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#249106 - 09/11/08 02:57 AM WoR Hangover Notes, Boundaries
frost Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 1377
Loc: Eh?
As survivors it is important for us to learn about what healthy and unhealthy boundaries are. To be able to recognize a boundary when we see one is fundamental to our functioning as a healthy adult.

What exactly is a boundary? I personally visualize a boundary as a wall. This wall could be far from me, or close to me depending on what the boundary is and whom it is being enforced upon. Something dawned on me over the weekend, as I learned that boundaries don't necessarily have to be "I'm in here and you're out there" and in fact, there is an entire new world of boundaries that I was never even aware of.

Originally Posted By: Paul, WoR Facilitator (Slight Paraphrase)
That feels nice but remove your hand.


Wait a second, we as humans can do that?

Let me back up a bit here and provide some context. One very big struggle for me my entire life has been to say "NO". I'm guessing there is one or two guys here whom can relate to me on this.

One area where boundary troubles happen when we as survivors no longer want to have stringent boundaries with those we love. We want to let people in and feel good things again, right? In childhood, we were robbed of our power whether it felt painful or good. Remember the old adage that "Sexual abuse is more about power than sex"?

For those among us whom are sexually anorexic, this manifests in a fierce way in that the only way to truly feel empowered in our lives is to cut ourselves off from good feelings and enter into long bouts of non-sexual or anti-sexual behaviour in order to 'control' or 'have power' over that part of life -- the very part of life that we had little or no control over in childhood.

We are further stifled by a belief that we shouldn't need to say no to things that feel good. To use a simplistic example, if a loved one asks for a hug and we are uncomfortable with hugging this person (for whatever reason, be it a trigger or whatnot) chances are pretty high that we will go ahead and provide that person with the hug they requested despite and we will do our best to silence the protest happening inside. It is human nature that hugs and affection feel good. So why then would anyone want to turn down a hug? As a sexual abuse survivor, one might not necessarily feel that the HUG is uncomfortable, rather, the feeling of 'obligation' that comes from being asked and feeling powerless to say "NO" can bring up some awful thoughts from the past.

Is anyone still with me? Honestly I think I'm a little lost myself.

What I'm trying to say is that -- "sex" can and does feel good. If I had a nickel for every time an abuse survivor struggled with guilt & shame because the sexual aspect of their abuse "felt good". As children, we were robbed of our ability to say no to things that felt good. Often times it turns us into "push overs" or "people pleasers" whom will comply with virtually any request that is presented us because we feel forced to comply. The fact may be that our problem is not so much with the action itself, but feeling like we have to perform that action.

The second part of this is self or external judgment. An example that was used during the WoR is that, if a friend calls you up and asks you to come to a BBQ on Saturday and you really don't feel up to it, does it make you a bad person to just say "No"? Before you answer that -- think of how many times you've said "No" then followed it with your best rendition of an excuse. What's driving that need to create excuses? We judge ourselves for saying "No". Somehow somewhere along the way, saying "No" became a bad thing. Does saying "No" because you need to stay home and recharge your batteries (because being a survivor is fucking difficult) on Saturday make you a "bad" person? Hell no! We may think we're trying to be polite by creating an excuse but the truth is we might just be taking care of ourselves and that's okay. Sure, Saturday's BBQ might be lots of fun and good times, but if we are going because we feel obligated, that will remove all the fun out of it, for us.

Would love to see what else anyone has to say on this. This concept is just one of the things I took back from the Alta WoR this last weekend that are still rather unsettled and I'm still trying to fully grasp.

All the best,
~Bri

_________________________
Boom!

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#254718 - 10/12/08 08:36 PM Re: WoR Hangover Notes, Boundaries [Re: frost]
arronb Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/02/08
Posts: 1005
Loc: Perth
Hello Brian

I, like many survivors I guess, discovered I had ‘sloppy boundaries’ during therapy … boundaries were a totally new concept to me … wonderful I can tell people what I want or do not want from them now … great.

The real breakthrough though came when I discovered the concept of self honesty, and the idea of internal boundaries. Really the biggest problem I had/have is believing the negative stuff , all the stuff that was beaten into me as a child, the stuff I took in from others thru out my life and the stuff I tell myself when things go wrong.

The beauty I have discovered in self honesty is that you have to constantly ask yourself the hard questions and give yourself the honest answers. That requires setting internal boundaries …

"Internal boundaries could also be described as self-discipline or taking responsibility or growing up.
They are what is necessary for any real growth to occur.
It is necessary for an alcoholic to start having internal boundaries in order to stop drinking - for anyone to stop any addictive, compulsive, or obsessive behavior.

In order to start changing our behavior it is necessary to have an internal boundary with the child in us who wants immediate gratification/immediate relief from the feelings.
In order to change what we are doing so we can change what we are getting - it is necessary to start having some internal boundaries with ourselves.

Part of the task in recovery, is to learn to realign our defense system with healing and Love instead of with self destruction.
We need to retrain the rebel to fight the good fight on behalf of what is healthy and aligned with growth - instead of aligned with unconsciousness.
This is part of the process of learning to be our own best friend, our own protector, our own Loving parent.
By learning how to have internal boundaries we can fight the good fight in a way that serves us instead of hurts us."

Taken from http://www.joy2meu.com/internal_boundaries.html

For me the setting of external boundaries has become secondary to following my own internal boundaries … I have found that with solid internal boundaries the need to set external boundaries with others is not as important. Part of the self honesty mantra is also knowing and recognizing when things are not working for us and doing what needs to be done to keep moving forward … internal boundaries have been the key to making those changes for me.

Obviously though there are times when others do need for you to set external boundaries … some people just don’t learn eh ?

_________________________
Keep Smilin'
arronb

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#254782 - 10/12/08 11:50 PM Re: WoR Hangover Notes, Boundaries [Re: arronb]
Fissy Tsickens Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Bassett, Virginia
OMG, Brian, you are right on target! What you said!

Peace,

John

_________________________
Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd...but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed...but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me

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#254852 - 10/13/08 10:37 AM Re: WoR Hangover Notes, Boundaries [Re: Fissy Tsickens]
M3 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 1392
Loc: Central Ohio
Brian and Aaronb...

I hope everyone gets a chance to read this thread. You guys are right on and articulate it very clearly. Thanks!

Michael


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#254862 - 10/13/08 11:19 AM Re: WoR Hangover Notes, Boundaries [Re: M3]
Ken Followell Offline
President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 12/30/01
Posts: 990
Loc: Bradenton, FL
Brian and Aaron,

Great thoughts on boundaries, thanks for sharing this

_________________________
Ken Followell

Everything works out right in the end. If things are not working right, it isn't the end yet. Don't let it bother you, relax and keep on goin
- Michael C. Muhammad

"I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing."
� Rabbi Hillel

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#254865 - 10/13/08 11:30 AM Re: WoR Hangover Notes, Boundaries [Re: M3]
1islandboy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 858
Loc: washington
Brian and Aaronb...

Love what you had to say. Anything to stimulate the gray matter helps.

Aaron thanks for the link, to much good stuff...attached a bookmark, I'm sure more will be revealed.

What helped me initially on my journey was reading, "BOUNDARIES, subtitled, where you end and I begin, by Anne Katherine." (books around here somewhere, there should be a degree at the end of her name).

I first needed to figure out what a boundary was, I mean what are they?..be they emotional or physical. How do you visualize them etc...

Your so right on target with the BBQ analogy. For my it's like, sure I'll work overtime 24/7, and then, Why did I agree to that?


Without being ever vigilant to exactly where my boundaries are at any given point in my life sets me up, for a type of re-victimizing myself. (period)


excellent topic...!!!

island

_________________________
Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine ~ M.F. Fernandez

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#254918 - 10/13/08 04:37 PM Re: WoR Hangover Notes, Boundaries [Re: 1islandboy]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Brian and arronb,

Thanks for the tread and topic.
Boundaries have always been a struggle for me.
I am going to buy and read this book.
Thank You again.

mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#255028 - 10/13/08 11:44 PM Re: WoR Hangover Notes, Boundaries [Re: michael banks]
G5 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 203
Loc: New Jersey
Great thoughts.......if I may add to this. I've been able to set some boundaries but had great difficulty getting others to understand my new terms. I can set them but then fall to pieces and become confused when others don't respect them in a manner that I think is required. Then my issues of acceptance come into the picture. I then begin to doubt my decision.....the circle begins.

I can decline the BBQ once, maybe twice. But then a pattern appears and people question. That was a difficult phase. My boundaries are in constant flux and depend on the situation and the state I'm in: These boundaries move as I progress and regress. But yes, there are the hard and fixed ones that will always apply. We can make that choice and it's OK.

Chris

_________________________
WoR Kirkridge '08
WoR Alta Advanced '09
International Conference '10, '12
Oprah 200
PA Support Group
WoR Alta Advanced '12
"Silence Buster"

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