One thing I did not consider, however, is the way my relationships would change because I have begun this journey. During therapy, my own family dysfunction has glared at me, and I have learned how to stare it down…and, believe it or not, I feel like I am winning.
…At least, in that office, in my safe space, I feel like I am winning. Sometimes, in the “real” world, faced with people who I care about on different levels, the dysfunction and the boundaries that I need to create are harder to distinguish.
The good news is that dysfunction is glaringly obvious to me now–the difficulty lies in how I react to it. Boundaries are not an easy thing for me–this I know! I am getting better, learning to be more assertive. What I am having trouble doing is managing my frustration and, at times, my anger.
You see, as I am getting better, I am also developing new standards for myself. New standards that are related to my own self-care and self acknowledgment. The frustrating part is that the other people, who have always been in my life and who have always contributed to my dysfunction (generally in my lack of boundaries, need to please to feel loved, etc.), are not changing. They are not getting better and their behavior is not evolving with my own. When they hurt me with words or actions, I get angry. I no longer want to be treated this way, or want to allow it to continue.
It is a difficult place that I find myself in. There are times where I think life would be so much easier if I could move away from these people and be free of them…yet, this is not a real possibility. 🙂 So, instead, I must learn how to live with them as the new “me.”
I am treating myself better–and I am starting to demand that others do, too. Does this seem selfish? I used to think so…but, no. It is a requirement that we should all have.
I suppose if the people who are making my life harder, who are frustrating me and making me cry, cannot learn to treat me better when I state, outright, that they are hurting me, I need to realize that it is their problem, their reaction.
It is frustrating because I want them to love me and I want them to stop. However, I am limited to my own actions and feelings. I cannot make someone be nice. No matter how many phone calls, birthday presents, or thoughtful notes I leave, it will not cause change. That is hard.
But I must accept it.