Last Tuesday, I talked about the fabulous journal prompts offered by Dominee of Blessing Manifesting, Sacred Journey Through Journaling. One of the things I love about them, besides the fact that they make you think (!), is that you really don't have to do them in order. I have been doing them totally out of order, as the mood strikes me. The one that hit me today was actually from Day 4, but the subject has been on my mind lately, in regards to friendships, so the timing was divine.
How are your boundaries in regards to other people? Do you find that you are more likely to let people in or keep people out? When people push your boundaries how do you react?
My boundaries with friends and acquaintances are sadly lacking sometimes. Part of it was the way I was brought up, to an extreme. I was brought up to not make waves, especially in public and outside of family. "Always present a pleasant face." While I am all about manners and such, and totally against unnecessary harshness or rudeness, there is a fine line between maintaining civility and allowing yourself to be treated like crap. And all too often I have let people cross that line. Most of the time, I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place and I internalize it, or bitch to my husband about it. But it is draining. It drains the creativity, the trust, and the faith in people right out of you. And it sucks.
I never used to be a big doormat, but I think life in general has drained me to the point that sometimes it just doesn't feel as if the effort is worth it. But I have had a few friendships in the last few years that have definitely made me rethink things. I had a friend a few years ago that I felt an instant bond with, despite a pretty big age difference. For several months, it was great. We spent tons of time together and we got along wonderfully. But the minute our husbands deployed, it went south. I was working from home full-time, had 4 kids, and my health suddenly went to crap. And that is where the differences really became obvious. She was self-admittedly used to being the center of attention, young, no kids, no job, no responsibilities outside of her home and the things that go with that. She couldn't relate to the fact that I was doing all that I was doing and that it took time. She couldn't relate to the fact that spontaneity isn't that easy. She had a hard time dealing with deployment and separation, being a new military wife, and I can't count the number of times I did drop everything when she needed me. But those times apparently didn't count. It quickly became a very one-sided relationship. I gave, she took. And that was that. I dealt, for a long time, trying to be patient with the fact that she was having a hard time. Until I got a vicious, and hateful, email that changed everything and broke my heart. It hurt me because, for once, I really knew that I was not at fault in any way. There are very few times in life when a person can know that they are entirely blameless, but this was one of those times. We didn't speak for months, and even when we did, it was never the same. I lost trust, in an irrevocable way that has carried on with other friendships. It didn't help that eventually it went back to the one-sided mess that it once was. It became the kind of friendship where she never spoke to me… until she needed something.
I have another "friendship" like that, with a girl I was once so close to that we were practically sisters. I moved away after awhile, and we fell out of the closeness we once had. Several years past, and we both lived different lives. When I came back to the local area 8 years ago, I had hope that we would be back to our old friendship, but it never happened. That's okay; it happens. But it quikly became obvious that what little contact we continue to have is soley based on what is happening in her life and what she needed. And over the course of the years back, I hhave discovered that I was deeply betrayed by her. It happened a long time ago, and the situation no longer matters, but the principle of the matter does.
All of these things don't really help my motivation to let people in. At all. It seems like, with a few exceptions, I get burned more than anything else. A couple years ago, I met a girl and, at first, it seemed like we had a ton in common. But boundaries were not respected and I got stifled FAST. Once again, my every waking moment was supposed to be spent with her. And if I spent time with anyone else, including friends she didn't even know or my family, I was expected to either include her or not go. Everything I did was supposed to be with her. Evverything I did, she had to do. There is nothing that will stifle inspiration and creativity like someone who has to copy your every move. It got to the point that I felt like I had no space of my own to be me, no privacy. It was absolutely horrific, trying to extract myself.
After that, I fled to my "Kim Cave". I couldn't take the drama anymore. I backed off from everyone. I was lonely, but too gunshy to come out because I had enough stuff going on without more drama. Boundaries are needed but they can be so hard to put in place.