Respecting others’ boundaries 

Lesson 40 of Recovery Nation is about identifying the boundaries of others and learning how to respect the. I think that’s the assignment.

I. Choose someone in your life that you feel close to. A spouse. A child. A parent. A friend. Rather than assuming what boundaries they have; or what values they want protected…take some time to step into their lives. Refresh those perceptions that you have. Consider how you can HELP THEM reinforce those boundaries. Post a few thoughts about this in your thread.

This first step seems to have two parts: identify someone else’s boundaries, and then figure out ways to help that person enforce those boundaries. Well, let me use my wife, TL, as the subject here. Without just walking over and asking her, can I list what I understand to be her boundaries? Here’s my attempt:

No dishonesty 

No failure to communicate 

No broken commitments 

No focus on sex; friendship has priority 

No failure to defend her from others (mother-in-law, etc.)

No choosing work, fitness, or anything else before the relationship 

There may be others, but the aforementioned are the ones I know for sure. Now, how can I help her enforce those? Here are my ideas:

No dishonesty: give her complete access to all my things, phones, computers, and communications; communicate frequently about my whereabouts and activities 

No failure to communicate: speak and write many times each day 

No broken commitments: try not to make commitments, write down and plan toward commitments once I make them 

No focus on sex; friendship has priority: talk to her frequently, each day; watch for opportunities to be helpful 

No failure to defend her from others (mother-in-law, etc.): be on alert when my mother or other hurtful people are around 

No choosing work, fitness, or anything else before the relationship: be on alert for opportunities to flex out of my routines or plans to be attentive to her

II. Consider what you could do should YOU become aware that you have violated a boundary of theirs.

This is a tough question. I’m not sure I know the answer. I suppose the clearest thing I could aim to do is to correct my mistake or oversight, right away.

III. Consider your reaction should they tell you that you have violated a boundary of theirs. Think beyond defensiveness…keep working until you grasp a healthy reaction.

 
When this happens, I am apologetic and regretful. I’d like to figure out a more helpful reaction, and I welcome suggestions.

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