The following are the boundaries that I am setting for myself this day:
- I will not accept more guilt and shame than is mine in any given situation.
- I will not accept someone else’s behavior as ok or understandable if they continue to be angry, vindictive, or overly protective after I have made sincere efforts to apologize, repair the damage, and change.
- I will not accept less than forgiveness when I am sincere.
- I will separate others feelings of hurt/anger from their need to be hurt/angry and accept being but not needing to be.
- I will not allow myself to feel unintelligent, apathetic, or insensitive just because someone says or insinuates I am.
- I will separate the difference between healthy discussions and chiding/excessive reprimand.
- I will separate my issue from their issue in an argument.
- I will follow the guidelines set in The Anger Formula, not only when I am angry, but when someone else is angry at me in order to determine which part of the situation is my responsibility and which part is their responsibility.
- I will be willing to remove myself from the situation if my penance is not sufficient to appease their feelings of anger, hurt, or protectiveness.
These are boundaries that I must set because my boundaries were stretched as a child. Because of my inability to set boundaries, I have allowed many to take advantage of my willingness to make things right. They have often used it to make themselves feel better by inflicting excessive guilt and shame, thus making me feel stupid and insignificant. I recognize that my father’s inability to deal with his own anger issues, and his subsequent “therapy,” led to my inability to set boundaries with others. My greatest asset and my greatest downfall in this has always been my desire to please others.
Learning that there are acceptable limits to how far I must go to please or appease another has been very difficult for me because of my desire not to incur further wrath or other implications from individuals with unhealthy needs. However, to continue to strive to meet unhealthy needs and expectations is unhealthy for me. It is damaging to my emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. If I am ever to feel competent, intelligent, and complete again, I must set and abide by these boundaries.
From this moment on, I will strive not only to set boundaries that are healthy for me, but for others as well by showing that unhealthy boundaries, needs, and expectations are not ok.