Sunday, March 2, 2014

Boundaries, Detachment And Self-Worth

"I can be emotionally separate and still be caring.

I will not take on the anger, fear or moodiness of those around me today.

In my dysfunctional family, no one encouraged me to be a separate individual. When my parents were angry or depressed, I was made to feel it was my fault. I was expected to rescue them emotionally. Well, taking on the rescuer role didn't work in childhood and it hasn't worked in my adult life either. Because the source of others' unhappiness is inside them, nothing I can do will lift it from them. My detachment doesn't mean I don't care about their pain; it means that I know I cannot save them from their own moods.

I will honor my individuality today by refusing to take on the negative emotions of those around me."

From the book Affirmations For The Inner Child, written by Rokelle Lerner, Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida: 1990, 2010, From the page February 28 - Boundaries.

I wanted to share this with you because it describes my childhood so well and one of my roles in my dysfunctional family. I was the protector of my mother's feelings from the age of three when I remember assigning myself that role.

Family caretaker for everyone was another of my roles. Some good things came out of my caretaker role. I am a responsible adult who cares about people in my family, friends and about society in general. One of the not so good things that came out of that role was that I became a people pleaser and lost myself in the deal. I was so busy taking care of everyone else that I often felt overly tired, overwhelmed and angry. I wasn't allowed to have a childhood. I was too busy taking care of my family and their needs.

I became bossy as the oldest child with two younger siblings who were my responsibility. If they got into trouble, it was my fault. I should have kept them out of trouble.When I learned about detachment, I was able to let go of what wasn't my responsibility. I didn't have all of the answers for my siblings.

I knew how to fix everything and everybody. That was the illusion I tried to convince myself and everyone else was true because I had to earn your love. If I did enough you would love me. And I had to do everything perfectly so that no one could criticize me like both of my parents did when I was struggling to be a child with too much responsibility.

I am a terrible housekeeper today, partly because my inner child is in open rebellion about all the housework that I did as a child with nobody teaching me how to do any of it. The only thing I can tell you my mother taught me how to do in all those childhood years was when I was 11 years old, she taught me how to make biscuits. From then on making biscuits became my job in the evenings during the week and two times a day on weekends and in the Summer months until I left home at age 19. Everything else I learned how to do by experimenting with trial and error. I was told to do a chore without anyone taking the time to show me how except what I learned to do in Home Economics in school in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades.

I also realized again this week, that I still feel some shame in this area when it comes to inviting people into my home. I just don't know how to change this. I know it shouldn't matter what other people think and still in this area I am afraid of being criticized. My housework was never good enough for my dad when I was a child. I would get called stupid and be told I was as slow as grandma or as slow as Christmas and generally made to not feel good enough. This may seem small to some people but it is still a big issue for me.

Along with shame over being a bad housekeeper, I feel fearful of having others in my home right now. I recently told my husband that may be because of the writing that I am doing right now - going deeper into more layers with my issues. I just don't want anyone here but me and Daniel. I guess with this writing, I feel exposed which doesn't make a lot of sense because I have been writing for this blog for over six years now. I need my space to be safe. With Daniel and I, I do feel safe.

I feel bad because an online friend is visiting my town this weekend. He is a guest speaker at one of the area churches. I haven't extended an invitation for him to stay with Daniel and I. I am going to see him at the church on Sunday. This will be the first time that we will meet face to face. He is someone that I have enjoyed knowing for almost the entire time I have been a blogger. I am not afraid of him. The fear is from deep inside of me. The shame is still there inside my inner child. I am not sure how to convince her to let go of it, if she can let go of it at this stage in my life. I am not giving up. Knowing me, I will probably give him a copy of this post to read since it explains my feelings pretty good. This is my issue, not his. I am not done working though it yet. I don't know if I ever will finish with this one. I won't give up on my inner child or on me. Thanks for reading and having patience with me.

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