WILL STILL LOVE YOU. Set boundaries with love (for yourself and for others) and you will have all you have now, AND all that's still out there waiting for you. It's not an either-or choice.

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Old 04-03-2007, 10:43 AM
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For me it was a process and it didn't happened overnight.
I had to hit my bottom, and the process of loving myself
helped. I flex or bend so I don't break. but my Gf is so also
sober and working her program so it hasn't been that
difficult. When she first got sober I had to put my foot
down or totally just not pay attention to her old habits,
so i wasn't resisting or simply i wasn't going to go
chase her or fix her, almost if thou I didn't give a rats
arss anymore. She also became more aware of her
bad habits and reminds me not to pay attention to her
when she acts out. So the judgemental atmosphare is
at a minimal.

I think my bondaries protects her as will as it protects me.
I also have to remind myself, that I too am also sick.
Communication plays a major factor and also in ways
that we communicate. No more demands and more patients with one another.

I don't get into her program, she dosn't get into mine.

Also probably becuase we cuased so much wreackage,
chaos and we're both tired
I guess we had to get it out of our system.
Tired of drama, tired fighting
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Old 04-04-2007, 11:45 AM
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I'm new here and just wanted to let you know that I was reading a lot of your posts and some of them made me cry b/c I see so much of myself in you and it made me understand that I am not alone, even though after 3 months of breaking up with my ex who is an addict (in recovery for the last nearly month but already thinking of going back to dealing, which means doing more drugs too). I agree that it is so important to set boundaries. I'm working on that everyday with my ex and not going back to that depressing life. About 6 months ago I stopped doing coke and vicodin b/c I got a full-time job finally, no more flaky promotions for this college grad. So I had to stop doing drugs so much and then I pretty much stopped doing them altogether b/c it was so draining on me. I stopped on my own, w/out rehab, I didn't use everyday. After I stopped doing drugs w/ him, he started to keep more from me and we had less in common. I still have a very hard time some days and hope I'm making the right decision to keep my ex an ex. It's definitely a hard and narrow road even though I know I'm doing the right thing. He still thinks there's hope for us to get back together but I know that after all of his lies it would never be the same. He was up to 20 vicodin/day plus coke nearly everyday plus a pack and a half of cigarettes a day plus oxy's occasionally and GHB and E. 2 months after we broke up I found out that he was smoking crack-- I NEVER smoked crack! I couldn't believe it til I saw for my own eyes and got his two best friends to get him to rehab a few days later. I did drugs too (NOT CRACK) but not to the full extent, I still feel guilty though b/c I participated for so long. He's also broke now (over $100K in debt) from investing his dealing $ into a scheme w/ 2 crystal meth addicts. He said the other night that he's thinking of going back to dealing, obviously he didn't learn a damn thing after rehab. I feel so alone some days, I feel like I understand how you feel, the abandonment, feeling like you could do more, like an obligation to stay and help. Sorry message is so long.

Last edited by StarGazer6; 04-04-2007 at 11:51 AM. Reason: misspelled words
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