July 15, 2011

God's Call, on Boundaries

Recently, I set a boundary in written correspondence... when I'd wondered for years, exactly what WOULD happen if I set a boundary with this person?  Over the years,  they had written caring emails sometimes, but more and more they  zeroed in on the program work I was sharing with the forum to which I belong.  Often their implication was that I was not learning what they had learned long ago. They would chuckle at my experiments and tell me I was codependent on my family member. Um, right.  Meanwhile I left them be and let them learn for themselves.   

I had this fear of speaking up, actually, of setting a boundary and having them get mad at me....  Then came the day, when  I had had enough of their innuendo and efforts to control me.   The final straw was reading the triggering words, "Writers don't do..." 

I felt I was a seed breaking through some cracks in my personality that had needed to "go" for a good long while.   When I gently shared my perspective on that statement, I was told that it was I who was being defensive and judgmental. I finally had to admit that my words to them had no power... I felt an inner peace from being so kind and so direct.

I was relieved when our communication seemed to end completely. 

After three weeks,  this person wrote me a brand new email, not to apologize (did I expect that? Not exactly..).   I was an inventory, filled with "you" messages.  I mentioned a former friend who'd just been honest with me about her own feelings. This person did my inventory and told me how now they knew for sure I was my borderline disordered parent. What fun-house mirror was this? I did not need salt rubbed into  the sores I was healing in doing my program work.  

Even more odd, I was told that I was the one who had been ugly in our last email exchange. The person believed they were absolutely entitled to deliver every wrong statement they lobbed at me.  Dare I say that anyone doing serious program for years, should know better than to do another's inventory?

I learned from the therapy community that the internet can indeed keep some folk from really dealing with their issues, even as they are doing recovery work. They can get away with being blind to their issues and how they are hurting others, because there is no accountability in some forums. This allows abusive types to prey on people and project their unhealed issues onto others who might seem  easy targets.  

Like any twelve step meeting our forum allows no public cross talk. But unlike a meeting, private conversation is totally invisible to the fellowship, it happens in emails that are only seen by individuals. A person who almost never posts in the open forum, can harass folks with impunity and there are no consequences.  This allows abusive types to prey on people and project their unhealed issues onto others who might seem  easy targets.  

I could be ashamed for being used as a target.  But, thanks to what I have been learning about setting quiet boundaries,  I am no victim.   I am also glad to say I did not feel the need to "talk back" to someone that treats me badly.  I don't need to use my old defenses and "show" them anything.  I feel so much freedom because of the inadvertent gift in this hurtful experience.   

This person so much reminded me of my abusive family member, even as they compared me to that my family member!  My abusive family member thinks I am sick because I don't use energy to fight her anymore.  The person I have tried to fellowship with over these many years, believes I am faltering too.  But the message of my own small still voice is that I don't need to fight such people. I can just be still and listen for God's next call....

1 comment:

  1. There are those with whom I enjoy being around and those that I best leave alone. I pray for those with whom I have difficulty. But I don't need to be a target for their wrath and discontent. It is good to realize that I have boundaries when it comes to personal abuse.


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