Friday, September 17, 2010

Blurred Boundaries

So I for realsies have this totally uproarious post that I've been planning on writing for the past couple days...
but alas...
I think it'll have to wait.  I am FRIED emotionally and physically.  This chica is spent.

Been busy nannying the P girl and taking C to preschool and workin' hard in therapy and dietary...

So I'll just quickly ask this:
I'm starting to wonder if I'm too nice.  Like I know there's got to be a boundary here somewhere about being a good friend v. giving too much; giving so much that I start to lose touch with who I am.  Sometimes I think I can be a doormat, and I'm pretty used (honestly) to getting taken advantage of...but suddenly, I'm not really okay with that anymore.  I think with recovery, I'm also gaining a sense of myself and grasping that I'm worth more than being walked all over.
This probably doesn't make sense.
But
the boundary here seems blurred...and I'm having a difficult time really negotiating what is okay and appropriate to help out a friend v. what is too much, and when am I being taken advantage of, etc.

Eh?
Eeeeh?
Any ideas?

14 comments:

Britni said...

I'm not good at this either, I tend to do things i don't want to do cuz i don't want to hurt my friends or someones else feelings. I'd say make sure it's something you're ok with doing, is it going to take a lot out of you? And it's ok to say no, if it's something you're not up for.

Britni said...

I'm not good at this either, I tend to do things i don't want to do cuz i don't want to hurt my friends or someones else feelings. I'd say make sure it's something you're ok with doing, is it going to take a lot out of you? And it's ok to say no, if it's something you're not up for.

Stacy said...

navigating the realm of serving others is hard... but it seems like you may be realizing what your boundaries are and just figuring out how to handle it. I got to the point where I had to do less and say no because right now with all the chaos of a baby in the hospital and living with family (which is great but I am sure you understand can be taxing) I have to let some things go and not get done... and my family and my own well being has to come first even if it is hard to tell others you can do as much as they want you to. You have the right to set limits and it doesn't mean they won't take it well, I think some people doesn't even realize they are asking and expecting so much. Btw. i am glad you are doing so well and have decided to blog again. brightens my day when one of your posts comes up on google reader. gives me hope for getting it all together, completely healing. Sorry so long.

Heather Lindquist said...

My stepdaughter asked me a question the other day..."If you could only say ONE word for the rest of your life, what would it be?" lol. At first I just sort of chuckled a bit, but then I half jokingly said that my "one word" would be "NO." I say "yes" waaaay too much. WAY to MUCH. I care about others, even strangers, and want them to be happy, so I over-extend myself more times than not. As a result, I often feel utterly exhausted and, like you, taken advantage of. I think we have to be true to ourselves when helping others out. Although you might really be able to help someone out, you might be equally doing yourself an injustice (depending on what it is). Also, I've learned the hard way, that sometimes it's better not to help someone.....sometimes we really just need to learn to help ourselves. So, back to the "one word"....I'm definitely working on saying "no" more often now! Not to be mean, but to also take care of myself.

Candice said...

Hey Brie! I have been reading your blog lately, I am a Shelly blog native, any way... what I have experienced, in my long 24 years of people pleasing is, if you are true to your self, and your expectation is to only assist(v) and not please (v) but to truely be there because you want to, you're on spot.. if you feel like your intention is to be what (v) wants you to be, expects of you etc. you are doing it for the wrong reason and will feel walked on in the realationship forever.. :) Love your posts so much!!! Keep writing!

Stevie said...

This makes total sense - I think the word you're looking for is "breakthrough". :)

If it feels like too much, it probably is. Helping out a friend is one thing, letting them walk all over you is another and if you feel like you're being taken advantage of, you probably are. Sometimes people get used to us doing whatever they ask and don't stop to think about whether they're asking too much. Sometimes they know they're asking to much but they know you'll do it, so they just go ahead. Either way, I think it's awesome that you want to stand up for yourself. It's hard to start saying "no" all at once, but maybe try something along the lines of, "I'd love to help you out, but I can't this time because..." or, "Wow, that must be so challenging. I hope you figure it out.", etc.

One of the most useful things I ever learned from one of my friends is this: we teach people how to treat us. If you let people walk all over you, they'll learn that they can do that, and keep doing it. If you start standing up for yourself - and there are ways to do it without being mean or cold or whatever - eventually people will learn that they can't take advantage of you and they'll stop. The good ones will develop more respect for you, and trust me, that feels really cool. :)

Shells said...

I bet the almighty T would have some good info on that one...

Totally a legit question for anyone, though. One of those that I ask and wonder "What if I am, and change, and then I have no friends?" Amazingly (and it is amazing Every. Single. Time), my friends don't care if I say no or assert my opinion instead of going with whatever they want because "I'm flexible" or "I'm adaptable." They don't leave. I think they kind of like it, actually.

brie said...

thanks for all your comments, friends. i know this post was kind of messy and not easy to follow or help me with, but i very much appreicate you trying! this is something i definitely need to work on but am getting better at.

♥ to you all.

eden said...

i have the same problem! i actually heard an awesome presentation on creating safe boundaries by lili anderson. she said she'll be writing a book on it soon, but she has another book out now that is also super-helpful. called 'choosing glory.' you can get it from her website - lilianderson.com, or deseret book i believe. might be helpful... (:

her presentation summed up in a few words - safe boundaries are absolutely necessary in protecting ourselves and protecting our relationships with others. if we let someone continually walk all over us, and we always say yes to their demands, etc, then we'll eventually start avoiding them, or we'll blow up, or something equally extreme, and the relationship will be ruined. if we learn to say no and set an appropriate boundary then everyone will be a lot happier and healthier.

sorry, i just tried to sum up an hour-long presentation in a blog comment and don't thing i did a very good job. but the presentation was awesome and i learned a lot. even though i have a hard time actually implementing it sometimes...

good luck!

awildernesslovestory said...

I think it's fabulous that you've come to the point in recovery that you realize that you are "worth more than being walked all over" -- that is huge!

The boundary issue seems to be a common one with ED suffers - we're a bunch of perfectionistic people-pleasers who are generally unaware of their general worthiness as human beings. So just know that you're not alone. :)

I wonder if part of learning boundaries might involve just DOING it. Which is to say, try saying yes, but maintain an awareness of how you feel about it. If it doesn't feel good to help in a certain way, then next time the friend asks, say no and be honest that you just didn't feel comfortable helping her in that way. Just because you say "yes" or "no" once doesn't mean you are obliged to answer the same way EVERY TIME (no matter what our all-or-nothing minds might tell us), nor are you responsible for owning your friend's response.

Just some thoughts.

Stella said...

I can relate to this so much. I totally have issues with being too nice, always wanting to please people, wanting to make THEM happy even if it doesn't make ME happy. I actually just lost a "best" friend over this, and while I do miss her, I realize that she wasn't really a true friend because she couldn't handle it when I finally stood up for myself and didn't go along with what she said. And I am happier than I have been in a while, actually. Yes, I miss the good times, but I don't miss the times when I would sit and cry for hours because of her talking advantage of me because she knew she could. I am learning that true friends want you to do what is right for YOU, even if it isn't what they want.

The cycle is VERY hard to break, but it is SO WORTH IT!! Initially, people won't know what to think because they are used to you being so agreeable. But you will feel better!! Sometimes, it is important to do something you don't want for somebody, like taking a friend's urgent call at 3 am when you really want to sleep. But, I am learning, you don't always have to be self-sacrificing. There are times when it is appropriate and times when it isn't. I think it is still possible to be a nice person without being a doormat - and I am still struggling with the line but I am getting better at figuring it out!

Sorry this is so long, I could just totally relate and I know how it feels to feel like you are being too nice but to not know how to change it. My best advice would be to start listening to that voice in your head that says "ugh, do I have to?" Before you smile sweetly and say "sure, no problem" while inwardly groaning, really think about the situation and what YOU really want. Good luck :)

alriggells said...

I know it is hard, but intuition most often knows best. I have a friend who I feel like uses me and it gets me into messy situations with not only her and I, but another friend of ours. I have had to work hard to remove myself from the triangle and make it so I feel like I am not the second option and just there because so and so can't be. Does this make sense. Anyway, I guess what I am trying to say is when you are feeling ickiness with it then removal from the situation and boundaries are a must set. When you start seeing yourself as something other than that great individual you are then something has to change. Person first and once you start to see yourself as a doormat then you as a person is not coming first. I don't know if this makes sense. Loves you. Sorry about the play date. Things have been crazy. I will not commit to play dates from here on out unless I know that there is nothing that will be potentially going to ruin them. :( I missed having a play date. Soon though, soon.

Sheryl said...

You GO GIRL! Seriously, I hear ya :) For you to make this awareness and write about it and put it out there is fabulous. I know you have a great team that you can talk to about it and I'm so glad you've realized more about protecting and standing up for YOU, SWEET YOU! *HUGS*

Sia Jane said...

I am working on this exact same thing in therapy.
Expectations - put on by myself, and by others.
All we can do is explore it.
It is a mighty task, perhaps one that is on going throughout our whole life, but what matters, is that you have noticed and are now challenging that.
That can only lead to more positive things for yourself, and your health xxxxxx