This is meant for anyone but I hope Sannah reads it because she's the one who first introduced me to the idea of boundaries. I just had a 'situation' today with this woman at school - the mother of one of my children's friends. She and I fell out a couple of years ago. I tried to resolve it by apologising but even after apologising she was very cold to me and whenever I spoke to her I felt she didn't want to speak to me and once I even caught her making a face at her husband as if to say, 'look, she's sucking up to me again'. Anyway, since I saw that 'look' I decided the best thing to do was back off and not bother trying to talk to her.
Anyway, today both our children, along with some others, had to attend a workshop at another school. The other three boys involved - including her son - all got a lift there with another parent, and got a lift back with her. I knew she would be involved somewhere as the four boys are friends, but because she doesn't like me she tries not to include my son when she organises plays for the kids.
Last night I was really tempted to ring her and offer to drive her child to the workshop. When I analysed why I was doing it I realised it was because I want things to be 'comfortable' between us - and this was maybe a way of achieving this comfort - by offering to do something for her. But I held back, because I felt like I was 'sucking up' and remembered the look she gave her husband and thought she didn't really deserve my help. I was trying to make things comfortable - ie myself comfortable - because I can't stand having any sort of altercation with anyone - it upsets me. I don't like people not to like me. Anyway, so she drove three of the boys back and I drove my son back, and I felt really sorry for him because I knew he'd rather be in the car with his friends, like the others were. I have this horrible sick feeling of being left out and my son being left out and I hate that. But I don't want to suck up to this woman in order for her to be nicer to my son. It makes me disgusted with myself afterwards. I just have to cope with the feeling of 'discomfort' and know that I did what I could to resolve things between us, but it didn't work. But my boundaries must be bad, because I feel so sick and insecure, and left out. But I'm tired of trying to be nice to people and do things for them to make them like me. I'm a nice person. I deserve to be liked for who I am. I shouldn't have to grovel. So I either feel insecure and left out or I grovel for approval and then hate myself afterwards. I don't want to be like this anymore. That woman must be a real cow if she punishes a child - my child - because she doesn't like me.
Sorry this is so long. I could really use some advice, comfort, anything.
Terrible when something we do, or are, affects our kids. :-(
It doesn't sound so much like a boundary issue, although that is present, as much as it is a self esteem issue. You'll never be able to please everyone and there are going to be people who don't like you. Conflict is a normal part of life and being somewhat comfortable with it is often needed. That too is related to self esteem.
The only person who you really need to get approval from is yourself and the best time to get that approval is when you make mistakes! It's unfortunate that we believe mistakes need to be punished because without mistakes we really don't learn much. Mistakes treated properly are simply pathways to a better way of doing something. But, if we punish mistakes, we learn that learning is to be avoided. Don't punish yourself for making mistakes! Just acnowledge that that way didn't work and you'll do it differently next time. Then, when you do actually do it differently next time, reward yourself because you learned! You can learn better boundary management, you can learn better self esteem and you can learn to accept and grow from mistakes...The truly remarkable thing about us humans is our potential to learn new behaviors....have new thoughts, grow into something which we were not before....Don't be so hard on yourself....If for no other reason, just the fact that you contain this remarkable human potential, is enough to love yourself....value yourself, appreciate yourself, just as you are right now.....
Anyway, so she drove three of the boys back and I drove my son back, and I felt really sorry for him because I knew he'd rather be in the car with his friends, like the others were.
i am curious about what you mention above. did she choose to drive only the three other boys back, and left your son by himself, or you chose to drive your son back?? maybe if you had left your son with the other boys, she would have given him a lift, no?
Be kinder than necessary,
Because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle...
yes she chose to drive the three boys back. she had obviously made arrangements with their parents to bring them back. she didn't offer to drive my son back. i'm tired of it all it's so petty. but my son came home tonight and said her son calls him 'asian eyes' all the time - racist little ***! at least next year they go to different high schools. I'm tired of this woman. Just want her out of my life. I have learned from this. Not to be friends with my kids' friends' parents because if I hadn't fallen out with this woman in the first place my son probably wouldn't be having issues with her son. Who knows? Basically all I want is for my kids to be happy, and anything that gets in the way of that really bothers me.
Thanks for your replies. Firenice I know I need to work on my self esteem. I am trying.
Unfortunately there are parents out there who are immature and act like jerks. Over the years I have run into more than a few. Maybe you can be proactive and make plans with some of your sons friends. God bless
So I either feel insecure and left out or I grovel for approval and then hate myself afterwards.
Hi Trix, you got a lot of good advice here already (Firenice, I love your punishing of mistakes stuff! I have never really thought of this before. I am going to be thinking about this a bit today!).
Trix, one thing that I thought of is people do not respect people who grovel. I have actually been thinking about that topic this week - self respect, etc. People respect those who respect themselves and when you grovel you are showing that you do not respect yourself.
I am really sorry about your son. Have you discussed this with him so that he knows what is going on? I wouldn't worry about having to protect your children from everything. Children are not made of glass and if they have exposure to all sorts of people and then they can discuss these people with you, they will learn a lot about life. Protecting our children from life will just ensure that they don't have any experience with how to handle different situations. I actually love it when a learning opportunity comes along. The learning is what counts, not that they are protected from every little thing in life.
What you said above - there is another way. Firenice touched on it when he spoke of self-esteem. Think really hard - Why do you need others to tell you that you are worthy? Why can't you feel this yourself? (And you are right there is a boundary issue here because you are wanting approval outside of your boundaries but as Firenice said it is also a self-esteem issue.)
Your description of feeling sick because you felt left out is really standing out to me. I am trying to think about this.... You feel left out and insecure.... like you need someone else to feel secure .... to bring you security.....
I guess feeling left out does feel that I'm not being loved. It's like I have no strength inside. I need people's approval to feel strong. How do I build up my strength inside so that I only need my own approval, and can stand up for myself and know my rights? Looking back over my life I can see that I've never respected myself enough - sometimes I haven't even realised when people weren't treating me with respect. Why didn't I realise? Why do I still not realise, sometimes? Other people seem to realise. When I was younger I let my friends treat me badly but I still stayed friends with them. When friends treated me well I didn't seem to like them, or feel as drawn to them - so maybe I've developed a habit of feeling secure when people treat me badly? What is going on? I've HAD therapy. I don't understand this. I'm always comparing myself to other people - my sister, my partner. Both are highly qualified and earn huge amounts of money - not that I think money is the most important thing, I don't - next to them I don't amount to much. I worked in two different jobs this week - doing typing for my sister and doing relief teaching. I get paid twice as much to relief teach as I do to type, and yet I find the typing much more enjoyable. It's interesting and it's relaxing and I know I'm good at it. The relief teaching was terrible - 34 kids and wet day timetable, really badly behaved and fighting! threatening to stab each other and shoot each other. I couldn't for the life of me get them to be quiet and came home feeling like I just couldn't cut it. I feel if I'd done a decent degree in the first place I wouldn't have to do such yucky work (like relief teaching) for such little money. We recently bought a new house, and my partner wanted a big house and we paid a lot for it, and now I feel pressured to work. I feel pressured from all sides. I never feel happy - just grumpy. I feel like doing a teaching degree was a waste of time if I don't enjoy teaching and it doesn't pay that well. And I'm not money-hungry, not materialistic, never have been, but feel pressured from my partner to make money. I'm starting to resent him. I'm starting to resent everyone. I don't seem to have the confidence to make good choices. I'm surrounded by people - my partner, my parents, my sister, with strong personalities and lots of self confidence. I don't have the confidence, or the wherewithall, to realise if my partner is subtly bullying me or not.
Sorry, this is such a ramble and a vent. I am so, so confused. I don't know what to think anymore. Sometimes I want to say to my partner, go and find someone else and bring up the kids with her because anyone else would do a better job than me. i feel I'm failing at everything. sorry to be so negative and sound so self-pitying.
I guess feeling left out does feel that I'm not being loved.
When I was younger I let my friends treat me badly but I still stayed friends with them.
When friends treated me well I didn't seem to like them, or feel as drawn to them
I've HAD therapy.
I feel pressured from all sides. feel pressured from my partner to make money. I'm starting to resent him.
I'm surrounded by people - my partner, my parents, my sister, with strong personalities and lots of self confidence. I don't have the confidence, or the wherewithall, to realise if my partner is subtly bullying me or not.
Hi Trix, I let my friends push me around when I was growing up too. I find that interesting that you didn't like them as much, however, if they were nice. I don't know what that means either really. Did you feel pushed around in your family?
I also know what it means to learn if you are speaking up enough with your partner. I met my husband when I was 28 and right in the thick of solving all of my issues. I have learned later in my life (like just over the last few years!) where I haven't been speaking up enough (because I still had all my issues when we met and my issues affected our relationship). It really took me years to figure out all of this because these things were subtle and he isn't mean or anything so it wasn't like it was all that obvious.
I wish I had a quarter for everytime I heard someone say that they "had" therapy! If you still have issues you haven't had ENOUGH therapy or EFFECTIVE therapy. I had one excellent therapist (the last one of course!) and all of the others were okay. You also have to be in the right place too because in therapy YOU are the one who is really solving your issues the therapist is just helping you with their expertise.
So you are from a family of strong personalities. Maybe they just squashed you out. Actually, this is a really easy thing to do without anyone really realizing it. I have a strong personality (after I found myself!) and so does my husband. My oldest daughter does too but my youngest does not. Since I am so aware, I have had to focus on us not squashing her and it has made a big difference.
Thanks for responding. Re the friends thing - it's not so much that I like being treated badly - it's that being bossed around makes me feel loved! Go figure. I am the youngest in my family - everyone bossed me - it made me feel safe. So I probably used the wrong words when I said my friends were mean - my friends were bossy. All my best friends have been the oldest in their family.
As for the strong personality thing. I USED to have a strong personality. When I was young - my brother and sister always tell me - I was the only one who would stand up to my mother. But when I stood up to her I felt unloved so maybe I stopped. My mother - much as I love her - isn't always reasonable. Actually, she's very difficult. Same with my friends - when I fought with them I felt unloved, unsafe. My partner has a very strong personality. I'm not afraid to argue with him. But the kids get very upset, so to avoid that happening someone has to back down and be the peacemaker and that's me. Because as you know I don't like my kids to be upset. My husband is a very intelligent man, however not an emotionally intelligent man. He has a very short fuse and expects the kids - when he says jump - to say 'how high'. But on the other hand he's a very good and loving father. My sister does not have a particularly strong personality, she can't stand up to her partner, but she does boss me around - I guess because I'll always be her little sister. My brother squashes me because he likes to keep the peace. I think in my family - when we were younger - because my mother was so difficult and could make everyone's life so miserable when she wasn't happy, everyone stepped around her, and I guess my brother learnt to squash me to keep her happy. My husband is not as difficult as my mother. My mother has a definite mood disorder. I am not nearly as mean to my kids (in fact very rarely mean to my kids) as my mother was to me.
This is like a therapy session in itself. I can't afford therapy. Over here therapy isn't covered by private health insurance and costs $120 for an hour.
Trix, we have never been on this sight at the same time before! My husband is on a business trip tonight and my kids are in bed so here I am at 9:30 PM doing one of my favorite things! What time is it over there on the other side of the world? You are entering winter now too aren't you?
Ahhh, you didn't feel loved if you weren't bossed around! This makes perfect sense! So now just see that these are children's thoughts and they don't make sense for you now? You say that you felt unsafe when you argued with your friends. Did your mother make you feel unsafe?
Can you "discuss" things with your partner when the kids aren't around? Learning how to communicate well with your partner over these things really is a learned skill that many people don't learn beforehand. Many men and women just handle this stuff differently too. I had to tell my husband what I needed from him when we would discuss stuff.
It's ten minutes before midday and it will be winter in two weeks. It's only just starting to get cold and I need to think about getting some kindling in so I can fire up the woodheater. I love winter - apart from raking out the ashes!
I didn't feel safe growing up because my parents argued all the time, and you never knew what sort of mood my mother would be in. When she got up in the morning she would barely speak - it was too scary to talk to her. She'd drive us to school (when I was older I got the bus) and when we came home she was fine. Just not a morning person, I guess. We moved from the UK to Australia when I was 10 and she was depressed but in those days nothing was done about it - it wasn't talked about. She was bored and unhappy and lonely. In the evenings I used to go to sleep with a pillow over my head so I wouldn't hear them arguing. I didn't even want to hear them talking in case they started arguing. I was hypervigilant. BUT - I have that tendency. A more resilient, less anxious child would not have been so sensitive to it. In the car if we were driving somewhere I'd be watching them all the time to see if they were about to argue. It was pathetic. I spent my childhood watching them to see if they were happy with each other. I don't know if that sort of thing MAKES you anxious or whether it just exacerbates an already anxious tendency. I probably should have been on antidepressants from the age of about 10. My mother's a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde, you never know if you're going to get a slap or a smile, so you have to 'arm' yourself for either. And I repeated the pattern of avoiding hearing conversations when my neighbours' kids abused my kids over the fence - I wouldn't go outside in case I heard them talking - and just in case they were being nasty about me or the kids... See, I'm anxious and avoidant of really minor, trivial things. Really hard for people to understand, especially my husband.
So I guess I'm pretty careful now, not to argue too much with my partner in front of the kids - because it is scary for them. But my husband is frustrating sometimes so we argue occasionally, and the kids need to realise that it is natural for parents to argue sometimes and that it will be resolved. As long as we're not really horrible to each other in front of them. And I always make sure it's resolved quickly and there's no 'air of burning martyr' in the house. When my parents argued they would often argue on a Saturday night and all day Sunday my mother wouldn't speak to any of us. She really was shocking, and obviously had no idea of the impact of her behaviour. But she's very loving and generous as well, at times. As I said, a Jekyll and Hyde but you were never quite sure which you'd get.
Wow Trix, that must have been really hard to grow up like that (like mine was a DisneyWorld vacation!). No wonder you are so outwardly focused! You know you can change this once you understand WHY and everytime you catch yourself doing it STOP IT! If any feelings come with it talk yourself out of them. "That was the past" or "This does not mean that I am not loved!", etc. Children need to feel safe while they are growing up and you did not. It wasn't that you were defective or anything! I would think that that environment would make a sensitive child anxious.
Well yes, it would make a sensitive child anxious. I see that in my own children. On the sensitivity scale my eldest is about a 4 - he doesn't like it when we fight but it makes him cross rather than upset. My middle is about an 8 - he's had minor anxiety tendencies all along - I'll have to watch him - he gets the most upset when we argue. My youngest doesn't rate on the scale. You could drop a bomb next to him and he wouldn't even notice!! It's great. He's much more like my partner in temperament - though I do worry slightly about his empathy (or lack of it!!)
It's funny how you live through things and you adapt to them. My father said to me recently, 'when we moved over here you were fine straight away, you adapted really quickly' but I remember I used to feel sick all the time and never ate my lunch at school. But I learnt not to ask for things, or complain. It's scary really, that kids will do that - turn in on themselves. I couldn't talk to my mother about stuff because she couldn't handle it. Still can't, really. I guess she's too sensitive too, and medicates herself every night with a few glasses of wine which probably make her grumpy in the mornings.
I don't think my sister's that psychologically healthy - who is, after all?? - but her job gives her a lot of satisfaction and she feels she's doing something really worthwhile and that must be a good feeling. my brother has found himself a difficult wife much like his difficult mother - he's continuing a well-established pattern.
I've got to go out and find a flapper costume for a party tonight - so it's off to the op shop I go! Thanks for listening x