Sunday, February 07, 2010


It is an interesting thing setting boundaries—especially with someone who doesn't like them.

I realized, after my last post, that I was getting flashbacks not only to the sense of helplessness and inadequacy I so often felt when I was married, but that those emotions were actually echoes of what I felt as a child. I realized that was the origin of the fear of setting boundaries with my ex. Interacting with him was taking me back to my married days and even worse, to my childhood sense of helplessness and inability to handle life but NONE OF THAT IS WHO I AM NOW.

Once I realized that, I could set aside the emotions, reminding myself that as a small child I WAS helpless and couldn't have managed on my own. Went through my list of reasons to believe in myself NOW. Asked myself what the disagreement with my ex was really about—and realized it was about boundaries. So that's how I handled the discussion with him.

I simply set the boundaries that mattered to me—knowing full well the consequences and accepting them because the alternative would be worse.

And so I took back part of myself. I moved from emotional flashback to the calm, competent adult I am. Without having to attack my ex to do so. I could be me, holding onto the values I have about how to treat others and at the same time not allow myself to get caught up in his plans

The victory isn't just in handling the situation as I did, it's in realizing how rarely I feel this way—so thrown by things—these days. It was another step forward in my life getting better and better. And for the future, I have another set of tools for handling anything that might come up.

Here's hoping you are moving forward and claiming your power, too.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),


Mark said...

Congratulations on your level of awareness and taking action in a way that elevated your power and did not diminish the feelings of others.

Colleen said...

Good for you! Setting boundaries can be difficult. Isn't it amazing how we forget about that sometimes and slip back into the same ol thing? But you became aware and did something about it! Hugs!

lynette said...

april, you are truly an inspiration, especially to a woman like me who is struggling to free herself of those fears and lack of self-worth.

thank you for sharing. and kudos to you for your clarity, and finding a place from which to interact with your ex that was true to who you are.

Reba Kennedy said...

Thank you so much for sharing this post.

First things first, I want to congratulate you on your victory here. Maybe "victory" is too strong a word, but I don't think so. You go girl!

Second, I want to let you know that by publishing this post, you've helped me in dealing with a family member/boundary situation that brought back a lot of those same childhood issues that you describe. I now hope to celebrate a victory of my own.

Thank you.

And have a great weekend!!!!

Lindsey said...

That is great that you are moving forward!!! I am raising 2 children who were abused and it is quite the challenge, but they are improving every day. Thank you for being a good example.
Lindsey Petersen

Kate said...

I like how you saw this, "I took back a part of myself." Such a great image. Good for you.

Boundaries are something I am working hard on right now. Thanks for the encouragement. Good and healing thoughts to you.


Marj aka Thriver said...

Very empowering! Kudos to you, April! I know that asserting boundaries and limits for people in our lives who are used to trampling all over them is really hard for these folks. The way we used to be really let them off the hook. Now they have to take responsibility for themselves and their own actions. My sister used to get so violently pissed at me when I would assert myself with my new sense of boundaries. But, now that she's had a lot more therapy herself, she's better about it.

April_optimist said...

Thank you everyone. Setting boundaries isn't easy for many of us but it makes such a difference--not only to how we are treated, but to how we feel about ourselves.

VICKI IN AZ said...

This is exactly what I am trying to do right now claim my power. As always you are right there showing the way, a gift a teacher,
"This is the way, walk ye in it."

CHAPTER 30:21-22

And though the Lord give you
The bread of adversity,
And the water of affliction,
Yet shall not thy teachers
Be removed into a corner
Any more.

But thine eyes shall see
Thy teachers:
And thine ears shall hear

A word behind thee,

This is the way,
Walk ye in it,
When ye turn to the right hand,
And when ye turn to the left.