Author Topic: How do non-involved parties react to your boundary setting?  (Read 2701 times)

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kherbert05

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Re: How do non-involved parties react to your boundary setting?
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2013, 05:55:44 AM »
I cut off my father from direct contact that I can control. (I live with sis, he watches the kid once a week, we're bound to run into each other and I maintain a polite distance.) My mom, all the coworkers from my previous job, and my sister have all told me to keep in contact with him, go to his charity events (he's on the board of directors for a charity and always gets a whole table at their annual charity dinner) and stay in touch with him. I won't do it.

My old coworkers stopped once I told them if it wasn't dropped that I would be going to management. My old friends have just accepted it and support me in my quest for better mental health, and whenever a new friend in the group brings it up and tries to argue with me about my choices, they'll let me have my say* and then politely pull the new friend aside and mention that I have been known to get absolutely hysterical and have panic attacks from people who wouldn't give this up. It is NOT a good idea to push me into a corner about my decisions and please don't bring it up again for the sake of me and everyone around me.

*Mostly I tell them that while I do appreciate the past and the good memories I have of growing up with my dad, he has done some inexcusable things and the good times of the past are gone. Until he comes to me to apologize for his actions, I will not accept him in my life. I maintain my manners until they start pushing, and then it gest very stressful very quickly for me.

As for my family, they don't support me in cutting him off. My mom actually has a better functional rel@tionship with my dad at this point, though it is strained, but they don't bother bringing it up with them again. I will always repeat the same thing to them. "I am dealing with this the only way that is healthy and safe for me."

How do all these people know so much about your business?  I think you need to stop talking about it with people.


Sounds like Dad is a big fish in a small pond. In small communities, people often know your business without you saying anything. It used to spook sis and I. We would be visiting Nanna on PEI. We would go to the drug store to get some comic books or down to the ice cream shop. People would take one look at Sis, spitting image of Mom, Nanna, and a couple of aunts and know exactly who we were and just start talking to us about our cousins, aunts, uncles, and Nanna. Mom's hometown is small. Nanna's father, grandfather, and uncle were the only doctors for 2 or so generations. My grandfather was the local customs inspector, and the little league baseball field was literally in my grandparents back yard. In the winters my grandfather would build a hockey rink next to the baseball field.
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

Reader

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Re: How do non-involved parties react to your boundary setting?
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2013, 04:50:45 PM »
I have set boundaries with my closest relative, my Aunt.  Living with her when I was a teenager did not end well, and led to our current relationship coupled with her behavior over the years.  Thanks to this site and the wonderful people here I was able to polish my spine and create these boundaries, so I didn't end up stressing myself out to drive 3 hours one way for visits with no reciprocation.

I also use the we aren't close, we don't really talk (true was last we spoke was she was in town for a convention at the beginning of this year and haven't spoken since), some people will ask for details, and depending on the person I might tell (close firend), to bean dipping a new acquaintance.  But a lot of what I find is that people think I am the strange one because I don't have close family, or they assume the problem is with me because is is not "normal" to not be close with family.  I also think it might cost me dates, because a lot of guys have family listed as very important to them, and my family is of the furry kind and friends, so I don't make that specific distinction.  And when I get asked by potential dates, and give the we aren't close, they live 3 hrs away etc, then they drop conversation with me.

Lynn2000

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Re: How do non-involved parties react to your boundary setting?
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2013, 06:08:46 PM »
I have set boundaries with my closest relative, my Aunt.  Living with her when I was a teenager did not end well, and led to our current relationship coupled with her behavior over the years.  Thanks to this site and the wonderful people here I was able to polish my spine and create these boundaries, so I didn't end up stressing myself out to drive 3 hours one way for visits with no reciprocation.

I also use the we aren't close, we don't really talk (true was last we spoke was she was in town for a convention at the beginning of this year and haven't spoken since), some people will ask for details, and depending on the person I might tell (close firend), to bean dipping a new acquaintance.  But a lot of what I find is that people think I am the strange one because I don't have close family, or they assume the problem is with me because is is not "normal" to not be close with family.  I also think it might cost me dates, because a lot of guys have family listed as very important to them, and my family is of the furry kind and friends, so I don't make that specific distinction.  And when I get asked by potential dates, and give the we aren't close, they live 3 hrs away etc, then they drop conversation with me.

This is somewhat of a tangent, but also somewhat related. My friend Amy is a very assertive person, but she also kind of has a "but they're faaaaaaamily!" mentality. Her family of origin is actually pretty great and quite close, both emotionally and geographically (and also small). Her DH's family of origin is decidedly more dysfunctional and before they started dating he hadn't spoken to many of them (siblings, parents) in years. I don't think he consciously set boundaries, he just didn't pursue a relationship in the face of their general disinterest. Amy just could not handle that and insisted they reach out to his various family members over and over. I will say it seems to have brought them closer to a couple people, but with the majority it's only served to drive home how dysfunctional they are.

I think she, like some of the potential dates Reader mentions, has trouble conceiving of a situation where one would need/want to set boundaries with family members, because she's never encountered any in her own family. Whenever she complains about her in-laws to me and I suggest she set boundaries/dial back on the effort she expends for them, she looks at me like I'm an alien being. Granted, it's her situation and not mine and I don't know all the nuances; but it's never like, "Well, I don't think the situation is that bad," it's like, "I cannot imagine a situation where it would be okay to cut someone off." And that is a tough mindset to face, if you feel you need to cut someone off, and you aren't getting any support for that tough decision from this third party (who is presumably someone you're close to, like an SO, relative, good friend). Or it's someone you could become close to (like a potential date), who is judging you because you "aren't close" to your family.
~Lynn2000

snowflake

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Re: How do non-involved parties react to your boundary setting?
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2013, 07:12:01 PM »
In my case it WAS my family who was the third party and who didn't understand that I was setting boundaries.  Most of the people I cut off were boyfriends/friends who were bad for me. 

My family believes that being friends with undesirable people makes them supremely "understanding" and "tolerant."  This means that they come up with excuses for people who are accused of terrible crimes and condemn the victims for being "vengeful" if they press charges.  So no matter what scum ball I got involved with, or who took advantage of me, I got reamed for getting them out of my life because I just couldn't take it.  In one case I found out that my charming boyfriend (whose scary side I was starting to see) had two ex-wives who both had current restraining orders against him.  There was enough incidents that they had kept them renewed (in one case for five years!)  After cutting him out, I got a whole shower of, "Well no one's perfect."  and "You've only heard one side of the story.  You need to listen to him before being judgmental."  (Um, do you think I ever spoke to THEM????)  And the capper was, "You can't expect to meet someone better because you are kind of a loser yourself."

I cried a lot at first.  I tried to reason with them every time.  And then I learned to say, "Well if I end up a lonely old maid with 50 cats, it's my business."

I have not had the courage to even distance them until recently.  The issue is that my sister was in a very abusive relationship.  There were a few times when I bluntly told her that I would not put up with the behavior when she asked me how to mollify them.  Wrong answer.  I offered her a place to stay if she and her kids would squeeze into my living room.  Oh, how dare I insinuate that she was "weak" like me?  I refused to participate in any cover-ups.  I was told over and over again that I was a bad sister, not supportive, and incapable of love.

For years I heard that I was a crabby, picky old biotch and no wonder I was single when I wouldn't do the proper amount of sucking up.  Then it was that my marriage was probably short-lived because I was intolerant.  Finally it was that my husband had to be the most patient and most repressed man ever since I wouldn't even let him go into random jealous rages.

In the past few years the sister got divorced.  Two other family members (who had less dysfunction but still mild abuse in their marriages) also got divorced.  Now they go on and on about how they, and they alone understand abusive relationships and those of us who have just had charmed lives need to cater to their whims.  At this point I have limited contact because it's nearly impossible for me to talk to them without screaming.  The one time I mentioned that I had picked a whole bunch of losers early on and that I felt for them, they said that I was very lucky to have "gotten out of it."  Ugh.  I had my self-esteem tramped on by everyone close to me and I kept going.  They call that "lucky"?

Twenty years later there is no way it would be useful for me to hash this out.  Until I can listen to them without wanting to shout and throw things, I won't interact more than I have to.  It's not just for me, it's for them.  My closest friends support me.  Other people don't understand this and I deal with it the following ways:

1) I am very close-mouthed about it.  I make excuses about my family having busy schedules and don't share.

2) If someone does judge me, I keep in mind that they have not lived the last 20 years knowing what was going on.  It would take days for me to explain so I just accept that they can't understand. 

3) I remind myself of everyone in the past 20 years who DID support me.  I have a written list and go through it sort of like a meditation exercise.  There was the receptionist who screened my calls and told me I was strong.  There was the boss who by accident caught what my father was saying to me and wrote me a letter of recommendation and told me to read it after talking to my parents.  Of course there is my husband (who really is patient.)

4) I list all the happy moments that the estrangement has made possible.

Oh and Reader, don't assume that a date who feels family is important will judge you.  My husband always thought family was important and he is still that way.  That is why he makes our family (himself, me and whatever kids are with us) more important than catering to any drama my sisters want to drag up.