When I look back 15 years ago, I see a totally different person with a totally different concept of boundaries.
I have so many memories come to mind, of my friendships, ex-boyfriends, and situations at school or work. My inner world was much different than what people in my life saw on the outside.
What I know so well now is so much easier to see looking back.
Jen 2001 was still in college and didn’t have a clue about where she would be in a year, or five years, or fifteen for that matter. I had oodles of friends in many different circles. I prided myself on that. I loved the attention and being liked. At one point I recall being out with a friend shopping all day long and running into about ten different people that I knew. So many friends. 🙂 They liked me, they really liked me (channeling my inner Sally Field, only sans OSCAR).
Conversely, I had one “friend” who I constantly had ups and downs with. I wanted her to like me. I tried to be nice to her. To talk to her. To share what was going on in my life, my fears and secrets. Listen to hers. Cause that is what friends do, right? It worked for a while. Until I said or did something she didn’t like. Then a raging storm blew in. And she would tell mutual friends all of the intimate details I shared, make my life hell, and eventually give me the cold shoulder for months. Time would pass and our paths would cross. I tried to be nice. We would start to connect. And the whole process would repeat again and again.
No matter what I did, now matter how nice I was, it wasn’t enough.
Jen in 2008 no longer ran in the same circles as she did. I was working full time and had a boyfriend. I remember getting a new car that year. It was out of town and I had to drive to trade mine in and pick it up. I remember clearly walking down the stairs and having this conversation with my ex. He wanted to come with me on the drive, which meant I would have to change my plans, delay things, and affect other parties. I wanted to go ahead and leave, not thinking much of it. But I didn’t. I was given this look that hit right up against my guilt bone.
Jen 2016 can see clearly now. I can see the part I played in all of these situations. It took me years and tons of effort, but I can see it. I had extremely weak boundaries. Like, barely-there boundaries, and that’s being generous. I cared about quantity over quality. I gave second and third and fourth chances after someone showed me who they were.
Boundaries are not a bad thing. I didn’t avoid them, I just truly had no clue what they were or how to implement them. And I certainly didn’t know I needed them, that is until it was too late. I don’t recommend you repeat my mistake. But that is a story for another day.
[Tweet “Looking back, I’ve been able to identify the thoughts, feelings, and actions of weak boundaries.”]
Without further adieu, here are 10 signs your boundaries need a B-12 shot.
- You are an open book-You think telling all without shame is something to be proud of, but your radar is off when it comes to sharing what and with whom and when.
- Yet you’ve forgotten how to use your voice-You have trouble expressing your wants and needs. A truthful and direct “No” isn’t in your lexicon, but saying no when you mean yes, or saying yes when you mean no happens often. Not speaking up when you have something to say, or not calling someone out who mistreats you occurs all the time.
- You hate disappointing people– You ignore your own discomfort to make sure everyone else is taken care of. And at times you give too much so you can be perceived as useful. Even acting against your values in order to please people in your life.
- Yet you feel used– You’re resentful and think to yourself that people are taking advantage of your niceness yet not returning the favor. It’s like they are walking all over you.
- You struggle with depression or anxiety- You focus on something that already happened which didn’t go well, and you feel regret or lament over what you could have done better. Or you are over-thinking about a future situation that you have to prepare for to make sure it goes perfectly.
- Yet you ignore your gut- You sacrifice your self-care to care for others or meet other responsibilities. It’s a cycle that continues and you can’t even trust that you know what you need anymore.
- You manipulate to get what you want and need- You do or say subtle things to the right people at the right times, so the few things you do know you need, are taken care of. Asking for help or being perceived as needy is out of the question! You embrace “independence”.
- Your relationships tend to be difficult- You claim to hate drama, but you find yourself sucked into it no matter what you do. Trying to rescue or fix people or situations is second nature. The more challenging the better, you know you can help!
- Yet your deep, dark fear is being rejected or abandoned- You think, it’s happened before and hurts so bad, what is it about me that makes people leave? How can I make sure it doesn’t happen anymore?
- You often wonder who you really are- You take a step back now and then when things get really uncomfortable and think, how did I get here? You feel pulled in so many directions like a starfish being stretched. Then it hits you in those still moments when you don’t have a problem to solve. Without all of that, who am I?
What about you, any of these ring true? Is it time to pop a gummy vitamin in your mouth? It’s ok, I’ve been there, I know.
Are you ready to boost your Boundaries?
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