Thursday, November 19, 2015

Relationships: Setting Healthy Boundaries & Expectations

“Razor Wire” by artur84 via 

November 2015 
names have been omitted in this post 


Walking in the front door my gray leather booties clacked on the entry floor and I paused to lean over and unzip them. Slipping my feet out of them I set my oversized bag on the zebra printed bench. Wearing skinny jeans and an oversized plaid button down shirt I removed my watch and set it on the Queen Anne entry table.

"Hey! I'm home!" I called out to my mother.

She emerged from the den in her pajamas with an alarmed expression on her face.

"Hey! Where have you been?!" She exclaimed with concern.

I rolled my eyes and yanked the hair elastic off my right wrist so I could begin pulling my hair into a messy bun atop my head.

"Where haven't I been! You would not believe my night! I've just been on a tour of all of DFW, that's where! I don't even know how it happened! How the heck I ended up heading north to Colleyville, I have NO IDEA!" I told her.

Her eyes widened "Colleyville?!" She exclaimed. "What the heck? Well, I've been sitting here getting worried wondering where on earth you were!" She replied.

"I know, I figured you were. I was trying to get home! I STILL don't know what I did wrong… which turn I missed." I admitted as I followed her into the kitchen and began opening the stainless steel fridge to survey what was available to eat. Milk, eggs and leftovers from the dinner I'd cooked the night before of chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans were revealed. I was absolutely starving and it was late. I wanted something sweet.

"Why did he not drive you home?" She demanded. "You shouldn't have gone to his place to hang out! Here it is… late, DARK and you can't see well at night. You have NO business out driving at night and he should know that. You're getting all turned around and lost and he's sitting on his ass at his house. There is something wrong with this picture." She told me angrily. She pursed her lips and crossed her arms as she watched me yank a gallon of peppermint ice cream out of the freezer and begin digging into it with a spoon. Peppermint goodness swirled in my mouth from a bite and I waved my spoon with irritation in the air as I spoke.

"Yeah! I know! I shouldn't have driven to his place. I should have just told him if he wanted to see me he could come by here. Instead I'm getting lost and can't see worth a you-know-what because my eyes are so dry." I agreed and then added "I've told him I can't see well to drive at night."

"Yes, yes you did." She nodded "And he should take it seriously. And he should be looking out for you. Supposedly he cares SO much about you and yet you're the one driving at night and getting lost. He should have driven over HERE to see you, taken you out for a proper dinner and then brought you back home." She shook her head "This is all crap. You need a man. A REAL man! These are NOT the actions of a man. A real man does what he's supposed to do without being told to do it." She declared.

I sighed because her words were hitting a nerve of truth and I dipped my spoon in for another cold minty bite and thought about what she was saying. Finally I spoke "I've been questioning whether he's too young. Too immature. I'm just… "I trailed off and was quiet.

She finally spoke "I agree. I really do believe you need someone older. At least fifty to be honest."

I turned and smiled wryly at her "I was born in the wrong time period. I know that. I should have been born in the fifties or sixties. Men of my generation… "I shook my head and took another bite of ice cream "I hate to say it but generally speaking there are so many that are lazy. So many men don't even want to mow the yard, they think Netflix and chill aka a movie and sex is a date. The majority of them are obsessed with Star Wars which I hate. I don't want to sit on my butt and watch movies all the time. I hate sports, especially NASCAR which doesn't even constitute as a real sport but a mind numbing zone you enter comparable to watching a hamster on a wheel. I can tolerate, even enjoy hockey occasionally. I'd like a man who has energy, who makes staying in shape a priority, who can fix something with his hands or at least tries. A man who wants to travel. A man who shows he loves you by ensuring you reach home safely… it goes back to actions not words alone. Someone who enjoys art and design, reads and can form a proper sentence. Someone who is trying to make a difference." I grimaced and shook my head. "I guess I'm just really frustrated." I admitted to her.

"I agree. And you need someone older. You need someone who knows what to do. I'd just hate to see you settle after finally leaving that first cockroach. The next one better be amazing." She reminded me.

"I should have told him to come pick me up. I'm falling back into a lack of boundaries I think." I murmured thoughtfully, mentally chastising myself.

She sighed with exasperation "No, stop that! You're blaming yourself now! HE'S the one who is supposed to be the man here. You shouldn't have to ASK him to come pick you up!" She stressed to me.

"Oh, heck! I know that!" I retorted with furrowed brows. "But at the same time, I NEED to be setting better boundaries. I should have NEVER offered to drive to his place. Yes, if he wanted to see me he should have come over here. He drives so much I was happy to go to him for a change. But dang… at night? Not a good idea. I knew better and yet did it anyway. It wasn't wise. And yet… you're right, at the end of the day, he let me. Shame on him. I'm done." I told her. Then with wet eyes added… "I'm tired of being disappointed. But I am done."


We know if you've been with someone of a narcissistic nature or a full blown sociopath you're likely a highly empathetic person... a giver. Maybe even to a fault. Maybe to your very detriment. You enjoy helping others and yet... your helpfulness may become personally problematic. Oftentimes later you find yourself irritated, resentful or just plain angry that once again...  you guessed it... you over extended yourself; you gave too much and now you're at best depleted.

So what happens when we continually find ourselves in hindsight giving, giving and giving and then wishing we hadn't? 

There are lessons learned. 

We can take these experiences and begin using them to become healthier. We can use these negative scenarios once we are seeing with clarity to not let them happen again. We can realize that we will have future opportunities to set boundaries and limits regarding how much we give and what we expect of others. Even of ourselves. We have the opportunity everyday to tell ourselves: 

"I will not give too much today. Yes, there are people out in the world that don't give. It's sad, but true. There are people who are selfish. That is an unfortunate reality of life. However... giving too much of my time, my energy, etc leaves me depleted and unhealthy. And I can't love others if I can't love myself first. Boundaries are healthy and I'm not a bad person when I implement them." 

© ~ 2015


1. Think back on how often you've said yes. More than likely a lot. Likely you wanted to say no but didn't. Recognize the patterns of past behavior. 

2. Realize that saying no is okay. And that no is an adequate response. We don't have to give further explanation. 

3. Saying yes when we want to say no leads us to feeling mad. We can save ourselves and others a lot of grief by just saying no to begin with. 

4. Stop apologizing when you say no. It's not necessary. 

5. People who have a difficult time setting boundaries and saying no also tend to have difficulty asking for help. They lean toward trying to be too self sufficient and then struggle, becoming stressed out.

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