Boundaries

I’m not good with boundaries… I know this. When the dissociation and switching increases in frequency, my scant understanding of appropriate boundaries goes out the window. This was (yet again) evident earlier this week, when Matthew Branton asked (a perfectly legitimate question) about having a place within the blog where new readers could get an understanding of my background and the experiences that brought me to this place in my healing. This question, in conjunction with reading Matthew’s account of his past, and Faith Allen’s series of posts about her past on Blooming Lotus; meant that a part of me took this question very literally… Suddenly there were over a 1000 words on a new page within the blog which described my family and what I have been told about my childhood up until I was a toddler. There was a real drive to write this history out, but that need came from a part of me that didn’t understand the implications for the rest of the system. They are a part of me that always obeys a suggestion or request without question. The ultimate people pleaser.

You’ll see that the page is no longer on the blog, I’ve hidden it. I realise that I do need to write out my history, but I need to write it out for Allison’s eyes only. It would be too easy to piece together my history, and find out who I am in real life from the detailed account that was being generated… that just can’t happen! I would risk losing my career and being labelled with all of the negative stereotypes that those with mental health issues carry. I hate the stereotypes and misinformation about those who deal with mental health issues every day, but I’m not in a strong enough place to fight it. Also, to be blunt, librarians are a bunch of close minded, gossiping old biddies… if they discovered that I have DID, I would never get another job within New Zealand.

After talking to a friend, I realised that I can still write a summary here about my past, but I don’t have to go into so much detail. This is where I need to learn about the appropriate boundary. How much do readers of this blog really need to know about me? Does it matter that I’m the youngest child? Does it matter that I have no memory of what any of my family looked like as I was growing up? These are the questions that I need to ask myself, and take my time answering. So, I will put up a new page that carries a summary of my experiences, but it will take me some time to come to an internal agreement as to what I can reveal safely.

The other boundary issue I’ve been facing this week, is the re-decorating of my rented house. I knew that the landlords were going to re-decorate the house sometime soon, but on Monday I got a call from a painter saying he’d be starting Tuesday; so, could I leave a key to the house under the mat to allow his team access to the house. Now, I know I should be grateful that the landlords are doing the work – the wallpaper was peeling. BUT, STRANGE MEN WERE GOING TO BE IN MY HOUSE WHILE I WASN’T THERE. They were going to be moving my stuff. They were going to be walking in my house… the house that I worked so hard to try and make feel safe. It caused havoc within the system.

On Tuesday when we came home, the wallpaper had been stripped from the walls, but the house wasn’t too messy. We could cope with a great amount of deep breathing and locking all the windows and doors – then re-checking them every hour or so. But on Wednesday when we came home, they had painted the woodwork, which caused a huge mess. They’d been careless with our possessions – our cats food and water bowl were spoiled with paint dust, there was paint on our wooden dresser and they’d carelessly knocked over our things in the bathroom. We’d also had to do some teaching that day, so it was all too much… What I’m really proud of though, is that we didn’t self injure! We were in a mess, but One remembered Paul’s oil pastel artwork, so found our old pastels and got us to draw instead of injure. This is what we drew…

Swirl

Swirl

Black Red

Black Red

I’m not really aware of what happened as we were drawing these, or even what they mean.  But, I know that there was a great deal of energy used on the second one.

We were hoping that they would be finished the redecorating on Friday, but it looks like they didn’t do any work at all that day. This, in combination with a rough day at work and being the anniversary of when Sophie and R were born due to an abusive event in the past; meant that last night there was a total loss of control. I only came back to any sort of awareness late Saturday morning.

What’s interesting about this latest event, is that I’m being told “You won’t tell that b@t@h Allison about this.” I’m not sure if this is a statement of fact, a challenge, or a derisive comment on my inability to talk about the tough issues in therapy. But I know that this time, I do need to tell Allison… I need to get outside help for the dangerous dysfunction. So, that’s what this weeks therapy is going to be about… wish me luck!

This latest round of confusion and self-injury, has made me aware of how little internal communication I now have. The dissociation has ramped up several notches, and my old skills have been lost (or maybe misplaced). Trust has gone, and it feels like I’m starting from scratch again…  For some reason I was reminded of this old Telecom ad… Maybe it’s the message about communication being the first step… and maybe about communication starting with the children/young ones…  Or, as is now being suggested internally, maybe I’m just a sap 🙂

Friends

Oh, and on a positive note… I’m the lucky “god-fearing” person chosen by Miss Linda to help her money launder retrieve $22 million from her fathers estate. The poor man was poisoned by his business colleagues (nasty men), and her only hope to get the money out of the Ivory Coast, is through me. I’ll be the lucky recipient of 15% of this sum, so it’s all good… my money worries are over! This is also a much better offer than last weeks one from Mr Philip, a lawyer from England… Strange how a lawyer would track me down as a long lost relative, when I never use my real name in any of my email addresses… but then, he’s a lawyer with wicked mad skills apparently 😉

—————-
Now playing: Cat Stevens – Where Do The Children Play?
via FoxyTunes

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16 thoughts on “Boundaries

  1. hi castorgirl~ even though i don’t have DID, i can really relate to your post here. we had some people come install a sprinkler system in our lawn a few weeks ago, so for a week, my house was surrounded by workmen. they weren’t even in my house and it was really upsetting to me. they were polite and professional and so it wasn’t their behavior that caused me to have a problem. just their being there was upsetting to me. i had bad dreams that week. so i can imagine being really upset had people actually been in my house touching my things. it’s your safe space. i’m sorry that had to happen. i hope the work will be done soon and you can reclaim your space and feel safe and comfortable again.

    and about boundaries, i really appreciate what you wrote here. i’m a serious people-pleaser and really struggle with that and with learning good boundaries, so thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts on this. the main thing i thought here was that i don’t think you need to give background on your life here if you don’t want to. this is your space. if you want to share a summary of your life that is completely up to you. and i don’t blame you for not wanting to share more specifics. i struggle with this on my blog as well. i want to write out my story and share more details, but that wouldn’t make me feel safe, so i try to be careful what i share.

    finally, i love that video and i have to tell you how strange it is for me (in a good way) that you put it up here because my spouse bought me a cat stevens cd for mother’s day and i’ve been listening to it in my car this week. seriously. so i’ve already heard that song a few times this week. i love cat stevens. synchronicity i guess.

    wishing you well~~~

    • Hi Katie,

      Boundary issues are common to anyone who has suffered any sort of trauma, so it definitely isn’t just a DID thing. It surprised me how much of a drive there was to write down my history, but it was done without thinking of the consequences. I admire those who can be open about their experiences, but it’s not something that is safe for me.

      Strange people even coming near my house is a huge issue for me, so I can emphasise with your sprinkler installation problem. Part of the reason I haven’t moved out of this house since the divorce is that it’s a stand alone house, so I do have “my safety zone” where no one can come into. I’ve lived in an apartment type of situation before, and I couldn’t cope.

      I love the music of Cat Stevens 🙂 Although it’s an ad for a company that is pretty bad, I also like the message in this clip – children aren’t born hating another race, religion, etc. Parents and society force those warped values onto them. Yes, there are some physiological brain issues that mean some people are born with a natural tendency to hate or be violent, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

      Take care,
      CG

  2. Boundaries are so important. And I know what you mean about not always knowing where to put them, or how tall they should be. I have lots of boundaries and it’s wonderful – especially where my family is concerned.

    • I’m glad you’ve got boundaries where they’re needed Ivory, it really is a huge thing to learn.

      Take care,
      CG

  3. the last paragraph made me giggle! I’ve had a lot of those emails lately!

    I hope they’re finished doing the decorating soon, i know exactly what thats like! Our work here is still going on, but at least the work in my room is finished for now.

    I think writing up some info about your past is a good idea, its easier than starting the story halfway through anyways 🙂

    (((safe hugs)))

    • What, you mean it’s a joke??? You mean I won’t receive my 15%??? I’m shocked!

      Those emails crack me up. What’s even better, this one came in all caps 🙂

      I’m looking at doing a basic history, but I think I’ll take it from the comprehensive one I do for Allison, so it will take some time to get together.

      (((warm safe hugs)))

  4. CG, I’m sorry you’ve had such a tough week. It’s no wonder with everything going on and those nasty painters in your home.

    People like us are never good with boundaries – we have to learn not only what they are but where the appropriate lines are. I’ve heard that listening to your gut is a good way to go, though I’m still learning here myself.

    I’m proud of you, too, for avoiding some SI.

    Please take care, ((warm safe ones))

    Kerro

    • Well my gut didn’t even register a blip until I was up to describing myself as a difficult child to raise. Even then, it was only a passing thought to ran it by a friend, who said it was too much.

      I’m kinda sick of having too much going on. Surely I’m bringing all of this on myself???

      Well, at least I avoided SI on Wednesday 🙂

      Take care and (((warm safe hugs)))
      CG

  5. Hi CG,

    I actually noticed your response to Matthew in the comments. Something about it jumped out at me but I couldn’t say exactly what. Now that you’ve explained what happened, it makes perfect sense. And I can relate to it too. So thanks for sharing the experience with us because it has helped me to see that I really should pay attention when that red flag pops up. Somewhere inside, someone knows what is best for us, we just don’t always listen.

    Dawn

    • Hi Dawn,

      Your comment made me re-read my original comment to Matthew, and I can detect a very slight change in my tone, so maybe there was a switch happening?? There was definitely something happening in my head to suddenly create this in-depth history. The thing is, Matthew’s suggestion is totally legitimate. I just need to find a safe way to tell the relevant parts of my life.

      Yes, I do believe there is a part of us that knows what is safe, it’s a matter of being able to hear and understand the messages they’re giving.

      Take care,
      CG

  6. There are certain parts of me that don’t mind at all having so much information about my past and present on the blog but there are also some that feel as if we’ve put ourselves on display and no longer have even a tad bit of privacy. Information moderation is a hard balance to strike when writing an intimate blog but I believe that balance can be struck. I’ve had suggestions/requests from insiders as to what they don’t want written on our blog. There are photos of our bedroom as a whole which will never be on the net and photos of certain things in the house that’ll never be shared on our blog. Privacy in a place where everything is shared is precious. When that privacy feels violated the backlash can sometimes be serious. We as a system are still learning to speak up and do so quickly when our personal boundaries are crossed. We still mess up big time because even as alters we are human. We mess up but like you we correct it.
    Good on you for recognizing the need for the boundary and for correcting a misstep.
    Austin

    • Hi Austin,

      I’m glad you’ve found a working solution.

      When I was reading your response, the word that jumped out as me was “privacy”. I realise I have no concept of what that really means. I shared a bedroom with my sister until I was about 6 or 7 (or 8 or 9, argh… have no idea). Then when the renovations were done on the house, I had a single room beside the parents… my personal space and privacy were never respected.

      I get what you’re saying about messing up sometimes – I’ve often taken down posts which have caused an internal backlash. Yes, we’re human and will make mistakes… the thing is to learn from those mistakes.

      Thanks and take care,
      CG

  7. Castorgirl,

    I would rephrase this a bit. I would say “you” are very good at boundaries… but some parts of you aren’t. I have taken to a system (generally) of writing blog posts and letting them sit for several days. I think that helps. It’s a chance for me to get a sense of what the reaction to the writing throughout my system. There is never a post that doesn’t get changed in some way. Sometimes in minor ways, but often in major ways. And sometimes posts never go public.

    I think it’s good work to make the effort to do art instead of self-injure. I know it didn’t hold out, and I’m sorry. But the effort was made, and this is different from before. So, while it’s hard to see, there is progress.

    Personally, I think it’s possible that the self-harm is a bit of a test of younger parts of you to see if you will really tell Allison. I think young parts are taunting you a bit. Seeing if you will really step up and take care of them. I think they want to be taken care of. It’s self-injury, but it’s also acting out. They are pushing the issue.

    No, I don’t think you are a sap. I think it’s telling you were reminded of this given what’s going on. There must be some parts internally that knows this is the direction you need to be moving in. It’s the most appropriate (and healing) response you could have.

    I also got the email from a lawyer this week. I wrote back, gave them my bank account number and PIN and they said they will deposit the money this week. Nice, huh?

    • It’s amazing how accommodating those emails are, isn’t it? I wasn’t at all worried about a lack of full name, qualifications or physical address for the lawyer. My only stumbling block, was he was wanting a social security number… Luckily Miss Linda of the many capital letters, just wanted my bank account details, so I’m all good with her. I’m expecting the money by the end of the week.

      I think I might try to adopt your system of delayed posting. It might help me navigate the boundary issues until the internal communication is restored to some sort of workable level.

      It was too much on Friday to cope with. There was an immediate overwhelming reaction as soon as I walked in the door of the house and saw that they hadn’t done any work. I’m still trying to piece together what happened over the weekend… I also know that I’m going to have to be careful tonight, as they arrived to do the wallpapering while I was still home… one of the workers is tall and slim – a huge trigger for me.

      It’s interesting that this particular ad came to mind – it was about children who were at war, which is how the internal landscape feels at the moment. In some ways the room featured in the ad is very similar to some of the rooms in the internal house as well. But, it’s also about communication, which is what I need to work on.

      I saw the statement about Allison as both a challenge and cry for help. I told Allison what happened. I know there was a switch to avoid going into further details; but, the truth is out there now.

      Take care,
      CG

  8. Glad this new T seem to be hopeful.
    I am happy for you.
    I been reading but didn’t want to freak you when things been kinda tough.
    I wish you the best.
    Ones

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