September 18, 2019
Boundaries (Round Two)
By Barry Rudesill
Last time, we started talking about Boundaries. I was explaining about the process that I use when discussing Boundaries with others, so if you haven’t read the previous post, then this is going to be a little bit...confusing. (If you missed it, you can either check our blog at www.thetrek.org or you can look for it in past Facebook posts.)
We left off last time with:
Step 4: Weigh the pros and cons.
If you go along with it, what benefits do you get and how can it hurt you? If you refuse to do it, what benefits do you get and how can it hurt you? You need to be very, very real here. This may cost you a relationship if you refuse; but if you do what they want, it may cost you your emotional safety, your health, your future, etc. Losing a relationship is bad, putting yourself in a situation that prevents you from being you is worse.
Step 5: Seek counsel.
When in doubt, ask someONE! (No, that’s not a typo.) Find one person that you trust – and who is willing to help you – and explain the situation to them. To be able to do this effectively, you NEED to have accomplished “Step Two: Define the Situation” and “Step Three: Identify the Motivation”. If you haven’t done these yet, the person you’re talking with may not be able to help you and you’ll end up wasting time – both yours and theirs.
When you seek counsel. ask them what they see and be willing to accept their input; otherwise, why did you ask them in the first place? Just because they may disagree with you doesn’t mean that they’re wrong!
When I’m asked, I almost NEVER tell someone what they should do. Instead, I ask questions to get them to understand what they see, how they feel, and what they think is appropriate. It’s their life, so it’s not my situation to control. The only time I will give direct advice is if I see something which is potentially dangerous.
By the way, I said “ask someONE” because of two reasons: (1) it’s gossip if you go around and ask a bunch of different people; and (2) many of us will keep asking until we get the answer we WANT to hear, rather than the one we NEED to hear.
Step 6: Make your decision.
I tell people to come up with the shortest way to say something, and to always make sure that it’s simple. In our examples:
“I know you need me to drive, but I can’t two of the six weeks.
You will need to find someone else during those weeks.”
Notice that you start by stating the request, this way they understand that you’ve heard what they were asking for. Then, in the same sentence, you state your choice, your boundary. Then, you follow it up with any “qualifiers”. “I’m available here, but not here. It’s YOUR responsibility to find another driver.” “I’m not moving home. It’s your choice if you want to continue the relationship.”
When you have your boundaries broken down into simple, easy-to-understand sentences, then you’re ready to put them out for others. If they disagree – and there are people who WILL disagree, no matter how logical the boundary is – just keep repeating your statement over and over. Don’t argue, don’t defend; you don’t even need to elaborate, just restate your boundary and leave it at that.
When in doubt, one of the strongest boundaries you can use is, “This conversation feels unhealthy, so I’m going to walk away now. We can continue talking after we’ve both had a Time Out to allow us to calm down.”
I hope this helps some of you with the boundaries you need in your life. There is more on boundaries coming in Trek 2.0.
Until then, we hope you enjoy your journey!
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