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#65980 - 05/06/03 11:15 PM boundaries and minefields
doctorfrau Offline
Member

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...
I’ve been thinking about boundaries some more. As someone who crosses them regularly- sometimes deliberately – I’d like some more insight, or maybe I just need to vent.

I have to admit that sometimes I am worse than a little kid when it comes to boundaries. It’s kind of like when we were in the backseat on a trip, and my brothers drew a line down the upholstery. Sooner or later someone is going to sneak a finger across that rib of vinyl just because they told you not to, and you know it will drive them crazy. It’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull – or even a double-dog dare – you just can’t walk away from an opportunity like that. “Mom! He’s looking out ‘my’ window!” “ Mom! She’s on ‘my’ side of the seat!”

I admit I succumbed to this temptation when dealing with my friend. I’m going to call him “Geraldo” from here on out, because he DOES have a name, even though I can’t use it here. I have crossed Geraldo’s boundaries several times in our relationship. I called it his “minefield” at the time, and I knew it was there, I just didn’t know why. When I stepped into the minefield, he would suddenly get weird on me (for lack of a better de>
_________________________
"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."

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#65981 - 05/06/03 11:18 PM Re: boundaries and minefields
Sick Puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 300
Loc: Nowhere Land
It's not his fault he won't talk to you. Would you talk to someone who continuously manipulated you, purposely triggered you, emotionally abused you and teased you about your deepest personal issues?

_________________________
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see


Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

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#65982 - 05/06/03 11:25 PM Re: boundaries and minefields
doctorfrau Offline
Member

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...
Yes Puppy I did that \:\(
At the time I had no idea how hurtful I was being - I only knew how much his rejection had hurt 'me'. Like I said in my last post - I am dirt \:\(

I have little excuse for that, except that I was dealing with my 'own' pain and issues at the time. I would hope that I am past that now, but I can't guarantee it. All I can do is promise to talk about it when it happens-- but he won't do that \:\(

_________________________
"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."

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#65983 - 05/06/03 11:29 PM Re: boundaries and minefields
Sick Puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 300
Loc: Nowhere Land
Well to people who have been abused it's incredibly hard to trust. He obviously trusted you enough to tell you, and you broke that trust and to some extent re-abused him. It might seem like nothing much to you but to a survivor it's everything. It's just another reason never to trust people.

_________________________
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see


Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

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#65984 - 05/06/03 11:52 PM Re: boundaries and minefields
doctorfrau Offline
Member

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...
I didn't know what it was I was doing, and he wouldn't tell me. I have shed so many tears over what I would take back if I could. but I can't. All I can do is beg forgiveness and ask to start over again.

_________________________
"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."

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#65985 - 05/07/03 12:07 AM Re: boundaries and minefields
Sick Puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 300
Loc: Nowhere Land
Well I'm sorry to say it but just because you didn't neccesarily do it on purpose doesn't mean that all can or will be forgiven. Whether you intended to or not, you still did him damage, and his trust with you has been broken.

_________________________
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see


Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

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#65986 - 05/07/03 12:36 AM Re: boundaries and minefields
doctorfrau Offline
Member

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...
I don't think that being hurt and angry and confused at being shut out without explanation is a totally unreasonable response on my part. The boundaries that I crossed were not physical ones. I never touched him unless it was at his inititation, and then only for a hug. I even slept on his couch once at his behest while I was in town visting. He slept in his bed - I slept on the couch, clothed and in my sleeping bag.

The boundaries that I crossed or purposely stomped on, were in bringing up subjects that he refused to talk about. I said things like - 'Do I remind you of "him" - is that why you are acting this way??' This was before I even knew there was such a word as "trigering". I said things like - 'I think your problem is that you are attracted to me and don't "want" to be.'

That was the only thing that was left to me when he wouldn't speak. Pick things and guess, and try to make him answer. It didn't work.

_________________________
"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."

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#65987 - 05/07/03 07:43 AM Re: boundaries and minefields
Sick Puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 300
Loc: Nowhere Land
Emotional abuse (I use abuse here for lack of a better word) is often far more damaging than its physical counterpart. I think you have a lot more learning to do in this area. I really don't mean to sound harsh but you are being TOTALLY unreasonable in expecting him to forgive you and go about as if nothing happened. It is HIS CHOICE if he wants to talk to you, and abusing him is NOT how to get him to talk. You're the one at fault here, NOT HIM.

_________________________
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see


Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

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#65988 - 05/07/03 08:15 AM Re: boundaries and minefields
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
doctorfrau
Once we retreat behind our boundaries we take some shifting, I do anyway.

But I for one didn't really know where my boundaries lay for certain, they probably shifted daily.
So I couldn't give anyone a map.

Sometimes I needed someone to poke my boundaries with a stick to show me where I was, but I didn't want a road driven through them until I built it.

It's hard for anyone to know just how hard to poke the stick, and where to poke it.

I guess you need to think hard about how serious he is about shutting you out, if you believe there's still a chance then you need to tell him what you laid out in the origional post, maybe by letter.
He did trust you, maybe he can again.

Begging forgiveness probably wont wash, I would want someone who had pushed my buttons ( whether accidently or on purpose ) to show me that they were aware that I had buttons I didn't want to be pushed, aware that I had boundaries I wanted respecting. I would want to see that change in someone, and that's different to saying "sorry"

We heal better and quicker with someone to care and help us, and he might have seen you as that person once. I'm afraid he might take some persuading to see you in that role again, but you wont know until you try.


Quote:
I said things like - 'Do I remind you of "him" - is that why you are acting this way??' This was before I even knew there was such a word as "trigering". I said things like - 'I think your problem is that you are attracted to me and don't "want" to be.'
You've been very frank in your replies to Pup' - you've thought about this and what you did and recognise that phrases like "I think your problem is...." are the buttons to avoid with this guy.

We need to get to this point ourselves, but support is wonderful if we have it, we need someone to bounce our ideas and thoughts off. It's ok if someone disagrees with my ideas, and if they're right I'll accept that, but I need to arrive at those ideas my way.

We're giving you a bit of a kicking here I know, and it's not intended to be nasty to you.
You obviously care enough about this guy to want to help, you come to this site and are willing to learn from our experiences.
I hope you make a difference, but first off I think you need to convince him that you care enough to have made some changes.

I hope it works.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#65989 - 05/07/03 09:03 AM Re: boundaries and minefields
doctorfrau Offline
Member

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...
I need and deserve the “kicking” – it’s okay.

I guess I have my moments of doubt as to whether this is really worth it or not. Maybe I need to get some counseling myself (again). I have so much on my plate already. I have three kids to raise, and I am in medical school at a late age. Maybe I don’t have the energy to work that hard at a relationship that is probably doomed anyway. I myself struggle with Depression also, so I need to take care of ‘myself’ first for my children’s sake. If it is going to take a virtual act of God to repair this relationship, then maybe I can’t do that….. I just don’t know.

I got out of a bad marriage because I couldn’t force my husband to stop drinking, stop withdrawing, and start communicating with me. Maybe I have a pattern here of trying to “save” men who don’t want to be saved.

On the other hand, I felt an almost spiritual connection with Geraldo from very early on. That was what kept me going back to try again, even after the first couple times he pulled away. But my children need me too, so I can’t afford to make myself into a basket case (again) over him.

I feel like I have this cartoon thing of the little devil on one shoulder (self-preservation), and the little angel on the other (he needs you). I go back and forth with it several times a week –sometimes several times a day. But I guess it still comes down to the fact that I can’t “make” him do “anything”. He has to want to do it for himself. Sometimes I feel like I am beating my head up against a wall –-- his wall.

_________________________
"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."

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#65990 - 05/07/03 10:13 AM Re: boundaries and minefields
doctorfrau Offline
Member

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...
Sorry, this is a bad day, and I'm not sure why ... so I keep on babbling.

I have used this analogy on him before....

It feels to me like he has locked himself inside a prison cell, and I can't free him... because the key is on "his" side of the door. I stand outside the cell and plead with him to open the bars and come outside with me, but he pretends not to hear. He doesn't want to come out, because it's "safer" inside the cell. Kind of like the character that James Whitmore played in "The Shawshank Redemption" - he had spent so much of his life imprisoned, that he couldn't handle life on the outside. I don't want Geraldo to have to spend his life like that, but he refuses to turn the key. I am left to decide whether to stand endlessly outside the bars waiting and pleading... or to walk away and live my own life.

What I end up doing in actuality is something in between. I feel like I talk thru the bars, wait around for awhile, get no response, and then leave. Then the next time visiting hours come around, I show up and slide a plate of cookies under the door. I wait around and get no response, so I leave again. I write a letter and slide it under the door. No response....

When I finish sewing this stuffed animal, it's going to be the same thing. I show up at his cell, slide it under the door and wait.

Every time I walk away with no response, it hurts more and more.

_________________________
"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."

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#65991 - 05/07/03 10:17 AM Re: boundaries and minefields
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
We should all be selfish to a degree and look after number one - ourselves.
We're no good to anyone else if we're in bits.

He knows you tried, he knows you care - even if it turn pear shaped.

Feel good about trying, and seeing where it went wrong.
Walk away from everything with something - even if it's the knowledge of what not to do next time.
That's your gain.

I posted that bit inbetween your last two posts -

You won't drag him out of that cell - nobody will, don't beat yourself up over that.
He does have the key. And when he feels right he'll open the door and have a look. Eventuall he might come right out.
When he told you about his abuse he was probably just seeing if the key fitted the lock.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#65992 - 05/07/03 01:26 PM Re: boundaries and minefields
Freedom Offline
Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 164
Loc: US
Doctorfrau,

It sounds like you have a full life to focus on and some past to figure out. You have many things to be proud of, and some things to adjust.

I understand SPs comments and appreciate his posts on this forum. At the same time, I cannot shake the feeling that he responds from his own perspective and as such makes good points. I have recognized parts of his de>
_________________________
Life is moving on. AM I?

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#65993 - 05/07/03 10:49 PM Re: boundaries and minefields
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
I wanted to reply because I think this issue is at the core of what many partners of survivors go through. When the survivor responds to the relationship based on their abuse issues, the partner is left with a very difficult boundary situation.

Yes, we can all agree in retrospect or through analysis what is appropriate and healthy and how to not take on someone else’s problems, but as was so clearly stated by Freedom, it is very difficult when the situation is constantly changing. So I would encourage you not to be too hard on yourself for not knowing how to deal with a difficult situation. We all have to learn from our experiences and try to become better in our interactions with one another, but it is not realistic to expect a partner to be perfect in terms of boundaries and appropriate behavior given the severity of the affects that SA has on relationships.

We are all affected by the emotions, and the desire to be involved or supportive can interfere with one's best judgment -- leading to co-dependence, boundary crossing, marching through minefields, etc.

In my own relationship, the focus on survivor issues takes precedence over my own process of growth within the relationship and my own emotional ups and downs. That is a difficult situation to deal with & it is hard to find a path where I can offer support and not get hit by the flying debris as my bf picks his life apart in the process of recovery.

I have had to learn through my own therapy, friends and support network that it isn't my job to work beyond my capacity just because his capacity is limited. It doesn't help him and it makes me tired, emotionally drained, unsupported and unfulfilled. I can offer support, a shoulder to lean on, food to eat, hospitality, kindness, affection and love. He doesn't always have those things to offer me, so I go on with my own life & that allows me to appreciate what he does offer, and the person that he is -- not the person he could be ("if only he understood that I love him, he'd...." Nope, it is HIS process and I cannot control it, direct it, or push it to have the outcome that I want).

This limits the type of relationship we can have & I mourn the hopes and dreams we had for our future together before he started remembering the abuse. I feel that I am also a victim of the history & it is upsetting and hurtful and difficult to accept. I want to work things out WITH him, he can't deal with it, so I find ways to meet my own needs outside of this relationship – Talking to friends about my own feelings instead of talking with him, relying on others to socialize with regularly because he is only able to socialize on a very limited basis, etc, etc, etc.

Your friend may not have the capacity or the desire to deal with the issues between you & that is his choice. Don't wait for his forgiveness to move on in your own healing. You can forgive yourself & you can learn to have better stronger healthier relationships. Try to understand that SA recovery can truly be a life-or-death situation. While you may be hurt to be shut out, it won’t kill you to leave it unresolved. He may or may not be struggling for his very existence. Don’t take it personally if he doesn’t want to talk to you. As Dave says, he knows you tried, but more importantly you know you tried. If you have more that you want to communicate, respect the distance he has created and find a way that he can control on his own terms, in his own time, if/when he is ready (I find letters or e-mail are good when I “have” to say something when my bf isn’t able to have a conversation)

Best wishes to you – it isn’t easy to let go.

BB.


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#65994 - 05/08/03 12:02 AM Re: boundaries and minefields
doctorfrau Offline
Member

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...
Quote:
Originally posted by stpbb:

We are all affected by the emotions, and the desire to be involved or supportive can interfere with one's best judgment -- leading to co-dependence, boundary crossing, marching through minefields, etc.

I can agree with this wholeheartedly \:\(


Quote:
it is HIS process and I cannot control it,

This is what I have such a struggle with -- I am the world's most impatient person


Quote:
I want to work things out WITH him, he can't deal with it, so I find ways to meet my own needs outside of this relationship

I guess I do need to just continue on with my life and if he ends up joining me - great, but if not, I still have a life.

Quote:
Don't wait for his forgiveness to move on in your own healing. You can forgive yourself & you can learn to have better stronger healthier relationships. ... While you may be hurt to be shut out, it won’t kill you to leave it unresolved.

Yep, this is another one of my faults - I hate loose ends and uncertainty - but you right. I need to learn to live with it.


If you have more that you want to communicate, respect the distance he has created and find a way that he can control on his own terms, in his own time, if/when he is ready (I find letters or e-mail are good when I “have” to say something when my bf isn’t able to have a conversation) [/QB]
You're right,BB, it's not. It's terribly hard, especially when I have never felt about a man like I did about him. He is/was a unique force in my life. But I hear exactly what you are saying. Thank you for your perspective on this - it is exactly what I was looking for and need to hear.

Kathy

_________________________
"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."

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#65995 - 05/08/03 05:56 PM Re: boundaries and minefields
Freedom Offline
Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 164
Loc: US
BB,

Well put on all counts. Thank you very much.

Kathy,

You have experienced at least part of the loneliness the CSA survivors try to deal with. Your impatience is understandable if you were in an adult relationship where your strengths and capabilities were discounted and not appreciated.

However, CSA survivor just coming to terms with SA seems to be a part-time child with behavior too much. This puts you in a position of being the adult in an adult-child relationship. BB is right, consistency is important.

Good luck to you. You seem to think there is something special about this man so don't close the door. Bt the same token please remember that you and your life matter as well.

Best wishes,
Freedom.

_________________________
Life is moving on. AM I?

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#65996 - 05/08/03 09:57 PM Re: boundaries and minefields
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Kathy, take a looooong breath. I know medical school well. Whether you are in pre-clinical or clinical you have an inhuman about of stress. Then, apparently, you are a single Mother of three kids--little or grown I don't know, I can't imagine a single parent with three young children making it in med school.

You seem to be saying that you are in need of being loved and wanted and important to a man. Pretty normal, we guys are all terrific!!!! Seriously, I encourage you to look for friendship yes, but with the demands on you now, you need to not use your energy on Geraldo. If there ever was something there, it will be there when you are in your residency.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#65997 - 05/09/03 12:24 AM Re: boundaries and minefields
doctorfrau Offline
Member

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...
Thank you for the advice. I think I have pretty much come to that same conclusion as well. I need to conserve my energies - just hate to feel like I am abandoning him. "Geraldo" was one of the major influences that culminated in me winding up in medical school at this juncture of my life. At least in the meantime, I am educating myself about survivor issues and learning alot from you-all.

I'm winding down 2nd year of pre-clinical. I have 2 more Pharmacology exams to get through next week, in order to pass the course, and then I take the "Step 1" of the licensing board exam in a month. I start clinicals in July. My kids are almost 15, 11 and 6....... Yes, I get stress in economy-sized bagfuls And to top it off - I turn 40 this summer \:D i'M jUsT Fine...( twitch, twitch )...REALLY... ( twitch twitch) \:D

Seriously though, I appreciate the frank advice from everyone and the opportunity to vent. \:\)

Regards,
Kathy

_________________________
"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."

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#65998 - 05/09/03 07:50 AM Re: boundaries and minefields
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Kathy
You have your hands full, that's a fact. So look after the important people first, you and your kids.

Good luck with the exams, and hey - 40's ok really. I was 40 once. :rolleyes:

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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