Life in recovery, Boundaries.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The fabulous Dr. E has asked that I focus on boundaries. I have come under fire at work for having "BAD boundaries" I counter that I have an open, rather than a closed system of boundaries. Ruminations on boundaries are below. Part of the exercise if figuring out how my :"open system" contributes to my addictions.

OPEN Boundaries. I share about my day, and you share about yours. I talk about what bothers me. I talk about what I am struggling with. I seek other’s opinions when I need to make up my mind about something. I process verbally and out loud. I am curious; I want to know what people are struggling with, what I can help with. Some open boundaries can look like gossip. I am a helper, if you have need, I try and fix. Open system parenting means I talk to me kids. Learned lately that my kids have not always answered honestly. Open system parenting means I trust them to do the right thing. Cynthia says I am too indulgent with my kids as a result of my open boundaries. My kid"s needs and wants come first, I put myself second. Open boundaries affects the budget. I want to spend freely, hate the constraints. Open boundaries means the chores never get done, without harassment. Open boundaries means that in college I lent my car out, then was pissed when my radio station was changed. An open boundary with food has meant that if it’s in the refrigerator, I eat it. My college roommate was forced to hide food from me. Sometimes work goes behind a 9-5 schedule, I adapt to whatever time the caregiver needs. I will work early mornings and or into the evenings. I put work scheduling first. I often say I have to work late instead of faith group. I never say no. I don’t compartmentalized. I see awful things at work, and come home and hug my kids. Work flows into my life. I see clients as "there by the Grace of God go me". I am not opposed to giving clients things that I have extra of. I can accept gifts, realizing that there is a cultural reason behind most gifts given to me as a social worker. I see situations as fluid. I try to be non-judgmental, accepting. I am open, vulnerable, and I get hurt. I never seen to learn that people will hurt me, and I do it again and again. I am trusting that people have my good interests at heart. I friend people on facebook, foster parents, ex=clients, friends, friends of my children.

How I see Closed boundaries.
I never share how my day was, my reflections are private and I don’t seek other’s input. My decisions are divisive and final. I don’t change my mind. My life is boxes, with family in one, work in one. Family isn’t invited into work. Work doesn’t flow over to family. I come in a 8, I leave at 5. I don’t share what’s going on with other people, I hold my plans to myself. I stick to a plan, even if it’s not working. I avoid social situations because they might be “clients” I am afraid of clients, I see them as below, or separate. I wont accept gifts, citing them as unethical to take gifts. I hide behind the NASW ethics code. I only pay attention to my cases, and I don’t care if they flow into someone’s cases, unless I can get something from them. I see a closed system as judgmental. You say it’s discerning. I assume the worst in people. I use a fake name on Facebook.
Balanced boundaries.
I would do better in recovery if I stuck to a meal plan, and was happy with it. I would do better in life if I could stick to a budget. I would fit in better at work if I didn’t need to share my day, hear about yours.

Ok, Sparkers... there it is, my therapy assignment. Please weigh in on the question about boundaries and addiction.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I really appreciate the insight and honesty you share here.

    I find the dichotomy between 'open' and 'closed' boundaries as you've described them for yourself, interesting. They are so oppositional. It seems that you more highly value 'open' boundaries... yet as you describe them, they aren't really 'boundaries' at all (they don't really contribute to healthy and balanced relationships with yourself, or others)... and 'closed' boundaries sound to me like a very unappealing prison... inflexible dictates that prevent you from being who you really are, and have nothing to do with creating the life you want.

    I'd like to suggest that, as you've described them, neither are really 'boundaries' at all.

    I wonder what it would look like if you actually had real boundaries... conditions on your life and relationships that reflected who you really are, and what you really want. A construct that facilitated you meeting your emotional/physical needs honestly and directly, instead of trying to play the odds, hoping that somewhere in there you will get what you need.

    Addictions can't flourish in an atmosphere of self-respect and a code of behaviour that fosters balance... in other words boundaries.


    P.S. Did you ever happen to see the TV program Joan of Arcadia? It's a show where God appears (in all sorts of shapes and sizes... never once the same 'person') to a teenager (Joan) and draws her closer to a faith and life that reflects who she is truly created to be. One of my favourite lines is when God is trying to soothe Joan's anger at the very real spiritual boundaries God has worked into the world: "Miracles happen within the lines."

    I don't think anyone can really grow or be happy unless they have really clear boundaries. You can't know who you really are, unless you know where you start/stop in relation to the rest of the world.


    1461 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/16/2015 5:35:17 PM
    Great analysis!
    1461 days ago
    This is very insightful and important to what I'm doing right now in my life - I need better boundaries too - we can do this!
    1461 days ago
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