Deciding to set better boundaries in my own relationships
has really highlighted how some of my friends and family struggle to do the same, and thus negatively judge my actions because the entire idea of boundary setting is so uncomfortable for them.
Most recently this came up when discussing our recent decision to refuse MIL's offer to throw us a wedding shower, and the fallout that occurred when she didn't want to take "no" for an answer (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=126999.240
). I had to bring it up with my mother because she was erroneously sent an invite. She gave LordL and I a long and well intended speech about compromise and maintaining good familial relationships
. I told her I appreciated and understood her concerns, but that our decision was one made based on past history as well as the present situation and was the right choice for us as a couple. I ended up having to maintain a boundary about setting boundaries.
The thing is, my mother is not good at setting boundaries. She has a habit of forming highly codependent, dysfunctional relationships
. She is bad at saying "no" to people. For example, a tenant she evicted kept trying to get her to rent her back the apartment she'd been asked to leave. My mother repeatedly took calls from this person and made polite chit chat, evading questions about re-renting the apartment, because she was afraid to be "rude" and tell her "stop contacting me."
One of my coworkers who I am friendly with also gave me a look like "...really?" when I told her we were refusing to attend the shower that MIL was trying to force on us. However, this coworker has a fairly toxic family who she is not great at saying no to. She lives 3+ hours away from her immediate family, and they constantly make last minute plans in their area and then are upset if she can't come, even though it's usually an overnight trip for her. She is constantly saying yes to unreasonable favor requests, that sort of thing.
I am realizing that standing up for oneself involves not just the immediate situation, but other's judgement of your handling of that situation. Also, just as I wouldn't take financial advice from someone who was bad with money, I am learning to filter out relationship
advice from people who have issues with them.
Anyone else gone through this sort of process? Have you ever felt like people saw you as the Meanest Person in the World for setting boundaries?