A “Scared Straight” List I Hope Will Create Some Change

In another article I described an unpleasant scene too many of us have been a part of. The “bitch sessions” of women who are angry at men. Or men who are angry at women. Or young adults whining about their parents. Or a wife complaining about her husband. Each and every one of these complaints comes when a personal boundary is crossed. The crossing of that boundary falls under your responsibility.

It is so much easier to whine, complain, and bitch.

The reality is when your boundaries are crossed, you get upset. You feel violated. You feel not appreciated. You feel less than a person. Some of you in response turn into the victim. Sometimes you dramatically want to play the victim. Sometimes you don’t even realize you are playing the victim. Lots of blame is cast about in these “bitch sessions” yet it is quite likely that this person being bitched about doesn’t even know he/she has crossed a boundary with you. You would rather bitch and stay in this relationship where you don’t know where you start and where you end than do the uncomfortable thing—and grown up thing—to make and keep your own boundaries.

It is so much easier to whine, complain, and bitch. But stop. This is not attractive.

Besides bitchiness, here are other symptoms that may happen when you fail to make boundaries and keep your boundaries:

Passive-aggressive behavior
Identity confusion
Difficulties with being alone
Victim mentality
Overresponsibility and guilt
Feelings of obligation
Feelings of being let down
Extreme dependency
Disorganization and lack of direction
Substance abuse and eating disorders
Generalized anxiety
Obsessive-compulsive behavior

That looks like a list of good dating qualities. Not! Everything on that list you want to run away from in a date. Everything on that list is what you don’t want to be. How do you not become that? You make your own boundaries and then live by them. (To learn more about this list, read Changes that Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud.)

If you don’t do the work to uphold your boundaries, someone’s boundaries will encroach on you. Then you will find unhealthy ways to cope—and it is not pretty. It is these non-desirable traits.  Re-read that list and let it scare you straight.

Don’t let that be you.  Which would you rather date:

Difficulties with being alone or compassion
Passive-aggressive behavior or compassion

You easily see which one is more attractive.  Which means you need to do the hard work to make and keep your own boundaries. You need to pray and do the work and have the conversations. The reward for being a boundaried person? Compassion—and that is a desirable trait to attract a good match. Compassion which allows you to make generous assumptions about people and still keep your vulnerability safe (an oxymoron yet not).

You can be that compassionate and thus attractive person. This is on you. Do the work to make and keep your own boundaries.

If the negativity of this blog post doesn’t inspire you to do the work, I don’t know what will. Please do the work. Don’t be anything on that list.

You may need to make an ending now that you have been “scared straight.”  Be brave.  You can do this.  This will help.  How to End a Relationship Well, Part 1.

(Photo credit:  http://commoncore.hku.hk/cchu9054/)


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