Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Faxon yucca in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

I'm reading this book "Boundaries" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend that my pastor recommended to me and it's really about codependency in a Christian vocabulary. I learned about codependency back in 2000 when I first went into marriage counseling and started figuring out all the craziness of my childhood and how it had affected me. I have grown in many of those areas, but many still remain of course. The book has some interesting new insights though.

All these books talk about setting boundaries, when to say yes, when to say no etc, but the thing that no one ever talks about (and maybe it will in this book - I'm not that far into it) is that the people who grew up being able to push over people's boundaries (their parents did not set good limits probably) do not like being told no. These are often people in charge, in power. And when you set your limits, they react. The hardest part for me is knowing how to set the limits in a way that is respectful. In most situations I've been in, when I set a boundary, it does not move to a more respectful place. In business I have found you pretty much have to do what they want if you want to work for them. I mean there is some room for polite negotiation, to be sure. And the good thing: you can choose who you work for.

One of my favorite quotes I've heard is paraphrased that you have in your life exactly what you put up with. It's very, very true. The key is figuring out how to create your life and relationships around you to be positive and healthy without just pissing everybody off. We either give in too much and resent it, or speak up too much and make people mad. Where is the in-between?? I guess that depends on having relationships and friendships with mature people who care enough to listen, respect, and even dare to disagree! To say what they feel and think! I tend to assume everyone thinks like this, so I speak my mind more than I probably should, and I'm learning it is not always the best idea. However I am blessed to be able to have friends that are like this.


Miranda said...

This is an ever present struggle. Being able to set boundaries professionally is one reason I am self employed! But it's still dicey.

One thing I have learned -- I observed this particularly in my personal life -- is if you DON'T speak up or at least try to be candidate about an issue that's sticking in your craw, there is the danger that the sublimation will come out in other ways. I'm talkin' about being passive aggressive. Looking back I now see I have been passive aggressive many, many times and it causes more problems than a confrontation ever would have. It happens on an unconscious level, too, so it can be hard to control.

I'm now committed to being more open and honest in all my dealings. But people have a hard time with bluntless because it's not our social norm. However it also feels liberating to be living in truth.

Anonymous said...

My counselor just recommended this book and I am going to start reading it this week. Thanks for your comments about struggles. I look forward to getting into the book and dealing with my own recovery.