Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

My Boundaries Keep Others Out and Me In

I’ve been rather silent the past few days because of two things. One, another conversation with my husband in which I “lost it”. Two, my older son completely blew my mind with something he did. Not a good thing.

Usually I would have immediately vomited these things onto this blog for all the world to see. Usually, the release would do me good. But I’m not certain I want to go there just yet.

Last week, there was some conversation on boundaries. I took some time reviewing my boundaries, tweaking them, loving them, and then I realized something.

Boundaries work both ways. Not “both ways” as in ‘omg, he can have boundaries too!’ because I already knew that. No, boundaries work to keep others out, but they can also work to keep myself in.

What I’m talking about is PRIVACY. I’ve understood privacy as it relates to bathroom activities and sexual goings-on, but now the definition of privacy is expanding right before my unbelieving eyes.

Privacy also means that I have the right to keep things to myself. Wow.

Keep in mind, please, that my entire history with “myself” revolved around the idea that what other people thought of me WAS, IN FACT, who “I” was. This thought clarified itself to me this morning as I wrote my nanowrimo novel. I’ll simply copy/paste that part here:

Darkness reinforced the idea that “who I am” equals “who they think I am.” I was on a mission to control who they thought I was. Every angry word caused me to tweak their perception of me by making it right. No matter if they were angry for no good reason, their anger was judgment, and I needed them to judge me in a good light. I appeased people in ways that ensured they liked me. Wasn’t that important? Wasn’t that the goal?

It is more than needing someone to like me. My very existence depends on everyone else’s acceptance of me, and the more people who like me, who are willing to go to bat for me, who think I am perfect, then the happier I can be. Isn’t that how it works? Aren’t I supposed to do some distasteful things in order to feel good about me?

The missing person in all of my days has been the mysterious “me”. It’s like I was taught the word, but it never had meaning. I know when to use the word “I” but I don’t know who “I” is supposed to be. The “I” is not within, it is outside. The “I” in me is determined by what you say, by how you react, by what you think of what you call “me”. You get to decide who I am.

But no, “you” do not get to decide who I am. Now that I have set some boundaries, the proof for myself that “I” am separate from “you” is undeniable.

My privacy (new, expanded definition) is a new concept to me. In the cases of the phone conversation with my husband and the actions of my son, I’m kind of conflicted.

I’m working through email with Will to express and correct the mistakes I made and giving him the chance to express and correct his own. Doing this “in private” is vital. I must keep it close to my chest in order to see how we handle this together, without giving him the ability to watch it unfold on my blog. The results may not be private. I’m hoping to share some positive happenings with you in the future, but at the least, you’ll find out the truth along with me.

There’s not too much to be done about my son at this point. I am thoroughly disgusted with his action especially since there has been so much “GOOD” lately. The bright spot is that I’m not discounting his actions as another sign that I am responsible for his behavior. He owns what he did. He is my child, and I will stand beside him as he faces the consequences. Key to that statement is me standing beside him – I am not taking his place, I’m not taking the blame or the responsiblity.

So my son’s part of my story is private because it belongs to him. I don’t feel that I have the right to tell his story, so I won’t.

I must say that donnalee’s recognition of her own boundaries couldn’t have come at a better time for me. In sharing the limited experience I have with her, I was enabled to see another dimension previously hidden to me. (Thank you, DonnaLee!)

Privacy. Boundaries work both ways. I feel empowered knowing that I control what  gets into me as well as what goes out of me.

Read this entire post and more. Buy My Abusive Marriage . . . and what i’m doing in it by Kellie Jo Holly (or preview the book now).