Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Insistence and Persistence

This business of creating boundaries is hard work.

It comes as no surprise that since boundaries were a major issue in our marriage, they continue to be an issue in divorce.  Yesterday's post is proof of that ongoing problem.

But I'm not giving up.

I sent a cordial but firm email stating my discomfort with Bryan coming in the house when I'm not there.  Again.

He was snappy in response, and returned his key.

Here's what I learned from all of this:

I want him to behave well.  I want him to do the right thing without me telling him what to do, I want him to be responsible, and I want him to acknowledge that I'm being reasonable, fair, and cordial.

And that may never happen.

I can not control his behavior, and I certainly can't make him be nice to me.  Acknowledging that is something I've been working on for a long time because it is really hard on me when I go out of my way to be kind and fair and he still snaps at me: it feels like a breaking of the social contract, and I feel pained when I think I'm being kind and he is rude in return.  I have protested too much "But wait....I said....what I meant was....can't you see...." and it has had no impact on his behavior except perhaps to further annoy him.

Well, that's changing.

He was annoyed that I insisted on boundaries.  It stung a bit that he was annoyed....but it doesn't matter.  I know that I was being fair, and reasonable.  He owns his response, and really, it doesn't have a thing to do with me.  I don't need to fear his responses any more, because he can take his bad mood to his own house where I don't have to tiptoe around it any more.

What I care about is that I behave with integrity.  It would be nice if he responded beautifully to that, but ultimately, it doesn't matter to me.

This is not rocket science.  This is Relationships 101, and I should have learned it a long, long, long time ago.  Still, it feels like a giant revelation to me to FEEL this an not merely "know" it, and I'm excited by this progress.

I insist on boundaries.  I will persist in giving out boundaries that I believe to be fair and reasonable.  I will persist in feeling good about myself no matter what he thinks of me.

Now that is progress, don't you think?


  1. Setting boundaries is difficult. Having the other party respect them, even more so at certain times - and depending on who you're talking about... as I know, too well.

    It's a shame you - or anyone - has to deal with this. I might also venture that it's extremely common, however childish.

    (Hardly a representative sample, but I don't know any divorced woman who didn't go through some of this...)

  2. Between this and your last post, you could be talking about me and my estranged husband. The kids are all grown and gone, but the attitudes and habits formed over 32 years are identical. So while I have no words of wisdom for you, I will tell you that you sharing your situation has comforted me a LOT.... and I thank you for that. <3

  3. constantly tip-toeing around someone with frequent bad moods (originally I typed "mad" moods *ah what's the difference?) or days of silence is so exhausting. Betcha you find yourself with lots of energy soon!