Boundaries never hurt. Punishment hurts. There is a big difference between issuing an ultimatum and enforcing a boundary. When you enforce a boundary, you are protecting yourself and holding others accountable for the consequences of *their* actions.
Consequences do not equal punishment. They occur naturally with every decision or action we make and take, and they can be positive, neutral or negative. If we prevent people from experiencing consequences, we teach them that we don't value ourselves so why should they?
"There are only 2 ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
Boundaries are about you and no one else. For example, one of my personal boundaries is that I refuse to gossip or engage in gossip. So if you try to involve me in gossip I will excuse myself from the conversation. You are free to gossip—just not with me.
Too many times we discuss “boundaries” in the context of what we will permit others to do in our life. Which is not a “boundary” this is control.
I think Starkey gave an excellent example when he said, “Try to think of it as leaving the CONVERSATION, not leaving HER. With the promise (which you then need to follow thru on) that the conversation will continue when she is ready to speak respectfully to you.”
Walking away from a spouse and rejecting all interaction because you don’t like the way a spouse communicates is not a boundary. It is control and (in my opinion) it borders on abuse because it doesn’t give your spouse a choice.
“I refuse to talk to you when you are screaming” is not the same as “I think this discussion is important. But I think we need to take a break. Can we discuss this tomorrow night after dinner?”
If your spouse refuses to take a break then you need to discuss changing the volume.
But you are not permitted to end a discussion without your spouse agreeing. Again, walking away (except where your physical safety is threatened) is not a boundary—it is control.
“I realize you are very upset. But I must be honest, right now I am more focused on how you are saying things to me than what you are saying. Understanding your point of view and understanding your feelings are very important to me. Can we figure out another way to have this discussion?” Is an entirely different conversation than, “I am not going to listen to you scream at me.”
I cringe when people say one of their “boundaries” is not permitting their spouse to “scream” at them. Or not permitting their spouse to go out with their friends. Or not permitting their spouse to do anything.
Giving “permission” is not a word spouses should use with each other. The spousal relationship is a partnership. Spouses should “reach an agreement.”
I like what Underdog said, "Boundaries never hurt."
Boundaries are for YOU. For example, I don't let people smoke in my car. It doesn't mean that I am controlling them; they still can smoke. Just not in my car. That's my personal space. Do you see now the general concept behind boundaries?
Let's take your recent example here: "If we are going to communicate effectively and resolve seperation/custody/property issues then I need you to actually read my emails and respond."
Is that a true boundary or more of a controlling statement?
You cannot make someone read emails or not. However, you can facilitate improved communications by setting the tone and coming across as cooperative by seeking out the other person's thoughts.
I am not up to speed on your specific sitch. However, you need to differentiate between a true boundary or trying to control something (event, outcome, etc.) out of frustration or fear.
My WW and I are separated for over a year and I haven't talked to her in over 4 months. I feel like I should establish a boundary regarding her email communication (or lack thereof).
I'm trying to get bills transferred and take care of some of the financial stuff before the D in a couple of weeks (which she filed for BTW). She doesn't respond to my emails and I constantly have to send her follow up emails, which is a waste of my time.
Please help me draft boundary text message or email to her that does not sound controlling or is not an ultimatum. Thanks.
Me: 34 W: 30 Together: 11 years Married: 4 years BD: 4/2014 A Discovered: 5/2014 WW Filed: 7/2014 Separated: 8/2014 Divorced: 10/2015
Hi Thriver, Jim helped me with a little technique which has served me well. Not something to over-use, but helpful if you're not getting a response. The technique is to say that you will do X unless you hear from her by Y. So...
Dear W, I'll be arranging X this week, unless I hear from you otherwise by Tuesday.
We had a couple things that needed both H and I on the phone and H did help with that...but the above response can be useful if you can make the change alone and just don't want 'no response' to hold you up.
Hope this helps xx
T 13 M 7 Me 48 H 46 SS 15 BD 7.14 PA D final 5.16 (H filed)
We receive & we lose, and must try to achieve gratitude & embrace with whole hearts whatever of life that remains after the losses - Dubus