Boundaries

So……. BOUNDARIES.

If you don’t set boundaries, you invite disrespect.

I have so many friends, and people I work with both in my guard unit and in my civilian job who talk to me about their various relationships, (i.e. husband/wife, mother/child, in-laws and siblings) and how they feel disrespected. After asking questions about certain aspects of the conflicts I realized that many people are not effectively communicating with the individuals they are in conflict with.  Before I go further I want to introduce 2 concepts  and or vocabulary words to you, the first is ethnocentric. Loosely defined, ethnocentric means to evaluate people and or cultures according to your own culture’s standards. The second term I want to introduce you to is mind reading as it pertains to communication. In this sense, mind reading can be defined as assuming you know what a person is thinking and or assuming that a person should know how you feel about something or someone.

So let’s tackle this a little at a time. If someone is doing something to you that you find offensive and you do not voice this offense, then you cannot hold them accountable for it. People cannot read your mind. Now lets be completely honest here, in some instances people are wronging you and they know they are, and they don’t care. It happens, but that’s not what we are talking about here. We are talking about annoying habits that can in some instances be disrespectful. For instance, a girlfriend of mines complained that her mother in law (MIL) would come over unannounced and usually after they have put their baby down for the night. She would come in the home and wake their child, hang out for an hour or so and then leave them with trying to put the baby to sleep. She complained and complained and complained to me so much and finally I asked, “Have you ever spoken to your MIL and tell her that her unannounced visits were disrupting your household”? Unsurprisingly, she said no. She said that the way she was raised people called before they came over, and she can’t believe that this woman consistiently came to her home uninvited and unannounced. I explained to her that at this point, her MIL wasn’t in the wrong, because she was never made aware that what she was doing was wrong. Had my girlfriend spoken to her after the first unannounced visit occurred she wouldn’t be so upset. This particular friend is VERY passive aggressive and so I have no doubt that she may have attempted to drop hints but true to her nature she avoids conflicts at all costs, to include her sanity.

Her failure to set that boundary, invited the constant disrespect she felt when her MIL came to her home. It also built resentment that caused their relationship to begin to decay. I explained to her that her MIL is not a mind reader. If every time she comes over unannounced she’s allowed in your home and you welcome her, what did you expect to happen? Furthermore, while the culture of your family, and or your family values requires you to call someone before darkening their doorstep, GREAT!!!! But maybe, her family culture tells her that formalities are not required to visit. I explained that she was projecting her family values on others as if that is the norm, and or the standard that all families should follow. Her ethnocentric tendancie was causing her to harshly and unfairly judge her husband’s entire family, (she was saying to me that it’s obvious that they were raised with no consideration and or manners).

How do you set boundaries???

Well you don’t have to provide everyone with a list of rules. You can however, address issues as they come up. For example, the first time my friend’s MIL came by, she should have let her know that it was inappropriate. It does have to get ugly either. Here’s a good an example….

“Mom thank you for coming by, but I’m sorry the baby is asleep, and we are getting ready to turn in for the night. Next time give me a call, and I’ll let you know if it’s okay to come by”.

That’s not so bad! There is nothing rude with boundaries unless someone insists on crossing them, and then well………..

Anyway, this has gotten a bit long so I’m out! Comment, share, and or email me your thoughts!

 

blog boundaries

Thanks,

Random Thoughts

 

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Sometimes You Outgrow Your Friends

So my tribe consist primarily of my military friends. We all grew up all over the country, and we have been friends for roughly 15 years. When each of us travels back to our childhood homes and meet up with our old friends we are finding that there’s very little connection left.

 

One of my girlfriends in particular traveled back home to NYC from Atlanta for her birthday weekend this past month. Her best friend from childhood (the only one who she actually kept up with over the years) hosted the event. The plan was to do a paint night, followed by live music at a lounge before calling it a night. Unfortunately, her best friend didn’t brief the group and they showed up expecting to turn all the way up, like they did before my friend moved away 15 years ago. Long story short she felt pressured to drink and club hop and ended up calling a night far sooner than planned.

 

I have spoken to this friend on several occasions about this particular childhood friend. She calls me and complains about how this friend is giving her hell about her commitment to her marriage, and her unavailability to visit and party among other things, and my question is always, why are you guys still friends?

 

My girlfriend and her best friend are opposites in every way. My friend is married with children, has a great career, and has traveled the world. Her friend is single, in a dead-end job, and rarely leaves NYC let alone the country. Their only connection are middle and high school memories that occurred what seems to be a lifetime ago, (we all graduated from high school in 2002 so I guess it wasn’t a lifetime but many changes have occurred in this time). Now, this doesn’t mean that my friend is better than her old friend, it just means that their connection is founded on childhood, and should probably be left there. My friend’s idea of fun has changed immensely! She, (as well as I) consider fun painting and wine, traveling and live music at various venues for starters. Picking a place for the two of them to hang out is always a challenge, one that she complains about constantly.

 

So, I say all of that to say ask yourself, have I outgrown your friends? If so, it’s okay! As we grow and change, so do the people around us, which means we may not always mesh. This is why I always tell people not to marry before 25, (another blog, coming soon). It’s perfectly fine to outgrow old friends and make new ones. Don’t feel obligated to remain friends with someone you don’t share any interest with. If you feel like that individual is a great person who you’d like to keep around, get to know them again, and reintroduce yourself to them as well. You  can learn a lot from one another and experience new and great things. But let go of dead relationships, they are pointless.

 

Outgrowing Friends Blog

Dealing With Selfish People

So, it has taken me a long while to actually write this blog. It’s because there are so many moving pieces and so many variables. Because of those facts, understand that these thoughts that I am about to express do not necessarily apply to every type of relationship. What I want to address right now is selfish people and having a relationship with them. While a lot of what I am saying can apply to any type of relationship, i.e. friends, siblings, parent child, I am mostly addressing spouse relationships. Again, there is so much to be said about this topic and it’s a bit confusing as to where to start, so we’ll tackle it at what I consider to be the most important, identifying a selfish person.

 

Selfish people do not always set out to hurt people, and it’s important to understand that. When you realize someone is selfish you have to understand that they more than likely do not even realize that they are selfish and do not identify as such. Because selfish people do not realize that they are selfish, they don’t see a need to change which means that it is highly unlikely that they will change. If you decide at that point that you want to be with them, DO NOT BE UPSET WITH THEM FOR BEING EXACTLY WHO THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN. You cannot change anyone, they have to want to change.

 

Selfish people can love you but only to the extent of their comfort. Sacrificing what’s important for anyone else is highly unlikely. They will only get uncomfortable, or sacrifice when losing you is not an option for them and even then their motives is about THEIR need for you, not about your needs, which makes their efforts truly insincere. Trying to articulate this to them can be fruitless because they do not understand that things had to get to a place where your relationship was about to dissolve for them to take action. They typically do not understand that their actions were selfish because they only see that the change was made, not that it took losing you for them to be courteous of you and your needs. And the changes usually don’t last because they never saw the value in them to begin with.

 

Here’s the big thing, you cannot punish people for who they are. If you decide to engage with someone who isn’t what you need, then you have to accept them. You cannot make someone pay for what they are lacking in the relationship, you can only walk away. If you have a hard time leaving the relationship, you need to figure out what this person’s hold on you is, and whether or not that ‘thing’ is worth being with someone who cares far more about themselves then they do about you. I am firm believer in treating everyone the way I want to be treated, and if they don’t deserve to be treated that way, then they do not deserve to be in your space.

Selfish Blog