Back when I was first married – when dinosaurs roamed the earth – someone gave me this book. I think I picked it up for a moment and realized that my problem was not in setting boundaries, but rather in respecting others boundaries ::ducking::Â I put the book down and didn’t think about it again.
I was looking at my bookshelf the other day and decided that I might as well read this book so that I can paperbackswap it. I’m really glad that I picked it upÂ 🙂
There is a section early in the book where the author is speaking to a client of his who is talking about boundaries she “set on” her husband and said that he could not talk to her “that way” anymore. This is how the author responds
“What you have done is not boundaries at all,” I replied.
“What do you mean?”
“It was your feeble attempt at controlling your husband, and that never works.” I went on to explain that boundaries are not something you “set on” another person. Boundaries are about yourself.
My client could not say to her husband, “You can’t speak to me that way.” This demand is unenforceable. But she could say what she would or would not do if he spoke to her that way again. She could set a boundary “on herself.” She could say, “If you speak to me that way, I will walk out of the room.” This threat is totally enforceable because it has to do with her. She would be setting a boundary with the only person she could control: herself.
Hmm, yes. Perhaps I have not been setting boundaries quite as much as I thought I had been. I have told people that they may not speak to me disrespectfully, although I suppose that was just an attempt to control. I’m going to be pondering this for a few days.