Affairs PART 3 – Boundaries

“Fences” or clear boundaries allow us to focus on taking care of the good things growing in our own garden and allow others to do the same. Solid boundaries are a must for a committed relationship. When your partner is your best friend, the one you confide in first and foremost and the one you don’t have secrets from, your relationship has the appropriate boundaries.

That we experience an attraction to another person’s energy who is not our partner is normal. Or as Shirley Glass says, “being attracted means you’re still breathing”. We are usually drawn to an energy our partnership is missing, when we are attracted to somebody other than our partner. The choice of an affair partner appears to be based on how that person differs from the spouse. The attraction is not so much about the other person, but about the energy they embody.

If our marriage has been missing playfulness because the everyday problems have been weighing heavily on us, we might be attracted to somebody else who we are not carrying any responsibilities with, due to their playfulness. Or if we have felt not good enough in our marriage in one or more ways, another person who laughs at our jokes and seems to think we are the best thing since sliced bread is a huge temptation. If our partner hasn’t paid us any compliments in a long time and somebody else feels we are beautiful and smart, that is a strong attraction.

So what is it that enables some people to resist having an affair, while others slide into one? There is of course a complex dynamic of opportunities, vulnerabilities, unmet needs, and values at play. One important factor is whether clear boundaries with others exist. Couples who are dedicated to each other are as protective of their relationship as couples who’ve just fallen in love. They have built a safe couple bubble and they act in accordance with the rule that other people are third parties and that the partner always comes first. They see each other as best friends, primary confidants and are conscious of each others vulnerabilities and needs.

Often “outside observers will speculate unfairly and ignorantly that the betrayed wife must have been reluctant or inadequate in the bedroom… Just as uniformed gossip often blames inadequacies or weaknesses in the betrayed partner, women are more prone than men to blame themselves for their partner’s infidelity.” (Glass) Women have a tendency to think if they had been more loving, available, patient, sexy, slender and so on, the affair would never have happened.  Glass calls this the prevention myth. A loving partner or good marriage does not prevent affairs. The less aware a couple is of appropriate boundaries with others, the more likely it is that one partner will slip into an affair.

Couples who know how to safeguard their long-term relationship follow basic guidelines:

  1. They know that attraction to others is normal but that just because you feel it does not mean you need to act on it. Being attracted to someone else does not mean that you are with the wrong person, but it means that there is some energy or trait you are attracted to in the affair partner which needs to be brought into your long-term relationship. It is never easy to talk to your spouse about the attraction you are experiencing, but it is worth it. It can save your marriage and make it even stronger.
  2. They don’t allow themselves to fantasize what it would be like to be with that other person because affairs begin in the mind.
  3. They are conscious about not flirting. Even though “flirting” is usually considered harmless, it signals that you are available.
  4. They avoid risky situations, e.g. being alone with a potential affair partner.

In her book “Not ‘Just Friends’” Shirley Glass uses the symbols of walls and windows each relationship has. When you withhold information from your partner and keep secrets, you create walls, but if you open up to each other, the window between you allows you to know each other free of illusions and be truly intimate with each other. “In a committed relationship, a couple constructs a wall that shields them from any outside forces that have the power to split them. They look at the world outside their relationship through a shared window of openness and honesty. The couple is a unit, and they have a united front to deal with children, in-laws, and friends.” (Glass, “Not ‘Just Friends’”)

When a love affair happens, the unfaithful partner has built a wall to shut out the marriage partner and has opened a window to let the affair partner in. After the affair, the walls and windows must be reconstructed to be in line with the “safety code” every relationship house requires. A solid wall needs to be established to block out the affair partner and the window between the marriage partners needs to be installed and kept open. Appropriate walls are necessary to safeguard the relationship against further betrayal.

Further guidelines to follow to protect a relationship are:

  1. Not to discuss relationship problems with anyone who could be a potential alternative to your spouse. When you complain about your partner or listen to somebody else’s complains, you establish intimacy. That opens a window and begins to create a bond with the outsider that then often develops into an affair.
  2. Only discuss your relationship with a professional or a person who is a true friend of the marriage. A friend of the marriage is somebody who is not in competition with the marriage but reinforces the value of your committed relationship and being honest with your partner. ”Single people on the prowl or married people who openly complain about their current relationship are least likely to be friends of the marriage” (Glass). A meddling mother or father who is not able to see their own child in their true light is also not the right person to commiserate with. If you cannot be sure that the other person will encourage you to speak to your partner and work through things, do not talk to them.
  3. When one of you has a friend who wants to talk about personal problems, be careful about your boundaries. Include your partner in these conversations or helping gestures towards the friend. The moment you keep a secret, you have created a wall that shuts out your partner.

Click to read AFFAIRS PART 1 “Assumptions Versus Facts”  or AFFAIRS PART 2 “Lying and Gaslighting”.

 You can also read or listen to my three part article I Don’t Trust You

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

I know your time is valuable and I appreciate you reading my blog. If you are enjoying my articles, you can subscribe to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to enter your email address in the field in the left sidebar. Thank you for your support!

In a Relationship With a Narcissist – PART THREE Narcissists at Home and in Politics

Narcissists show up in our private life and on the stage of politics. It is a more and more common psychopathology. Under the ever-present public media scrutiny, people who enjoy having the spotlight brightly pointed at them are often narcissistic to one degree or another.

The Narcissist is self-absorbed, entitled, demeaning, demanding, unremorseful, unable to feel empathy, and prone to anger, rage, lies and manipulation. For narcissistic people, only black and white exists, no grey tones. As far as they are concerned, you are either on their side or against them. That perspective has the power to split families or entire nations. It is a huge test of and call for the power of true love and peace.

I was watching a video clip of a Trump supporter shouting angrily while walking through a crowd of protestors at the Women’s March. This group was walking for equality of all genders and races, tolerance and respect. Some people, despite walking for love and respect, started getting angry themselves and cursing him, while others were able to guide this angry man out of their midst to his own group of supporters, recognizing how dangerous it is when the fires of anger are being fueled by our own anger.

anger-1-letter-short

An interesting thing happens when the energetic vibration of anger hits a group of people. We all have some anger inside of us and when somebody comes into our field with that vibration, we often either get angry with them or at them. Anger is a primitive survival mechanism. If we feel threatened, we instinctively go into fight or flight mode. Our primitive brain responds faster than our more advanced and evolutionary younger part of our brain. The instinctive response is hard to control unless we have embraced our own anger and are generally vibrating at the higher level of love, joy and peace.

We all have the traits of a narcissist inside of us. For children it is normal to be self-centred and driven by their needs and feelings. Ideally we have learned by the time we grow up to postpone gratification and to be empathetic with others, yet we all at times lie, manipulate, are controlling, or get angry. If we are unaware of our own anger, or our own inner entitlement, or own inner liar and so on, we find ourselves judging this person and vibrating at the same frequency with them. We are being drawn into their anger and drama.

What do we do when we have a narcissist in our environment, whether in the family or in the government? What do you do when your narcissistic ex-husband is calling your new partner names in front of the kids, your narcissistic mother is using every opportunity to put your wife down, your narcissistic boyfriend is having rage attacks, your narcissistic president is making antagonistic, racist and discriminating remarks?

anger-phone

  1. Do not make excuses for him or her.

Inappropriate and destructive behaviour is inexcusable, no matter what the intentions or explanations are, or what other nice or positive things this person is saying or doing. That your ex-husband who is generally a good dad is feeling threatened, that your mother-in-law who says she wants the best is jealous, that your boyfriend who says he loves you is stressed, or that your president who was elected democratically has also promised good changes. All of those are explanations but never excuses.

 

  1. Do not allow him or her to pull you into the same energy of anger or fear.

Do not allow them to intimidate you or destroy your peace. Stand up to your ex-husband and tell him very calmly but strongly that his behaviour is inappropriate and will be recorded. Then go back to enjoying your new love. Tell your mother very clearly that you will not stand for any negative talk about your wife and that she is not welcome in your home until she stops talking that way. Then go back to enjoying every moment with your family. Let your boyfriend know that he has to get help in regards to his temper or you cannot be in the relationship. Then focus on what you deserve and need no matter what his choice is. Have a clear political opinion and if you are called to do so, speak or demonstrate it in some way. Then go back to focusing on what you are grateful for and in how many ways your life is full of tolerant and loving people.

for-every-minute

 

  1. Do not waste time trying to pacify or convince the narcissist.

Your ex-husband will most likely never admit he was out of line, your mother in law will most likely never sincerely apologize, your boyfriend will most likely not admit he has a problem until you are very clear about leaving, and your president will certainly not morph into a tolerant and respectful man.

 

  1. Do not get distracted by their tactics.

Narcissists are experts at creating triangles, splitting people, and blowing smoke, trying to hide what is truly going on. Your ex-husband might try to accuse you and your new partner of a whole list of things partially made up to distract from his inappropriate behaviour. Your mother in law might suddenly turn and tell you she is now convinced your wife loves you. Your boyfriend might enlist his mother to advocate for him and beg you not to leave him because he needs you.

Your narcissistic family member thrives on words or actions that are intended to shock you. Your ex-husband is trying to provoke your new partner with his shocking words, your mother might try to shock you by hinting at or revealing a secret she has found out about you or your wife, or your boyfriend might suddenly propose out of the blue. Last but not least, your government representatives might use shocking words or a shocking decision like a magician uses distraction, which is well planned out. The ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries is such a shock event, an event which is unexpected, confusing, aggressive, fear inducing and throws society into chaos.

Heather Richardson, professor of history at Boston College says: “Unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one’s interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won’t like… But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event.”

 

  1. Do your inner work so you can be in a loving peaceful heart-centred energy while you stand up.

We can then reorganize into a different pattern, respond differently than the narcissist had planned. The trouble with narcissistic behaviour is that we lose the game when we are playing by their rules. We lose the inner peace and love we are capable of holding. Stay as grounded with earth, aligned with spirit and centred in your heart as you can. Take an honest look at your own shadows and embrace them inside yourself. What we have accepted in us, we don’t need to fear in others anymore. Once you have befriended all energy inside of you, you have the choice to continue to co-create a loving peaceful world.

The outer action of standing up looks the same whether we come from fear and anger or from peace, inner strength and true authority. Because the inner energy is completely different when our mind and heart are in congruence, instead of being in judgement, we can have discernment. Instead of fighting against something we fear, we stand up for what we know to be the truth, being able to come from a loving place of power instead of aggression, destruction and revenge.

be-the-change

You can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

 

Relationship Coaching, Belief Change and Shadow Work

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

In a Relationship With a Narcissist – PART TWO: What Are My Options?

(Narcissists are male or female. Please note that I have mostly used the pronouns “he” and “she” interchangeably to avoid the awkward “he or she”)

I have never had as many private messages as I did after posting part one of this blog series. Several people approached me who had not considered until they read the article that they had a narcissist in their family or were dating a narcissist. They have been wondering why it is always about the other person; they were looking for reasons with themselves, trying harder and harder to keep the peace and make the narcissist happy.

The narcissist treats others in a demeaning way, attacks verbally and has little or no respect for other people’s feelings or boundaries. For the other family members watching this from the outside, it can be hard to understand why someone would choose to continue dating or being married to a narcissist.

Let’s examine the options you have when you are indeed in a relationship with a narcissist. If the narcissist is a danger to your or your children’s safety, find professional help and get out. If his or her behaviour is destructive and toxic, yet doesn’t fall under physical or sexual abuse, you have different options. Lots of the books on the topic of narcissism simply recommend to “run, run, run and don’t look back”. If the narcissist is a friend, I agree that it is perhaps time to re-evaluate the friendship and its benefits versus its drama and emotional stress and let go of a narcissistic friend. However, in other cases, this advice might not be realistic or not that easy to follow. What if the narcissist is your boss and you don’t want to quit your job? Or the narcissist is one of your in-laws, or your own daughter or son, or your spouse, and you are not ready to divorce that partner or break the ties with that family member?

Don’t get me wrong; even in those cases you always have the option of “no contact” if the situation becomes too toxic. It might be worth finding a new job or not having any contact with the narcissistic family member. If you choose to go the “no contact” route with a family member, be prepared for a battle. Narcissists hate nothing more than to be ignored. They are energy vampires. They thrive on intimidating, controlling and manipulating others. Not to get a response out of others is the worst thing for them. They are afraid to be “invisible”. They don’t care when they hurt others, they care only about their narcissistic supply and any response from others will do.

No contact cropped

Once you decide to go “no contact”, the hoovering begins: the narcissist will try to charm, manipulate or bully his way back into your life. Why do we fall for narcissists in the first place? Because they are very good at this strategic game of manipulation and they convince us that they are “not bad people” after all, just victims of the circumstances. If you are choosing the route to cut all ties, you need to be strong and consistent. The no contact option is a marathon, not a sprint.

Narcissists are often very charming and charismatic—until their mask slips for the first time and reveal their immaturity. A narcissistic personality can make you feel like you are the chosen one and that you must be special. “In return, you’re expected to hold the spotlight steadily upon him, nod affirmatively during his orations, laugh on cue, never appear to be bored, applaud loudly and frequently, and never, ever expect to join him on the stage” (Behary, Disarming the Narcissist).

Narcissists constantly project unwanted parts of themselves onto other people. You will be accused of being controlling, manipulative, selfish, arrogant, entitled, hurtful, untruthful, angry, distrustful, opinionated, unempathatic and so on. The mirror principle is at play. The narcissist points one finger at you while being completely unaware that three fingers point back at him. And unlike the narcissist, you might be more self-critical and wonder whether he is partially right. Remember that this is all part of the smoke tactic to distract from his insecurities and issues. Projection is the name of the game.

You do not need the narcissist to agree that she is projecting. You need to understand how shadows operate and how your buttons are being pushed. “It needs to be enough for you to know that you have put the projections back where they belong in your own mind, regardless of how the Narcissist sees the situation” (Sandy Hotchkiss, Why is it Always About You?) Do not get into a right and wrong discussion. Do not invest any energy in wanting the narcissist to understand and admit her issues. You do not need anything from her; you just need to be clear in your own mind who you are and that you love and accept yourself the way you are.

arguing with a narcisist

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be addictive, confusing and utterly devastating, especially when we expect the narcissist to think and act like most people. We have to remember that due to their childhood experiences they have a personality disorder. They do not have the same perception and do not play by the same rules as most adults.

The diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association defines a personality disorder as a pattern which manifests in two or more of the following areas:

  1. Ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people, and events.
  2. Range, intensity, lability, and appropriateness of emotional response.
  3. Interpersonal functioning.
  4. Impulse control.

The narcissist sees the world differently than other people. Empathy comes with maturity, except in the case of a personality disorder like NPD. To the narcissist, other people are there to supply their needs. Their idea of fair is that they get what they want when they want it. It completely escapes them that other people have the right to say “no” or deny them something.

Their emotional responses of anger are unpredictable, intense and completely out of proportion. These responses resemble the temper tantrums of a two year old. After the narcissistic rage follows a period of the narcissist pretending nothing ever happened. The narcissist does not apologize or take responsibility. They almost make us doubt that something inappropriate occurred. They explain and defend. Their immature explosion of rage is always due to other people or circumstances. They see themselves as victims of fate and of other people.

If you decide to go with “minimal contact”—or “contact” in the case of actually living with a narcissist—you need to learn how your own childhood issues tie in with the narcissist’s issues and how to navigate the relationship. A good book which describes our childhood schemes and how they are related to attracting a narcissistic partner is “Disarming the Narcissist” by Wendy T. Behary.

In order to change the interactions with the narcissist in your life, it is extremely helpful to examine and change the beliefs you have learned about yourself and other people, for example, do you truly subconsciously believe you deserve respect and boundaries? What other limiting beliefs have you learned which hold you back from refusing unhealthy interactions with the narcissist?

Shadows also play a big role in the relationships with a narcissist. Have you for example disowned your own anger or sense of entitlement to a point where you are not able to be assertive and stand up for yourself and advocate for your rights and needs? What if you were able to respond differently to the aggression the narcissist has no trouble stepping into?

When we feel threatened, our survival instincts are triggered and the fight, flight or freeze response sets in. That is what the narcissist counts on. The narcissistic energy vampire thrives on aggression and intimidation. In order to have an effective communication you need to work on modifying your own instinctive responses.

If you typical response is to fight back, curb that impulse. Instead, calmly stand up for yourself without counter attacking. If your usual response is avoidance (flight), give yourself the gift of a “time-out” and distance from the upsetting exchange but remember that in order to resolve a conflict, you need to eventually return. If you tend to freeze or surrender, remember that the situation is not helped by taking all the blame. A bully cannot be pacified by submission; it only causes more abuse.

The narcissist typically is a show-off, a bully or the “entitled one”. Of the three, the show-off is easiest to deal with. He feels not good enough and therefore tries to dazzle and impress with his achievements or possessions. Focus on affirming his moments of thoughtful kindness instead of the outstanding accomplishments he wants you to admire. Let him know that you interested in him, not in what he does or has.

The bully has a great mistrust of people and their motives. She is afraid that others will try to control her, make a fool out of her, or take advantage of her in some way. She fears that nobody truly cares about her. Her unacceptable behaviour stems from a deep sense of shame and inadequacy. Her protective mechanism is to criticize and control others. When others feel small and powerless, she feels strong and secure. Whether the other person responds with anger (fight) or with fear (flight, freeze), she wins. The only place to defeat a bully is to stay in contact with the advanced part of your brain that is able to think clearly and rationally. Respond from that rational part.

NPD Lucy

When dealing with the entitled one, remember that he makes up his own set of rules and feels he should be able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He takes but seldom gives. He has issues being on the receiving end of the word “no”. He has no interest in understanding the other person’s opinions, feelings, needs or boundaries. Calmly hold him accountable and consistently set and re-set those limits and boundaries.

Behay points out that in order to shift the relationship with the narcissist, “you need more than an intellectual literacy in his issues and life story; you also need an emotional literacy in his inner world. In other words, you need to feel what his experience of the world is like.” (Disarming the Narcissist) This is what is known as empathy.

“Empathy is a capacity to truly understand the experience of another, emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically. It doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree with, condone, or support the other person’s feelings and behaviour, simply that you understand it in a ‘felt” way.” (Disarming the Narcissist)

Having empathy does not mean you continue to allow the narcissist to bully you and others, but that you understand that a key aspect of narcissism is attempting to feel visible and that—like with young children—it is better to receive negative attention than no attention. Empathy allows you to stand your ground without taking things personally and to hold the narcissist accountable for her own actions, without anger, defensiveness or submissiveness.

For the narcissist to learn empathy himself, professional help from an expert in the field of NPD is necessary. Unfortunately, the narcissist does not see that he needs to change. Unless he is afraid to lose something of importance, like the relationship, he rarely agrees to therapy.

Independent of the lack of empathy of the narcissist, you can still be empathetic—while making sure your own needs are met. When the narcissist flips into one of his or her narcisstic rages, superimpose the image of him or her as a lonely and unloved little child over the grown-up in front of you. Being able to see his deep shame, loneliness and emotional emptiness will help you to respond calmly when you do not allow him to get away with being hurtful, condescending, selfish, controlling and destructive.

In your communications with the narcissist, make sure you differentiate between fault and responsibility. Fault and blame put us in a place of defensiveness. Make sure nobody is to blame but everybody is responsible for the effects or consequences of their words and behaviour. Respons-ibility is the ability to respond and create different outcomes.

Blame vs Responsibility

Always be aware of and set limits and boundaries in the relationship with the narcissist. In order to do that you need to, be very clear in your own mind about what you are willing to accept and what is unacceptable and needs to change. Provide positive feedback when the narcissist is behaving in a more mature way. And last but not least, lovingly speak your truth. In order for the narcissist to feel connected in relationships, she must learn what she never learned as a child, that she is lovable for who she is.

 NPD Lucy 2

You can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Relationship Coaching, Belief Changes and Shadow Work

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

A Strong Position of Self-Respect

Mary-Ann and Paul are retired and live close to their only son who has three boys under the age of eight. They love to babysit but find that there are expected to drop everything at short notice when her son and daughter-in-law want to go out. “As if they think, we have no life of our own”, Mary-Ann says. She is growing more resentful about this. Lately, she has made some snippy remarks to Grace, her daughter-in-law, hoping she will “get it” but the pattern remains the same. Her resentment and feeling of not being appreciated is beginning to cloud the babysitting and the relationship with her children.

Unless we set clear boundaries in a loving and consistent way, we cannot expect that other people will automatically treat us and our needs with respect. Grace cannot mind-read what Mary-Ann and Paul need. The grandparents have always made themselves available last minute. Mary-Ann will have to say something like, “If you want us to babysit this weekend, please let us know by Wednesday”. Being informed three days prior is her personal boundary. If her daughter-in-law ignores that request, Mary-Ann is free to make other plans and will need to lovingly say “I am sorry, we made other plans because we did not know you needed our help.” She will also need to extend an invitation to interact within her boundaries. “If you want to go out next weekend, we are happy to babysit as long as you let us know by Wednesday.” No apology,  further explanation or justification of that boundary is needed.

Mary-Ann is afraid that if she sets boundaries and says “no”, her son will be upset and her daughter-in-law will find another babysitter. In order to have her needs respected, she will need to be okay with the fact that another babysitter might be called. She will need to trust that she and her husband are valued and appreciated as grandparents and sitters; valued enough for her children to be willing to plan ahead. She will also need to be okay with displeasing her son. Boundaries are not meant to make others happy. Their purpose is a strong position of self-respect which in turn leads to mutual respect.

Setting boundaries is necessary and beneficial at any age. Sometimes the older generation does not hear or respect the needs of the younger generation without clear boundaries. Caroline and Mario have been married for seven years. Their children are 5 and 3 ½ years old. Caroline lost her parents when she was young. When she married Mario, she was excited to become part of a big Italian family.

What she hadn’t bargained on was the dysfunctionality of her new extended family. Despite her in-laws being generally warm and welcoming, there were, from the first moment on, also a lack of boundaries and a continuous level of disrespect for the individual needs of the family members. Everybody shared every private detail about the other family members with each other. Mario grew up used to discussing his decisions with his parents and brothers. They had an opinion about everything.

Mario’s mother is the matriarch of the household and “what she says goes”. She uses manipulation and emotional outbursts to keep everybody in line. Her habit of meddling, prying, and giving unasked advice is being tactless and crossing personal boundaries between adults. Yelling at others and threatening or guilting them into doing something they have decided not to do, are also disrespectful interactions and crosses boundaries. The father is usually quiet but when he has had too much to drink he becomes inappropriate or angry. He then acts very similar to the mother.

Different family members have learned dysfunctional ways of getting around the parent’s dictatorial ways. One of Mario’s sisters is always the poor victim in one way or another; one of Mario’s brothers lies and secretly meets his own needs to avoid arguments and angry outbursts. Those are all understandable choices to walk the path of least resistance. However, nobody can ever take away your self-respect and integrity unless you make the choice to give it to them.

Self Respect 1 Ghandi quote

Caroline and Mario have decided that they want to walk a path of honesty and greater self-respect than his siblings. That required that they set different boundaries with his family together. Mario and Caroline asked to receive a phone call before his parents would just pop over for an unannounced visit. They asked to have alone time on weeknights after they both had an exhausting day at work. They asked to spend part of each holiday with their children alone before going over to the parents’. They are discussing their matters first, making their own decisions before sharing with the extended family. They have learned that they do not need to share every decision with them.

Caroline and Mario have also learned to recognize triangles within the family which are set up to control all the family members. Whenever the mother felt she might not get her will, she would complain to one of the other siblings, who then in turn would take on the role of making the mother happy and get involved by approaching Mario. Mario had to learn to refuse these unhealthy interactions, whether he happened to be the son “fallen out of grace” or the favourite one at any given time. A healthy communication is a direct communication between the people involved. Triangles serve the purpose of pressuring a person into submission and are not a respectful way of interacting.

Initially, setting boundaries was interpreted by Mario’s parents as rejection. Fear came up for them that they would lose Mario’s love. But a surprising thing happened. Mario’s—and in extension Caroline’s—love for the parents grew once they stopped making their decisions based on making the parents happy but based on everybody’s needs, including their own. Instead of out of fear of repercussions, they spend time with Mario’s family out of desire and true love.

Boundaries are not meant to control other people. They are meant to help meet our needs and to respect each other. Boundaries always have two parts. Part one is setting or re-setting the boundaries, part two is extending an invitation to interact within the boundaries. Mario and Caroline had to lovingly re-set the same boundaries several times until the parents accepted them. They had to walk out a few times when emotions tipped over and one or both parents started to yell them down.

Self-Respect 2 Jim DeMaio quote

Each time, they walked out with an invitation to connect the next day, or when a calm, sober and loving talk would be possible. Letting somebody abuse us is hurting them as much as it is hurting us. Underneath the person’s anger is a feeling of helplessness and fear. The disrespectful behaviour comes from the fear of being unloved and rejected. Exercising control through threats, guilt and shame, gives the person the illusion of power and of being respected. They confuse fear with love and respect. True love and respect comes from an interaction which considers everybody’s needs and desires.

A strong position of self-respect opens us up to self-love and loving others, instead of fearing them. Guilt and shame keep people at a low vibration of fear and prevent true love. Mario realized that fearing his parents was not loving them. Instead of feeling ashamed or guilty like he used to so many times when he grew up, he now feels he can pour all his love into his own small family and into his parents. In order for the old dynamic of power and control to change, he had to repeatedly refuse being cast as the “bad, guilty boy” who had done something wrong.

Self-Respect 3

Mature love is strong. It is aware of the dysfunctionality that exists in most families in some way or another, and it is patient and consistent despite the choices others make. Setting boundaries and inviting others to interact within those boundaries helps to get out of and stay out of dysfunction and disrespectful interactions.

 

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca