Posts Tagged ‘boundaries’

SunriseI met with my therapist yesterday and feel much better about everything going on in my life. By the time I walked into my therapist’s office, I knew what I needed to do, but I needed his professional opinion to validate that I wasn’t a complete jerk.

What I **wanted** to be able to do was send a simple card to communicate that I care and am thinking about my ex-friend without opening the door to further contact. I don’t think this will be possible in this situation, just as it was not possible either with momster or an ex-friend from high school. In all three cases, the relationship must be on the other person’s terms, which doesn’t leave room for me to define what I want the relationship to be like. Since all three of these people have only given me two choices – my way or the highway – I choose the highway.

My therapist pointed out that I am not “doing nothing.” I made sure the school counselor knew about the situation (she already did from the daughter), and I have prayed. Those are two constructive things that I have done for my ex-friend, and this enabled me to stay true to my own values even when she has painted our relationship into a corner that does not leave me the freedom to send a simple card.

This discussion only took about half of the session, so we talked about the last few months. I have felt so off-balance for all of the reasons that I have already blogged about. My therapist pointed out that so much of my life has been in flux for the past couple of months, which is causing me to feel destabilized. The word destabilized really resonated with me. I haven’t had the alone time to use most of my grounding tools since hub has been home for the past couple of months (he returned to work yesterday), which is likely part of why I have been feeling so out of sorts for so long.

My sister and I are taking a trip together, along with our children, to the beach for several days. We are keeping our return open-ended because we both very much need the break. Trips to the beach typically help ground me, so I am hoping to return focused.

One issue I haven’t blogged about is that I haven’t received any classes to teach for my part-time job in six weeks with no end in sight. I also work a second part-time job that helps with the cash flow, but it’s not as rewarding. I am thinking that perhaps now is the perfect time to start writing the book that I keep thinking about writing “someday.”

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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As you know, I took last week off from blogging because I had a very busy week juggling both of my part-time jobs. On top of this, I came down with a cold on Sunday night, so it was quite a week. On Wednesday, I put in an 11-hour day at one job, two hours at the other job, and did all of this while dealing with a cold. I was worn out!

In the middle of all of this, my son pulled something that he got from his father … something that drives me absolutely out of my mind. I made a comment about cutting me some slack because I was sick. His response (just like his father) was, “Oh, you’re not sick.”

Let me tell you – If you want to p@$$ me off, that’s the way to do it. Don’t presume to tell **ME** what **I** am feeling. You are not in my body. You are not qualified to tell **ME** what **MY** body is feeling.

Coincidentally, I had my annual physical the day before this conversation, and my doctor noted that she could see evidence of my virus, both in my red throat and my swollen lymph nodes. So, I popped off at my son that I am so sure that he, at age 10, is in a better position than a MEDICAL DOCTOR to make a determination about whether or not I am sick.

Now, I know exactly why they both do this. They view me as superwoman, and I am supposed to take care of them. If I am sick, then they might have to – G*d forbid – do a few things themselves. I don’t ask them to take care of me. All I ask is that they back the f@#$ off and not make additional demands on me while I am feeling sick.

The same thing happens sometimes with how I am feeling (although not really with the two of them – neither is particularly perceptive when it comes to emotions). People will try to tell me what I am feeling or how I should be feeling. My feelings are **MY** feelings, not anyone else’s, and nobody else gets to tell me how I feel.

I suspect this topic is such a hot button for me because my needs were disregarded so much as an abused child. Even my own body was not “mine.” I didn’t get a say in what was done to it, and my abusers sure did not care about how it felt. Perhaps that is why comments like that are so triggering to me. Regardless, it really p@$$es me off when people try to tell me how I am feeling. I already know how I am feeling, and they don’t get to override that.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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This blog has attracted some people over the past year who seem to be more interested in getting into a debate with me than they seem to be in healing from child abuse, which is the purpose of this blog. They tend to stick around for a week or two and then leave. This blog entry is to set the boundaries for this blog. I plan to refer people back to it in the future the next time a debate arises.

Let’s start with what this blog is not. This blog is not a peer-reviewed series of articles written by a professional psychologist looking to explore the definitions of personality and other theoretical areas of interest to some. While I am a highly educated person, my education is not in the area of psychology, and I have never claimed to have any credentials as a professional therapist.

This blog is also not a place for debate. I am not saying that we don’t sometimes have differences of opinion here, but those differences are expressed in a collaborative manner. For example, I wrote about how the practice of yoga can be very healing for a child abuse survivor. While many readers agreed, a few shared that practicing yoga did not work for them and was even harmful to them in some cases. However, they found that Tai Chi or other activities served a similar purpose with better results. There was no “debate” on the value of yoga – there was collaboration on how to meet the needs of adult survivors of child abuse when a particular tool is not helpful.

Now let’s address what this blog is. I started writing this blog after I had been healing from child abuse and dissociative identity disorder (DID) for a few years and had experienced a lot of success in integrating many of my parts. I wanted to share what I had learned with other child abuse survivors to offer them hope and healing. When I started healing, I feared that I was the only person on the planet who was this messed up, and I questioned whether healing was even possible for me. My purpose in writing this blog is to offer the hope of healing to others who find themselves in that position.

I intended the scope of this blog to be solely on healing from child abuse, but reader questions through the comments and through email led me to cover a lot of different topics I had not intended to write about, from understanding DID better to animal rape to enemas as part of abuse to masturbation as a form of self-injury. If it matters to my readers, then it matters to me.

When I started this blog, I didn’t know if anyone would even read it. I told myself that it was worth my time and effort if even one person benefited, and many more than one have told me that they have, so I am going to keep writing no matter how many times people try to turn this blog into a debate forum rather than a healing blog. Ultimately, this is my blog, and I can write about whatever I want on it. I choose to write encouraging words to help adult survivors of child abuse along their healing journey. If this is not what a reader is looking for, I am certain you can find another blog or message board that is a better fit for your interests.

A final word – I am certainly not the final authority on healing from child abuse, on DID, or on pretty much any topic. My advice to all of my readers is the same advice I use myself – Take what works for you, and leave the rest. If you are a survivor of child abuse, it is likely that something on this blog will resonate with you. It is also likely, depending upon where you are in your healing journey, that something on this blog is not going to sound right to you. In those circumstances, that information might not be right for you or it might just not be the right time for you to hear it. That’s okay.

I also continue to welcome other perspectives on anything that I write about. I frequently learn as much from my readers as they learn from me!

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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If you are new to my blog, you can catch up on this saga by reading these blog entries:

I received another letter from my mother/abuser last week. I arrived right as I was heading out of town, so I threw it on the counter and did not think about it again until I returned home from our Memorial Day Weekend getaway (which really SUCKED because both my son and I were very sick … so sick that I never even laid eyes on the beach … but I digress …)

I asked a friend to open and read the letter and let me know if there was anything in it that I should know. My friend said it was safe to read. My mother wrote it right after visiting my sister and having the conversation about overstepping her boundaries with me. Here is the letter:

Dear Faith,

How is everything going? I drove down to see [sister’s kids] get their awards. It was fun being part of their lives.

Faith, if I offended you by writing letters and phoning you, I am so sorry, if I overstepped my bounds. So now I will let you make the next move, that is, if you want to. If will not pressure you anymore. I do have an email address that you can write to, that is, if you want to.

Have a wonderful day, and I hope you will be able to come to [sister’s] graduation. I’ll be there but we don’t have to talk to each other. Let’s just be there for [sister]. She has tried so hard and she needs our support.

Lots of love,


So, what do you think of this letter? I am relieved that she is backing down on her own. That means that I don’t need to send the letter that I had planned about not wanting her in my life due to the child abuse. That being said, I still see manipulations about how nice it is being a part of my nephews’ lives and how I need to be there for my sister. I have a hard time gauging my own reaction to anything that she writes, though.

I can’t remember if I already shared this, but my sister dropped out of school after ninth grade and got her GED. After her divorce, she enrolled in college in her mid-thirties as a single mother. She has worked her tail off and will be graduating in December with honors with a double-major in biology and philosophy. I have been along for the entire ride, from encouraging her when she doubted herself to reviewing each paper for grammatical errors. Of course I am going to her graduation! I am also taking her on an all-expense paid trip to Disney World to celebrate afterward. So, that comment rubbed me the wrong way.

Any thoughts on her letter? I am not sure what to do about it, so for now, I will do nothing.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Those of you who read my blog regularly are aware that my mother-abuser has been contacting me over the last few months and trying to force a reconciliation between us. That is not going to happen. You can catch up by reading these blog entries:

I ultimately wound up paying a visit to my therapist (I ended therapy a few years ago) for advice. He suggested that I write her a short note telling her that, due to the abuse I suffered as a child, it is not safe for me or my family to be in a relationship with her. Do not contact me again. My sister asked me to wait to send this note until after she finished with her finals (she is a senior in college).

My mother happened to call right before I left for the therapy session and has not called or written since. I thought it was odd that she was calling and/or writing at least weekly for months and then abruptly stopped. I have not sent the note since there has not been a need to do it.

I finally got my answers … My mother visited with my sister recently, and my mother raised the subject. (I had asked my sister not to put herself in the middle, so she had not raised the topic herself.) She told my sister that she had been trying to contact me on the advice of her Christian counselor (I knew it!!) who told her that she needed to “mend fences.” However, because I had not responded or contacted her in any way (including Mother’s Day), she feared that she had “blown it” with me. (Ya think??)

My sister pointed out that I had set boundaries with her and told her what I was willing to give (monthly contact by letter only). By my mother overstepping those boundaries, it was like “spitting all over” me. To the extent my mother is capable, she seemed to get it, so I **hope** she will continue leaving me alone.

Things got worse on my sister’s end, though. My mother kept going on and on about not understanding what she ever did that was so bad. (My sister just gritted her teeth.) My mother then became much more clingy with the one daughter who is still in her life, which is about to drive my sister up the wall. For the first time, my sister said that she is beginning to see the wisdom of my ways. She says that her limited contact was barely tolerable. This clinginess is about to put her over the edge.

I am not sure what my sister is going to do, but that is not my issue. My sister needs to choose her own path, just as I have chosen mine.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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