Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Gap In the Fence: Risking Rejection With Boundaries

I have been working on building a sturdy fence for several months now. And it's a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Boundary setting is definitely a process.

You cannot just start randomly weaving posts and rails because you think you need them. They need to line up — which only happens when you understand more about yourself.

I'm working to reinforce my weak and wobbly fence, which helps most of the time. But I will never have a perfect, invincible fence no matter how hard I try.

I have noticed some huge gaps between fence posts — an invitation to walk right in.

No fence. No gate. No boundary.

I think it's because boundary setting is such a risk for me. I potentially have so much to lose. And that scares me.

I know I need a fence so I start building one, but there are people I know too well. Patterns that are familiar. Enabling others to come and go in the name of what I think is empathy. Or maybe it's just guilt.

The all too familiar voice convinces me I'm not allowed to set a boundary there. Or manipulates me into thinking I'm not being loving or kind or compassionate if I build a fence in that spot.

Boundaries take courage and surrender. I cannot fear what someone else's reaction to the boundary will be. Because the boundary isn't about other people, they are about me.

It feels so complicated sometimes.

For me, boundary setting is a big #RiskRejection.

I set some boundaries this week with someone very close to me. And it was so hard. Excruciating actually. And as soon as the words came out of my mouth I started to self-doubt. I felt bad, so I started to question myself. Tried to figure out how I could maybe only build half a fence or maybe the gap there was okay after all.

I have to learn how to sit in this place — where people aren't necessarily going to like my boundaries. Because boundaries change me from people-pleasing yes woman to someone new.

Someone I'm still trying to figure out. Still trying to find.

How do you handle it when someone reacts negatively to a boundary you set?

 Linking with: 
Amy Sullivan and her #riskrejection link-up.


Simply Beth said...

What do you do when the boundary you need to set is with your entire family (parents/siblings)? Wow...I said that out loud.
I don't think they've have fully realized I've put that boundary in place and it was needed but oh there is also guilt. I get this..."Because boundaries change me from people-pleasing yes woman to someone new." I was tired of people-pleasing, or maybe I just don't know how to be the real me with them. Okay, this was a little thought provoking. :)
I'm glad I stopped in today.

Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

Praying for you, Christy. Boundary-setting with loved ones is especially difficult. Be strong and trust God to bless your decision. Hopefully your relationship will benefit from it in the end.

Anonymous said...

I went through this same thing over the past month. I had a friend who had become an emotional drain, and it was heavily affecting my healing. I tried to distance myself, but I kept letting her back in because of guilt. Finally, I had to set a very strong and tall boundary, and it was horribly hard. She reacted very negatively, even to the point of accusation regarding my faith. After so many times of going through this, I had to cut ties. God gave me the direction and He gave me peace afterward. The guilt is gone, and I know it's best for us both that she doesn't depend on me for everything. Sometimes we place boundaries for ourselves, and sometimes we place them for the well-being of another. I think boundaries are necessary and healthy, although difficult, and I'm proud of you for doing hard things!!!! <3

lisa said...

This is a great and difficult risk. I struggle with this one. God can do amazing things through your courage. Thanks for your words.

Melody said...

Oh yes, I hear you on the half a fence thing. I also deal with guilt and second guessing myself. But hold your ground with a gracious spirit and He will honor and bless you and the other person. Pray the boundaries set will accomplish a turning in the other person's heart. Bless you!

Mary Jo said...

Yes, boundaries are a big risk, but they are a healthy risk. So proud of you for not only setting the boundaries, but sitting in that uncomfortable place that it sometimes creates for a short time.

Cheering you on as you continue to #RiskRejction!

Amy Sullivan said...

I need to grow in a lot of ways, but setting boundaries is not one of them. Here's something that always comforts me. When someone reacts negatively to a boundary I've set, it usually reassures me I have done the right thing.

Good job you for pushing through this even though it is tough.

PinkStripeySocks said...

Oh boy.... I have trouble with this too. I'm terrible at setting boundaries... You're doing a good thing, girl.

Jen said...

Wow~ Boundaries is a HUGE one! Especially if we learned from the time we were a little girl that being "nice" is letting people walk on us. So agree, sometimes the most loving thing we can do for people is say "no"...even if that means we will risk rejection! I think this is life changing...when we get it. (And oh how I am still trying to "get it") :)

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