Hard stuff with 2 close friends

They say it never rains but it pours. So here I am dealing with relationship difficulties with my two closest friends. Both are about boundary issues, which seem to be so huge with people like myself who were abused as children and again as adults because we seem to attach ourselves to people who will walk all over us. In the last few years I am learning and relearning not to do that, and to set boundaries. But first, I have to notice that my boundaries have been violated and figure out how. Anybody relate?

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  • Hi,

    One of the side-effects of abuse is boundary issues. If saying "no" failed in a big way you learn to not bother. The result is you forget that "no" is an option and appropriate.

    I've really struggled with this too. The most helpful book on this I've found is "Where to draw the line" - amazon.com/Where-Draw-Line-...

    It gives lots of little examples as plays that show boundary enforcement and violations.

    Simply, you set a boundary by barking. If barking fails you bite. People expect a bark as a boundary marker. Violators ignore the bark.

    Forbexample, I tend not to have office email on my phone unless I'm away on business. Outside of office hours I ignore emails. I MAY sometimes take emails anyway but I choose.

    If Telesales calls come through on my unlisted phone I say "Not interested" or "Not interested STOP CALLING ME" and hang up. Calling me is a boundary violation. I'm not going to argue or waste my time. "Not interested" states my boundary. Hanging up reinforces that boundary. They don't get a vote.

    Establishing and enforcing boundaries saves LOTS of energy.... 😀

  • Funny... the subject of boundaries comes up for the month of June in my regular Colour Harmonie newsletter I subscribe to. It recommends healing with the colour of red..

    I've really had struggles with boundaries in the past, especially in large crowds.

    I guess I live in the countryside, partly, because of this love of "silence" and a greater ability to negotiate my own boundaries in a clearer and more productive way...

    Boundaries for me are about security .... IF breached.

    IF there IS trust, then boundaries are all about being OPEN and FREE FLOWING - as long as there is.... RESPECT!

    I wish I knew how, better, to negotiate the realms of boundary breaches.... Life is so much easier when people are open and giving, accepting, having faith and respect. Without those principles surrounding me, I do find I become really unhappy and despondent, grouchy!

    In fact, let me tell you this - almost every single friend whom I have chosen or has befriended me, has eventually breached boundary issues with me. This essentially, as a leo, is about loyalty.

    For me, loyalty is security. I can 'give' a lot, stretch, bend... but if there's a lack of trust, faith, loyalty or respect in each other then the friendship inevitably goes nowhere lasting.

    <3 Blessings.

  • Yes. I didn't learn any boundaries growing up. I get weird looks from people because I don't have any. I'm getting better but it is hard. I used to feel like a doormat. Most of my close friends are far away. Some are here but I kind of avoid people and don't get too close to people because I don't trust them or would rather be by myself because it doesn't feel like it is balanced. I used to feel very taken advantaged of but I say no a lot. I'm sorry I'm talking about myself. Sometimes I go on a tangent. I hope that you can confront your friends and let them know the boundary that they crossed and that you take care of yourself and choose what is best for you first and communicate with them what you need, what is important to you, what you expect from them. Take care.

  • Thanks. Funny you say you used to feel like a doormat because that's what my mom used to say. I'd just paraphrase one of my favorite book titles and say: People can''t walk all over you if you don't lie down on the floor!

    I have confronted one of my friends. We are corresponding on Facebook messenger. It seems to be going well, but is going to take awhile. I'm not in a hurry, it's very important to me and I want to do it right. Also, have lots of other things going on so limited time, limited energy to due to health matters. I'm pretty sure we are going to work it out. Messenger is a good way because if in person and we disagree on some things--politics especially--she tends to get angry and spew things she later regrets. We've talked about that. We are very different in many ways but we love each other dearly and value our differences.

    The other friend, I'm not so sure about. She has many problems, both mental and physical health, including brain damage from 2 strokes plus a TBI. Confronting her in the usual sense just isn't in the cards. She gets confused, upset, anxious, angry and hurt so easily that it becomes almost impossible to have a conversation. We have been friends for 28 years and I love her dearly but really don't know how to handle her constant neediness and unreasonable demands. I should add that these things have been a problem on and off for a long time--mostly when she is between relationships when she gets very depressed and sometimes suicidal. (Her sister committed suicide not long after we met.) She is in a 15-year relationship now, but it is very tempestuous. Her partner is also very ill and both are in constant pain. Her partner has a tendency to get verbally abusive, which I really hate, because I was in that kind of relationship for a long time. But my friend says she accepts that, and is always making excuses for her partner because she is ill and in pain. Her partner tends to avoid her a lot because she can't handle the drama. I really don't blame her, because I only visit occasionally and it's really hard for me, too. So my friend feels abandoned, and is always trying to manipulate me into doing things for her and coming to visit etc. What I have done is refuse to respond to her manipulation and dropping hints. I just address what she actually says. She complained that I take her too literally! Yes I do, that's deliberate! So lately she has been a bit more direct about asking me to visit etc.

    Add to this that I have had a couple on run-ins on Facebook with her partner over politics and her partner's comments, which tend to attack the person and not the issue. It's strange, now that I think of it because both this conflict and that with my other friend have been started over presidential politics.

    So mostly I have been avoiding the 2nd friend, have not gone to visit for about a month--last time I drove her mom there and what a combination, they really set each other off, and that set off an argument between my friend and her partner. If I hadn't driven the mom there I would have been tempted to just excuse myself and leave. I really hate to listen to people fight and abuse each other. Several years ago on Christmas Day, I walked out because they started fighting. My friend was really angry at me and never did understand why I left. She says people argue, you just have to expect that. Well, I DON'T expect people to fight in front of their guest! It's very rude and makes me feel embarrassed and like they really don't want me there.

    On top of all of this the mom has mild dementia, so she gets confused and forgets things. It's sad, because I really like her, too. She is actually closer to my age than my friend it. I know it has to be hard to watch her 2nd daughter go downhill and probably going to die in the near future, after burying her other daughter so many years ago.

    I could go on, but you get the picture. Thanks for your supportive comments.

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