Drawing boundaries...earning respect.

So if you are responsible for how people treat you...then how can you get them to treat you differently.
I had to learn how to draw boundaries.
The most difficult boundaries I had to learn to draw were with my husband.
He had a habit of being very blunt and sometimes just downright mean in how he spoke to me.
When he was in a mood I had learned to 'tip toe' around him and I would try to make things easier or smooth things over so he would get in a better mood.
At first I would try to be super cheerful.
Here is the funny thing.
He never cheered up till he had made me sad or angry.
So after I had my little revelation about how I was responsible for how people treat me,
I realized that by coddling him in his temper tantrums...trying to smooth things over, I was encouraging the very behavior I was hoping to put an end to.
He was trying to 'punish' me when he was in a bad mood..and I was ALLOWING it.
So...once I realized this I decided to no longer participate.
This was very scary for me...I have had a fear from childhood that I was unlovable, so actually learning to demand loving behavior was scary...but I learned to do it.
When he decided to be an ass... the bad mood would go something like this...
He couldn't find something...he would start tossing the house in his attempt to find something.;
I would run around like a maniac trying to help him find it.
On the day I decided to change...I was doing something..laundry I think.
He says..I can't find _______
I say "I'm sorry to hear that..I will help you look shortly"
He goes into house tossing mode.
I ask him to quit because He just makes a bigger mess for me to pick up.
He gets snide.
I leave.
I left the house.
I don't think he actually believed it.
I came back in a few hours.
I told him I wouldn't be talked to like that...and next time if he wanted help he would have to ask in a nice manner.
did that automatically fix everything

It takes consistency.
Do not allow anyone to talk to you in a snide or condescending matter.
Here is a good, concrete example.
My mother..
now I know you might have gotten a bad impression yesterday.
We have talked about it since and I don't think she meant to imply any such thing.
In fact I told her I felt that I was a burden and why (part of diggin out my chicken coup) and she was SHOCKED.
but I digress.
My mother expects a clean house.
We all know it.
No one would walk through her house with shoes on.
no one.
When she pulls into the drive way you should see people hop to...picking up any mess they have left lying about and straightening stuff....
in one particularly amusing episode, I watched my stepdad notice it was ten minutes till mom got home and he realized he had not unloaded the dishwasher.
he was out there, unloading it.
My mom has taught people what she expects.
We do it all the time, in every relationship we are in...we establish boundaries and then we test those boundaries.
Sometimes those boundaries take negotiation.
I am almost positive every married person has a boundary of 'no cheating'.
it's a line you don't cross unless you want some pretty serious consequences.
Well, the boundaries in my marriage up till 2006-2007 were almost all on my husband's side and when I started drawing some of my own....there was resistance.
But draw them, because when you do, your husband will respect you for it.
Don't allow him to talk to you in a way you wouldn't allow a store clerk or a friend.
Expect him to remember important dates and anniversaries.
Expect him to be comforting and loving.
And when his isn't...state your feelings calmly and be prepared to deliver consequences.
I once didn't make him dinner after he had talked to me in a condescending manner.
IF he hurts my feelings, I let it show and I tell him. I don't let him off the hook until he apologizes.
In one infamous instance, I allowed his gas on E to remain on E even when I knew because he had done it to me on a night when I had to pick up my oldest. I barely made it to the gas station. When I asked him why he didn't tell me, he said he forgot...when I asked if he was sorry he said no.
So when I happened to notice his on E...( I was forever filling up his tank) I just didn't say anything.
He nearly ran out of gas and I gave him the same response.
New attitude achieved.
If he is crappy with me when 'asking' me to do something I simply won't do it until the correct attitude is achieved. I am not his doormat.
The way I am treated, and the way I expect to be treated are 180 degrees different now. And this didn't start once I got skinny...this started three years ago.
If someone isn't willing to treat you well, and won't change...

I would suggest that perhaps they are unable to love anyone and it doesn't have a thing to do with you.
And you deserve better.
Now suppose it's your mother. You call her and she is running you down for some reason...maybe it's her standard operating procedure...something like "Oh dear, being forgetful is so like you...you never did have your head on straight."
You say, "Funny, I never forget things anymore...people who know me tell me that I am the most competent person they know."
If she keeps at it then tell her straight out "mom, next time you come at me with negativity I am hanging up."
Let her eat that one.
Love yourself.
Trust yourself.
draw lines in the sand that people don't want to cross unless they want to draw back a bloody nub.

I ate
three eggs 1 toast 310
1 bowl soup 320 cal.
1 banana 100 cal.
2 cups coffee 240 cal.
1 pita pizza 480 cal.
total calories 1450
today 3 mile walk
I will be doing a 3 mile walk tomorrow as well...
my right leg is a little gimpy so I am giving it a chance to rest.
have a great night guys,


MargieAnne said...

Thank-you for explaining making boundaries and keeping them so well.

We all need reminders.


Anonymous said...

and then some...excellent post

Robin said...

I read this, thought about my recent post ~ B IS BOUNDARIES AND BULLETS, and found myself doing a lot of nodding. It is so much easier to know where your boundaries are BEFORE you are smack dab in the middle of a "situation." Unfortunately, that is not how it happens a good bit of the time. It wasn't for me or you. My ex became my ex because he never could respect those boundaries. If someone can't show you basic human decency, you have to cut the cord. There is just no other choice. As you said, you have to decide that you have value and demand it from your partner. If you are giving it to them and getting nothing back... well, you are not in the right place. You can't change them. You can only change you. However, once you draw that line in the sand, you have to stick with it. You can't waiver. I posted a video in the HERE'S TO YOU THURSDAY mashup tonight that you will appreciate. It is from FELICITY. It is the main character drawing her line with Ben. She breaks up with him because in order to be in that relationship she has to compromise herself and be someone she isn't. As always, thanks for sharing your journey with us. ((hugs))

Dr. Fat To Fit said...

Wow. Just....wow! You are incredibly inspiring and the things you post about so real and true. We can all learn so much for you. I don't always comment, but I do always read. Thanks for another fabulous post.

Jane said...

Great post, Christine. It was a good lesson in setting boundaries. This is especially important for women. Thanks.

outdoor.mom said...

GOOD POST CHRIS! Sometimes I see us doing dysfunctional things, but we each usually come around in times :-) Its a good reminder tho. Being together since teens, we kind of developed our own "dysfunctional disagreements". I don't think either of us are bad, just still haven't grown up in some areas because we haven't made each other ;-) I will be working on that!! Thanks for the post.

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Seeing it broken down like this, I see how far gone I was. Thank God it's WAS...
For many of us it seems that things had to get to a pretty bad point before we decided there would be no more walking on egg shells, no more accepting less than, no more relying on others for how happy we might be.
I'm always thankful to those who saw the glimmer of what I could really be and acheive. For me, the major support was my husband. Who was it for you? (besides yourself, of course) You seem to have been inspired by different people, but who has been your biggest support?

Christine said...

my kids...but most particularly my 9 year old. She was with me painting my t shirts and rooting me on before my walks...that and God. My husband and others were good, but not really into it. My good friend amber was supportive and took my first picture for me. She witnessed my first weigh in. etc. So and then there were all the people on here who were great and supportive. The more I reached out, the more support I got.

Rettakat said...

Good stuff Chris! And it all starts with self-respect, and works out from there.

It took me a lot of years to have enough self-respect to draw boundaries, and not allow myself to be treated as "less than". Hopefully your excellent post will help someone get it faster than that. :-)


pinkvision said...

Great insightful post. Like always! I particularly like the 'bloody nub' reminder. Thanks for the guides to setting boundaries and keeping them. Good stuff. And something I will take with me to all my relationships, current & future. :)

Helen said...

I once had a therapist tell me, "YOU teach people how to treat you. That means everyone from family to coworkers." That revelation changed my life. This is simply a great post Chris!

Karen Butler Ogle said...

Good post. Boundaries are something I have an issue with. Especially with my mother.

Losing 100 said...

Interesting post. I found that I was treated differently by strangers when I lost weight. I wonder if that was because they saw me differently, or I saw myself differently and expected more.

Anonymous said...

My word, we could be the same person. My husband is much the same and I regularly have to fight with myself to keep from being bowled over by his foul moods. My mom? Very demanding. I've never found a way to draw the line with her because she always manages to make me feel our arguments are somehow my fault. You are a strong person and thank you so much for sharing.