I had this…hm…I guess I’d call it a revelation today. It’s something that would be obvious to some, but has not been so obvious to me.
I never really thought of myself as co-dependent in this relationship/situation. Dependent yes. Co-dependent, not so much.
But I was wrong.
In the last week, a series of events has happened that made me realize this morning, that one of the issues and causes of my deep frustrations and intense emotional reactions during our interactions, is that I have little to no boundaries.
Of all people I thought I had boundaries with and it finally dawns on me that I don’t.
He has had to depend on me for rides in the last weeks. Because of a particular medical reason he cannot drive his stick shift Jeep. He could drive my car, but tbh, I wouldn’t be comfortable with that.
The communication with this guy, is for me to pull out of him the needed info or to at least initiate the conversation most of the time. When it comes to knowing that he needs rides to doctors and elsewhere, I want to know in advance when each appointment is. And in order for me to find that out, I have had to ask…much to my frustration. Instead I would much prefer he simply offer it up and write it down somewhere that I can see and reference it to remind myself.
I don’t mind helping him out. That’s not what this is about. I just want some consideration and time to prepare myself. With PTSD it is difficult for me to drop my shit at the drop of a hat or find out the night before that I’m driving him to an appointment the next day when he’s known about it for weeks.
Another thing that came up is that he has a form that needed/needs filling out by the doctor I drove him to see last week. Did he take the form with him? Nope.
This came up this morning again after feeling annoyed and highly agitated about not being able to get a straight answer to a question I asked. Honestly, I’d rather someone just tell me they don’t know and that they have to check than try to make something up or garble the info to the point that it makes no sense. Big fucking trigger for me.
At this point I’m feeling like I’m a narcissist…or maybe borderline because I’m not controlling my temper at all. I’m visibly and audibly distressed. At the point I reacted to not getting a straight answer, I became acutely aware of my back tightening up and I was like, “Not a- fucking-gain”
It seems like each time I attempt any sort of conversation it just ends up that I’m annoyed, frustrated and distressed…whatever it’s about. It could even be a joke, something that was was supposed to be completely light hearted. I end up feeling completely misunderstood and instead of shaking it off, I become anxious and feel compelled to explain myself.
When I couldn’t get that straight answer earlier, I became so distressed, like I was drowning or something. Like the situation was hopeless and I screamed, “Are you fucking serious???!!!”
It wasn’t always like this. He was always quiet. But it used to be fun talking to him.
Now it’s like opening an uncooked clam. The difference is I would give up on the clam and throw it back. Both of us would have been better off if I’d thrown him back, at least on the night I discovered he didn’t take the lead on the dance floor after I twisted his arm to dance with me.
I’ve thought often about that and feel that I’ve taken on the masculine roll in this situation in some ways.
The circumstance we were in this morning in the car, I was able to drop him off and go for a ride. I went to Wawa to get some coffee. On my way I wanted to cry and I did a little. But I didn’t want to get into a full out bawling session because… going in public.
I felt like I wanted to jump out of my body though and I just felt so sick of this repetitive pattern.
And on my way back from getting coffee, it dawned on me.
I don’t draw boundaries, ever.
So in this particular scenario of B having a form that his surgeon needed to fill out and him not taking it with us to the appointment he had last week. There are plenty of reasons for my aggravation behind this:
My expectation would be that a grown-ass man would not need to be reminded of this or ‘chased after’ to get this taken care of. That he would have the consideration for the ‘driver’ he is relying on, so that I would not have to make another trip up there just to drop the form off…because he’d need it before his next follow up.
My reaction is to berate him for this, which winds up shaming him. He apologizes and says things like, “I didn’t take it because I didn’t know if he’d fill it out or not.” (This reason makes no sense to me.)
But in his defense, he does walk on egg shells around me. He is nervous because of my impulsive/high emotion reactions.
I would never try to justify my behavior and I admit that my reactions are abusive. Whether it’s because of all the accumulated stress or not, if I’m honest, I’ll tell you that he probably forgets because of stress.
But still, boundaries. Normally, I’d be pissed off and just take the form up anyway and become resentful and the same scenario around a different thing would repeat itself.
But this time I drew a boundary. I made it clear that it was not a punishment. Something that would normally keep me from drawing this boundary in the first place would be my own self-doubt, feeling like I’m saying no to punish him for not being what I wanted or not doing what I needed.
But upon the realization that boundaries or lack thereof were a real problem with me, and likely a huge part of where my outbursts come from in the first place, I knew I was drawing the boundary for my own sanity. To improve my own self-worth, self-confidence, to be less co-dependent.
And so I told him that I would not take that form up there nor give him a ride to take it. That he would have to find another way. And so he did.
And I actually feel better. I feel like I have a little bit of control. I feel like I have shown myself a little self-value.
Later today, hours after I had made the initial self-realization about my specific situation, I found the video below. I don’t agree with everything he’s saying here, but there’s some good stuff in reference to co-dependence and boundaries.
In fact I had formed some of the same thoughts on what he says about boundaries before I heard him say them in the video.
-Boundaries are one way of understanding your own values, which is part of having a relationship with yourself.
-There’s an aura about boundaries that reflect the self, and shows outwardly, because I think knowing you have boundaries, allows you to feel a certain amount of self-confidence.
I also want to comment on what he says about karmic relationships. I don’t take this to mean anything about past lives and the relationships from those lives. To me it’s about how those familiar (frustrating, abusive, toxic) relationships keep coming into our lives because of the programming we were subjected to.