Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Love You, But I Don't Like What You Did.

One action I still find extremely difficult, is setting a boundary with someone I love. I did this recently, and it was agonising, trying to find the right thing to say, to express my feelings without condemning or accusing, while letting them know that I felt they had overstepped one of those personal lines.

Sponsoring for many years has led me to an understanding that there will be times for each of us when we will be told what we most definitely do not want to hear, and if we can stay quiet long enough to really, truly, listen to what is being said, there will be a pearl of self-understanding encased in the rough and scaly shell of explanatory words.

I've moved slowly from being someone who accepts everything, excuses it all, makes up reasons to ease the hurt of someone's behavior, finds some way to choke it down regardless of how offensive or repulsive, to believing that if I am as careful as I am able to speak my truth kindly, I can let go of the outcome and trust in my Higher Power to work things out for the best, whatever the result.

Sounds good, right? And I do believe it, but the reality of doing so is surprisingly painful, especially when the person I'm setting the boundary with is someone I love dearly. I dither and waffle about whether I should say something or just let it go, I struggle mightily with "How Important Is It?" And then when I finally make the choice to set the boundary, and the recipient is sincerely apologetic, I'm horrified to have been the cause of their pain, lash myself with regret for having caused it by speaking up, and feel guilt.

When I think about it hypothetically, setting a boundary seems neat and precise and if I'm careful, as though it should be relatively painless - the truth is that it's invariably messy and hurtful and sloppy and awful.

Why then should I do it?

I do it because I've come to the realisation that when I accept unacceptable behavior, I am lying about who I am, what I feel, and what I believe.

The saying is, "the truth shall set you free." not, "the truth shall set you free, and you won't feel a thing."


  1. Thank you. I just did this twice this week and yes, setting boundaries witht those you love is not easy. Your words have helped me understand better what I have been feeling this week. Im up late and have read 3.blogs tonite and each one was a message that answered prayers. Yours was one of them. God bless you.

  2. I have learned to set boundaries and not feel badly. It took me a long time to have any kind of boundary that wasn't shattered by those I love. I am grateful to Al-Anon for helping me understand that guilt is unnecessary and taking care of myself is important.