B is for Boundaries
|Illustrated by Rob Z Tobor|
Boundaries are one of those topics I could write about almost every day. I’m that passionate about them. Probably because I allowed mine to get crossed a few years ago. Who am I kidding? Crossed doesn’t even come close to what I allowed. More like stomped on then lit on fire.
I’ve always been aware of my boundaries even though I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I’m not one to shy away from letting someone know they are invading my space, or making me uncomfortable. Granted, I’ve toned down how I react now. But, there was a time when I didn’t hesitate to tell someone to get bent, only in much harsher language.
My boundaries slowly but surely eroded the first few years of marriage to Devin. It began as denial. I knew my husband was looking at porn but was afraid to admit to how much time he wasted on it.
I thought I could control it if I agreed to look with him. Soon porn wasn’t a rush for him anymore. He couldn’t get that high he needed to feel if I was agreeing to it. Devin suggested what I should wear to turn him on. Rather than vocalize how uncomfortable I was, I dressed how he wanted.
It went on like this for almost a year. I permitted myself to feel like crap because his happiness had become more important than my own. I was completely enmeshed in him. I had no healthy boundaries anymore.
But, I was also renewed.
Never again would I allow myself to feel like dirt in my own marriage. I’d rather walk out the door than go through another disclosure day. I discovered the significance of personal boundaries. I understood the importance of saying, “If you want to stay married to me, this is how this marriage is gonna work.”
I created my first boundary agreement. A document that could have been written by Hitler, it was so dictative. (Yes, I made up my own word). Anyone familiar with computer code knows about the “if else” statement. That’s what my boundary agreement is similar too now. It contains things like, “If you cheat on me, I will divorce you” and “If you have a slip, you must tell me, or else I feel threatened.”
Some people find boundary agreements as a form of trying to control someone. I don't. It’s a way of letting an addict know what you will and will not tolerate in their behavior in order to safeguard yourself. It’s a tangible means of protecting yourself and your family. As long as your boundaries are coming from a healthy place, not from fear or control, it’s a great tool to have when married to an addict.
Do you have strong boundaries?
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