Friday, February 22, 2013

Boundaries are for suckers. Oh, wait...

The word "boundary" feels like a bad word to me. Feels like something to trap me in.  I feel like I should be able to say what I want, to who I want, about what I want. I cross personal boundaries often. I get too personal, I ask too many questions, I try to fix, manage and control. I like to get into your business.

I am working on these things, when I remember, as they pop up. But sometimes it's too late.

Take my kids for instance. I really struggle with letting them deal with their own shit, without getting involved. I wouldn't consider myself a helicopter mom, but maybe I have hovered too closely around certain things.

My daughter and her peer issues that she had in the past 6 months have REALLY tested my ability to use healthy boundaries. I've gotten into slightly heated discussions with 14 year-old girls, and I've gotten into it with some of their parents. Trying to get my point across, and freaking out internally (and slightly externally) when I couldn't. Because I am certain I can cross the line, go over there, and fix stuff.

I would blame it on having the "mama bear" in me take over, but really, I just crossed lines that people shouldn't cross, because I felt like it was my place to do so.

Did it help anything? Not really helpful. Did it feel good? Oh my god it was agonizing. Will I do it again? Son of a bitch, do I have to change everything?

My sponsor pointed out some brilliant shit to me the other day. Many parents would fight to the death for their kids to protect them. And we think we can fix everything. I lost my mom and that protected/protector relationship at 16. I had no one to help me through anything. No one helped me deal with the death of her. No one helped me with my friend drama, not my boy problems, nothing.

This isn't a pity party, but I was completely out of control of all things inside, and outside when I was my daughter's age. I had no one to guide me.  And I didn't know how to make that feel okay. I didn't know that things would ever be okay. So I am trying to make sure my kids have help. That they aren't alone. I try to control the outcome to spare them the horrific pain that growing up causes. And that isn't something that is always good for any of us.

My sponsor is a genius right? You'd all be so lucky to have her. But that would take away from my time, so find your own.

I cannot protect my kids from everything, because they won't learn their own coping skills. (Well, they have learned to cope with me and my freak attacks, which really, if you think about it, is a gift that I continue to give them.)

Of course, this is Alanon shit. And I AM listening to people. But applying it is where I trip. It feels right to rescue. But I rob them of the opportunity to learn how to survive.

For the record, my daughter has dealt with this past six months better than I would have ever possibly handled it at her age. And things have worked out pretty well. I didn't need to stick my nose in any (much) of it really. My kids have a lot to teach me.  They are some of the most well adjusted folks living in this house.

Somewhere there is a line where I let them know that I'm here for whatever they need me for. And there is a line where I block their way. Those lines are hard for me to see. Because love and my instinct to protect, makes them blurry.


  1. Love it! The toughest stuff really teaches us the most (if we let it), huh? I gotta say, I love boundaries, LOVE them. I read a book that used a metaphor about how horses need fences. Otherwise if they're spooked they'll run and run til theirs hearts give out. Sounds eerily like my behavior - when I get scared I'll keep going and going without knowing when to stop. I need boundaries to keep me from going too far. I don't even know if that's true about horses, I just like the metaphor :) Have a beautiful day!

  2. Its totally natural instinct to want to protect your babies from any harm or pain. I admit you have to have boundaries not to do everything for them but its ok for them to know you're there if they need you.
    Have a great weekend my friend!

  3. This is about raising children as much as it is about boundaries. It is the toughest job we will ever do! I like to say "we are all just doing the best we can". I think you're doing a fine job. We all have moments that are not our finest, when we cross boundaries that we shouldn't. Im so impressed with all you've accomplished. Don't be too hard on yourself!