“No” is a complete sentence.” ~Anne Lamott
I have so much I want to write. I have so much I want to say, yet lately, every time I put words down in word, I tend to hit the backspace bar and erase it all. This past week has not been easy, my concentration is limited, and while one minute I am doing the dishes, the next minute I am folding laundry. As my mind tries to focus on one thing while I put away the freshly laundered face-cloths, I am quickly reminded, by the smell of smoke coming from the kitchen, that I have a grilled cheese on the burner. Time to start over.
I am riding another wave of anxiety, and working on one of the most challenging parts of my journey towards wellness: setting boundaries, and releasing the past. Just when I thought I had the past behind me, un-peeling another layer of my inner onion let me know otherwise.. and YES it is tied to boundaries.
I found myself very upset with my son. Even having fits of anger every single time he stepped into my sacred space. Although both of us have discussed this past year about giving me my space (and others too), it is a challenge to set limits in this situation because you want him to get the right message. “I’m not saying I don’t want to be with you, I am saying there are times when I need to be alone, and 10 pm is a good time for you to be in your room.” I would explain. You see, I don’t have a bedroom, my bedroom is the living room a common area for the family. So, I told both children when we moved in, that 10pm the living room becomes my bedroom, and you must stay in your rooms, read, watch a movie, or on school nights, get some sleep!
But it is not always the case.
Going through this with my son, brought up the issues of past relationships. Right before my eyes, flashed 30 years of allowing other’s to disrespect me, scream at me, hurt me, call me names, abandon me, use me, manipulate me; in fact, when I looked even deeper, it hit HARD!! I mean really hard.. For all those years of my life, I was doing all this to MYSELF? No way!!
Realizing this didn’t stop how much I was regretful, hurting and sad. Becoming aware I was responsable for how other’s treated me all my life, was a challenge I was totally ready to take on. It ties so well with my self-love journey, and how I am willing to accept myself exactly the way I am now. Yet, this doesn’t change that these men had no right to treat me the way they did, and I did have some unresolved anger to deal with. Just the way I got angry at my son, was proof I needed to deal with this head on.
“The most important distinction anyone can ever make in their life is between who they are as an individual and their connection with others.”
― Anné Linden, Boundaries in Human Relationships: How to Be Separate and Connected
Away I go!
I called my therapist, and we discussed ways I could begin to heal my past relationships with men, in order to regain self-respect, and regain some clarity in what I want in a relationship later on. She mentioned writing letters to each person; thus, letting them know how I really feel, and how their words and actions have hurt me. She then suggested I burn them in pot to release all energy associated with these relationships. This, in itself, is an amazing exercise, I have done it many times in different situations; however, writing, last week, was too overwhelming, so I found a creative way to do it.
I took a piece of paper, and drew a circle. In the middle of the circle, I put my name with another circle around it (my sacred space). Then, I put the names of all the men who have hurt me or treated me in ways which I didn’t deserve. On each of their names I wrote the aspects I wanted to heal, and then I proceeded to put a crystal over their names (I put stars on the photo to hide the name for this post). On my name, I placed my selenite tower. This formed a unique crystal grid. I asked the Universe, the angels, and the crystals to work together with me to heal these relationships, and meditated on the intention sending love these past ties and allowing the cords to sever. Then I left the grid in front of the window to do its thing.
Magic Happens, even though it doesn’t always seem magical.
The next day, my kid’s father showed up unannounced, saying he was sorry, yet wanted to surprise the children. He spent most of the evening in my home, he even ordered us a pizza, but I felt torn between my own needs (feeling comfortable) and the needs of my children (to see their father). I felt the energy of the grid was working, allowing me to work out this relationship, but also giving me a chance to set boundaries.
I create what I a want to experience.
This visit allowed me to examine how I felt and what I needed to do. I needed to tell my ex that he could not show up without phoning, that I felt very uncomfortable, and the next time, he needed to take the children out. I also had to explain this to my daughter who felt torn between her loyalty towards her father and my needs.
What came up in me was ugly at first, I turned to my daughter and said the unthinkable: “I can’t wait until he leaves!!!” What? What did I just say to the daughter of the man in my bathroom? Holy crap! You should have seen her face! She was hurt, hurt by my words, and I have to make up for it.
Later that night, I sobbed in the arms of my son. Needless to say, going to bed, I didn’t feel like mother of the year.
When I finally was able to think about how I want to explain to my daughter what I really meant by not wanting him here is exactly this: “He is your father and you love him, I get that, however, he is my ex, and I feel very uncomfortable in the same room with him, I will do it, if planned once a month, however, when he is here, I do not like who I become, and do not want to put ourselves in that situation again when I may just blurt out things you really do not need to hear”.
I think she got it right then and there, although it doesn’t take away the hurt she feels.
Working on healing relationships with my exes is a beginning, setting boundaries with new people in my life, is getting easier.. yet, with my children, or people who are close to me, it is the most challenging thing I have ever done. Putting my needs before their own seems quite selfish, yet, in retrospect, it is a much healthier for all of us in the long run.
By telling my son I need my space at 10. I am saying yes to me, and yes to being a more calm and patient mother down the road. Explaining to my daughter, that her father is welcome when we plan it, and not just on a whim is letting her know that I value myself, and then again I value her, her feelings, her wishes. Lastly, telling others, friends, exes and strangers the truth, what I need, what I value, and what I wont put up with, is the biggest dose of self-love I can give to myself.
Limits are necessary, for everyone. Stating what we need, how it makes us feel, and being clear and concise makes a huge difference.
Having the right to “change my mind” when I need to and giving myself permission to say “no, I can’t, not today, I’m busy, I need my space, please don’t call after 10!” Is freedom…
That, in the end, speaks volumes!!
How do you set boundaries? Are you comfotable with the limits you have now? Tell me about it in the comment section below.