An Uncapped Pen

June 25, 2008

Boundaries

Filed under: About Me — cindylv @ 4:02 pm
Tags: ,

I rarely see them until they are crossed. And I’m looking at the back side of one right now. A guy I work with is in a lot of pain with a bad back. Since I’ve suffered from disc problems for over 20 years, I feel like I know exactly what he needs to be doing. And that doesn’t include gimping around the office, wincing and complaining. And he doesn’t need to be surfing the net for miracle cures. He needs to pick up the phone and call the doctor, or see a chiropractor. He needs to lose some weight (don’t we all?), and he needs to stop resisting my explicit instructions on how to fix this problem and all the other problems in his life. See? I’m on the wrong side — again.

Maybe I’m bi-polar. Not in the usual way (manic-depressive, need medication sort of way). I swing from extremes of “Where am I? Where am I going? Why am I here? What should I be doing with my life?” to the opposite “If you’ll all just line up and follow me, quit complaining and listen to me, don’t stray from this clearly defined path I’m illuminating for you, we’ll all be just fine, keep up, no dawdling.” I don’t seem to have a lot of middle ground between those two extremes.

On the other side of the coin, I have a hard time recognizing my own boundaries until they are trampled. I open up and am happy to let others in to help, to advise, to rearrange, to tidy up, meddle, etc., then I snap and growl, “Get out! Who do you think you are, messing with my stuff? Grrrrrr……” Maybe I should have a sign like when you’re on the interstate, “Goodbye Illinois. Hello Indiana!” Or a warning label, “Caution: Contents under pressure. May explode unexpectedly.” Or Warning: May cause nausea or drowsiness. Do not operate machinery under the influence.”

Honestly, I don’t mean any harm. I love to help people. I’ll help to you death, if you’ll let me. That’s the problem.  Maybe it’s a “transmission” problem. My mouth spins freely without traction and my brain can’t seem to engage.

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4 Comments »

  1. Yep, the guys picked up that vibe from you, right off. lol

    We love you anyway, girlfriend. :-)

    Comment by angel — June 25, 2008 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  2. Which vibe is that? The lack of traction? The bi-polarity? Or the uber-helpfulness? Thanks for the love! I need all I can get!

    Comment by cindylv — June 25, 2008 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

  3. I know exactly what you mean about seeing someone struggling with an issue and clearly being able to see what they ought to do. Over the years, I’ve learned to temper my advice giving because often the people who are complaining or who need the help, really don’t want it. Scott has a friend who is constantly trying new diets and exercise programs. She and Scott have been friends for a decade and she comes to him for advice on these things when she gets going on a new kick because when Scott was 17 he lost 100 pounds and so he has spent his whole adult life keeping the weight off, etc. I completely ignore their conversations and now and then I ask Scott why he even bothers to try to help her. It’s clear to me that by now, she knows all the answers and if she really wanted to take weight off and keep it off, she’d do it and stop looking for miracle pills, diets and programs. He’s a more patient man than I am! My sister periodically goes into meltdowns where she feels terribly sorry for herself and muddles around in the past and blames all her problems on other people. She calls me then for advice and I dispense answers and thoughts based on her direct questions, but I’ve learned that she will agree with me and nod her head, but the bottom line is that when she’s made up her mind to be miserable, she’s just going to stay that way until she’s decided to cut the crap. I’ve definitely put up boundaries where my uber-helpfulness (because I do know everything, of course ;)) is doled out sparingly and only when someone asks for it. :)

    Comment by lisakenney — June 25, 2008 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  4. Lisa,

    I think this is one of those lessons I’m doomed to repeat again and again. I’m working on letting go of the “drama spins” and am cultivating a healthy respect for inner peace. And dragging others down my path seems like its conflicting with my need for peace!

    Comment by cindylv — June 25, 2008 @ 7:43 pm | Reply


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