How trauma fractures the psyche, causes dissociation and creates the persecutor/protector in our psyche.

In response to trauma or emotional abandonment our psyche will splinter or fracture.  Ideally parents help us to mediate as young ones the big feelings we have to deal with and help us to integrate them. But in situations of abuse or neglect this doesn’t happen and we are left to contain unbearable feeling.  Since all feelings occur and are felt in the body if our parents don’t help us to do this we are left with the split off feeling buried or held in tissue or psychic space.  Memories associated with the feelings and accompanying sensory traumatic events then become somatic and walled off, they still affect us we just don’t know why and how.

Jung wrote on how dissociation works and this overview comes from Donald Kalsched’s excellent book The Inner World of Trauma : Archetypal Defences of the Human Spirit.  

individuals who might be described as ‘schizoid’ in the sense they had suffered traumatic experiences in childhood which had overwhelmed their often unusual sensitivities and driven them inward.  Often, the interior worlds into which they retreated were childlike worlds, rich in fantasy but with a very wistful, melancholy cast.  In this museum like “sanctuary of innocence”… (they) clung to a remnant of their childhood experience which had been magical and sustaining at one time, but which did not grow along with the rest of them.  Although they had come to therapy out of a need, they did not really want to grow or change in the ways that would truly satisfy that need.  To be more precise one part of them wanted to change and a strong part of them resisted this change.  THEY WERE DIVIDED IN THEMSELVES.

In most cases these patients were extremely bright, sensitive individuals who had suffered on account of their sensitivity, some acute or cumulative emotional trauma in early life.  All of them had become prematurely self sufficient in their childhoods, cutting off genuine relations with their parents during their developing years and tending to see themselves as victims of others’ aggression and could not mobilize effective self assertion when it was needed to defend themselves or to individuate.  Their outward façade of toughness and self sufficiency often concealed a secret dependency they were ashamed of, so in psychotherapy they found it very difficult to relinquish their own self care protection and allow themselves to depend on a very real person.

Kalsched goes on to point out that such people developed what Elaine Aron has called a virultent persecutor-protector figure in the psyche which jealously cut them off from the outer world, while at the same time mercilessly attacking them with abuse and self criticism from within.   Kalsched believed this figure had a daimonic cast calling on the idea of Jung that energy split off into the psyche can become malevolent and acts as a powerful defence against what Aron calls ‘linking’ with others and with the vulnerable innocent or inner child it has been called in to protect.    The figure may not only be malevolent it may also be angelic or mythical or heavenly in cast.  Together with the inner child/innocent this force formed an active psychic dyad (or duplex) structure which Kalched calls the archetypal self care system. 

Jung showed that under the stress of trauma the childhood psyche with draws energy from the scene of the earlier injury.  If this cant happen a part of thes self must be withdrawn and ego thus splits into fragements or dissociates and it is a natural psychic defence mechanism that must be understood and respected.

Experience becomes discontinuous.  Mental imagery may be split off from affect, or both affect and image may be dissociated from conscious knowledge.  Flashbacks of sensation seeminlgy disconnected from behavioural context occur.  The memory of one’s life has holes in it – a full narrative history cannot be told by the person whose life has been interruted by trauma.

For a person who has expereinced unbearable pain, teh psychological defence of dissociation allows external life to go on but at a great internal cost.  The outer sequalae of the trauma continue to haunt the inner world, and they do this, Jung discovered, in the form of certain images which cluster around a strong affect – what Jung called ‘feeling toned complexes’.  These complexes tend to behave autonomously as frightening inner beings, and are respresented in dreams as attacking ‘enemies’, vicious animals, etc. (not under the control of the will… autonomous.. .opposed to conscious intentions of the person…. they are tyrannical and pounce upon the dreamer or bearer with ferocious intensity.)

In dissociation the psyche may also splinter into various personalities which may carry rejected aspects of the person.  The mind becomes ‘split apart’ and such defences involve a lot of internal aggression as one part of the psyche tries to attack and protect the other more vulnerable, rejected parts.  The psyche cannot integrate these parts without therapy and active help.

In the course of natural therapy for such people the hostile attacking or protective force that acts to keep the person remote and in lock down will begin to arise in dreams and active imagination.  Elain Aron’s book The Vulnerable Self in Chapter Six “Dealing with Inner Critic and Protector-Persecutor” outlines some of this process as she give more insight into the role the persecutor-protector plays for highly sensitive individuals.  She also gives some examples which will help fellow sufferers to deal with their own dreams or nightmares where such forces arise. After dreaming we can through a practice of active imagination find a way to interact with these forces and help get them working more for us than against us. Aron’s book will help you in this regard too.

Donald Kalsched’s book is also an excellent reference for anyone suffering trauma.  It is more analytical in tone and quiet detailed.   The self care system that works to protect us can end up working against us too, this is the prominent point Kalsched makes in his book.  The inner persecutor-protector will sometimes work to organise a suicide if the psyche feels too much under threat from internal or external forces.  The persecutor-protector needs to really be understood by anyone attempting to free themselves from the crippling effects of childhood trauma.

I have a second associated post to post after this with some of the information from Elaines’ book on the persecutor-protector.  I will post it and link it to this post later on.

Being kind and patient with ourselves

Sadly in our society so few of us learn to be kind and soft towards ourselves.  We may equate this with an attitude that won’t help us to get far or achieve our goals but if we suffer from a remorseless inner critic that won’t let up (most common to suffers of PTSD and Complex PTSD or childhood trauma), its going to be harder to reach any goals anyway.

Sadly some of us were not encouraged in our childhood, we may have been shamed or blamed.  We may have learned to pretend or to put on masks, we may never have been rewarded for authenticity.  In my own childhood I was stomped on many times, or just left alone and ignored and in adulthood I have learned holding onto resentment about it isn’t going to help and if I don’t change that same internalised attitude of being too critical of myself or others I am not going to get far, in fact my perfectionism will make me too weak to even start.

So it was with a smile I read the following reading from Tian Dayton last night about patience.  Patience may be a disregarded or maligned quality in modern society but if it’s well done patience can get us much further and bring our closer to our dreams.  The following reading is about self love too and today I am sharing it as the Sun starts to move through critical Virgo and we are drawn toward noticing the earthly practical dimensions of our experience and how far we have come or not come, let’s be kind to ourselves.

Patience

Today I will be patient with myself.  When I do not do as well as I wish I would I will not make that a reason to get down on myself.  I will instead recognise that the fastest way to bring myself out of a painful funk is through understanding and being good to myself.  I get caught in my own cycle of shame, resentment and blame.  If a child is upset,  I comfort it because I understand that that is what will make things better.  Calling a child names will increase its hurt and shame.  I will not call myself names either.  Rather, I will show love and patience in every way I can.

I am patient with myself.  

Patience accomplishes its object, while hurry speeds to its ruin.

Sa’di

A brilliant resource for anxious attachment

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If like me you suffer from anxiety or anxious or insecure attachment issues you may find the above resource very helpful.  I have not read the entire book yet but its already given me so many tools not only to manage my anxieties in relationship but just anxiety in general.  There are a number of practical exercises you can do and the authors explain the way to recognise triggers, ask in a caring way for a time out without triggering your partner’s own issues, self soothe then find a way to reconnect from a calmer space where you can speak from your heart rather than from your trauma or defences.

Those of us with anxious attachment and Complex PTSD can really struggle to hold onto loving relationships and relate in a loving way.  This is a resource that actually gives strategies that are useful and will help you to understand more about how anxious attachment affects your relationships.   I highly recommend it.

Shut the door

Dear Self

It is perfectly acceptable

To close the door

On those who want to bring you down

It is okay to brush off the hurtful words of those

Who do not speak the truth

It is a gift to be able to know your own value

To be humble

In the sense of having a grounded realistic knowing of your self

Some criticism may be constructive

And then it pays to open the door

If there is something new to learn

Or something to gain by finding another way

But this I say

Always trust your own heart

And your inner knowing

Because when all is said and done

When you close the door at the end of the day

You are the one you must come home to

And be at peace with

Combust / errupt /apologise

There is a pattern that I go through inside when I have a massive reaction to something or am pushed or push myself too far. Due to the way anger was expressed or not expressed in my family I have never been good at it, nor at self assertion.   I think it goes back to both parents not having advocates when they were young both having lost their Dads before adolescence.  At home Mum would storm around and errupt and Dad would just laugh or seek distance.  It is something I have shared about in other posts.

Today when I felt this anger just rumbling away and then unleashed it on someone I thought of my father particularly.  I thought of all he put up with from my mother and older brother and then I thought of how he ended up with stomach cancer from an ulcer.  I get gut problems myself when I feel stressed.  I thought of his Chiron Venus Pluto wound and of the legacy he may have bequeathed me by never asserting a boundary with my Mum nor apologising to her when he needed to.   I know I am getting a powerful message too from my inner self.

My pattern is to hold onto my anger and upset for a long time.  I try my best to manage it alone and to please others by trying hard to be there and be responsible and be noticed, redoubling my efforts when I fear a connection may be broken, but at times the problem is I think I can be too responsible and getting noticed by doing something is not always the best thing.  Anyway today I blew it off in a text message and felt immediately better as I was aware I had over stretched myself over past weeks and was starting to feel resentful about it but swallowing that resentment. Problem is now I feel that I need to apologise for blowing off when really I know my therapist would tell me that I don’t.  I dont need to apologise for expressing resentment that my own needs aren’t getting met but I do get into an argument with myself telling myself it is my responsibility to care for me and set my boundaries rather than blame others.  So on it goes.  The bottom line is surely that my anger is a message for me rather than for anyone else!

I just got myself out for a little while after a very intense morning and am about to have lunch but I also thought the best thing may be to write a post about it to get some feedback from others who may go through a similar pattern.  So I am asking, when you get angry do you feel guilty in some way. Do you feel like you need to apologise?

I know at times I DO need to apologise and at others good friends will understand I reacted in the way I did for a legitimate reason because at that time I was pushed to my absolute limit after a long time of trying to just push through and grin and bear it.   At these times when Mars in on my case (and over the next few weeks it squares natal Neptune in my third house which is a transit in which we often feel we are forced to swim through mud) I need to keep a handle on it.  I don’t want to sever good relationships but neither do I want to collapse again because asserting myself and my needs at times feels so goddamn scary.  Feedback much appreciated.

Holding to our boundary?

I guess every victim of emotional neglect or abuse has a struggle knowing what’s what, who is really harmful and better not to be around.  Feeling anxious when we receive a call from one of our ‘triggers’ can be a trigger, but due to our past holes in development we don’t alway feel we have the right not to take the call.  I just read a post on unconditional love and part of me thought, yeah, I am not sure that I believe in that any more.  Giving people the benefit of the doubt or trying to be stronger or a bigger person is what a Good Guy with the feeling we dont have a right to legitimate needs or boundaries is taught to do by conditioning.

When love is absent and real care and empathy, where do we go?  What we experience is a terrible numbness, emptiness or void, a soul pain that often is not understood intellectually but since our body is really the home of our soul, somewhere inside our bodies know and yet for a child in this situation what can we do.  When we cannot leave physically, we choose a form of dissociation, its something I have been thinking a lot about while reading writer Jeanette Winterson’s autobiography.   Many of us escape into books or tv or we start to write from a young age.  Like me Jeanette never had her boundaries respected, her adoptive mother violated them and read her diaries, she threw out and burned all of her books.  Jeanette wrote in the quote I posted yesterday that she learned early on that anything could be taken, and the only thing that could not was her what was inside, her capacity to express and to create.  For some of us, however, if our insides are invalidated and we are told we are bad or selfish it can be hard to hold onto the internal reality, too.

The abuser who wants control over us wants to destroy our reality as well as our understanding of them as a perpetrator so they turn it around on us, we are the ones who are selfish or too vulnerable or too sensitive for just feeling normal feelings that any caring emotionally connected person would.  I had a commenter on one of my blogs yesterday tell me that feelings will get us in trouble, yes if we dont know how to use them as internal messaging systems and I dont think the person really got the jist of the post.   This does not apply to feeling ‘bad’ which is a feeling that may be grown by thoughts that we are incompetent in some way when really that is just a form of depression or an introjected voice talking to us inside our heads.

Dissociation for many of us was a way to survive trauma.  It was a way of preserving the inner self, the problem comes when we turn self protection and externalised fear into global concepts where we feel the entire world is bad and not to be trusted.  As survivors we will always be wary and we need good boundaries.  We need to know what hurt us was valid and not just all in our imagination as we will often be told by gaslighters.  We need to trust our feelings not fear them and then put them to good use.   We may also not ever need to forgive certain abuse and this need to forgive may be something that is forced on us by moralistic people.   Abuse is not okay, its not okay to trammel a sensitive person and lead them to believe their reality is skewed when they are trying to be who they are and express their true and real selves.   I had to leave one Al Anon group when two members told me I was not allowed to express anger over my Mum’s abandonment of me as a child.  While I know my Mum went through something similar she never allowed herself to be angry at her own mother and as a result she never had good emotional awareness or strong boundaries later in life.  The pain meds she was on in the end ruined the last years of her life.

I have watched two siblings struggle with anger and self assertion.  I have seen them cut down when they were trying to break free but also I have seen them become manic with the unresolved fear and anxiety we all absorbed in our family home was not contained or made sense of in therapy only treated medically with a cocktail of drugs.  I’ll be damned if I will shut up about it.  I makes me angry and so, so sad.  My living sister is not able to be emotionally and assertively present in any way these days and she is collapsed as a person.  In the end she could not break out of her feeling wounded prison.   It makes me cry,  especially leading up the anniversary of my older sister’s death which occured on Easter Sunday in 2014.

Knowing who we are.  Holding to our boundary.  Knowing what we feel makes perfect sense these things can only come out of the long hard painstaking work of emotional recovery and these things are not given to us we have to earn our right to boundaries over and over again and we struggle so remorsefully with self doubt as our ego strength was never encouraged.  As children we were not helped to develop a heathy ego or good boundaries, in fact we were conversely actively stymied in our emotional education and so we have work extra hard now.  And we cannot afford to open once again to emotional invalidation from those who would try to convince us our boundaries are wrong or there is something wrong with us for protesting neglect, abuse or betrayal, that it is wrong to have an ego and that we should come to love everyone unconditionally.  Yes hurt people hurt people and we can have compassion but if that means we lose our own passion for rigourous emotional health and self care that kind of over compassion can be dangerous.

A good heart

I spent a lot of years in the rooms of AlcoholicsAnonymous before I decided to concentrate more energy on personal one to one therapy in my recovery and what I witnessed there was that most people who own up to addiction are good people at heart, people who had a lot of challenges or loss or may have turned to addictions to cope with emotional neglect or abuse.  And that is why it hurts my heart when those who work so hard at recovery day in day out put themselves down.  I know I do it to myself all the time and am so glad I found  good therapist who helped me to see beyond this to deeper injuries and lacks which drive this inner self critical perfectionist within me that formed as a defence against loneliness and emotional neglect/abandonment.  It just really hits me full force when I witness others doing the same and so I felt the need to write this to affirm what goodness I see in your heart, all people working in recovery to overcome past neglect, abuse, humiliation, betrayal or pain.

I believe there is an essential part of us that is our core and that is whole and good, it is complete and it does not really require anything outside of the self to complete it.  I hear echoes of this in the Buddhist idea of bodhichitta which is a name given to that which exists beyond and beneath all the thoughts and actions and mind forms we engage with that is purely wholesome and complete, lacking in nothing.  It is really only when we have the time to sit with ourselves and feel deep within in the silence that I feel we most truly touch base with this part of ourselves that knows at heart we are connected to everything.  It happens when the voices of criticism and shame are silent and/or when we can answer back with love.

In this place live memories of all those souls we connected to in our lives and even if we had tough experiences with those people underneath there is a part of our soul that knows this experience was given to us for a reason, not one we chose but one that we can and do learn from if we can trust ourselves to be honest and question deeply inside.   I wrote a poem about this the other day but a strange thing happened it just vaporised from WordPress.  I was at the library typing it and I hit publish and it just disappeared.. very strange, it was called Eternal and was about a spiritual experience I had recently of revisiting painful relationships from my past and feeling them resolved.   Oh well its gone now and its a mystery as to why.

I am presently reading Bev Aisbett’s book I Love Me.   As a survivor of anxiety and panic attacks herself Beth has worked for nearly 30 years on a path of self discovery to help others, what she sees as lying at the basis of all of these disorders is actually a lack of self love, not self love of the narcissistic kind, but that which lets us know our true worth as souls and persons equal to others.   When I read this kind of stuff it fills me with the understanding the self love is really the start of all love, I know it’s a kind of truism we hear a lot about but the more we can work to stay in touch with this pure essence of us which is heart centred and that means taking good care of ourselves across all levels, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual the more connected we feel, the less anxious and the less alone.

We are wont to condemn self love, but what we really mean to condemn is contrary to self love.  It is that mixture of selfishness and self hate that permanently pursues us, that prevents us from loving others and that prohibits us from  loving ourselves.

Paul Valery

 

Beautiful soul

Holding2.jpg

Beautiful soul

I wish you could see the light in you

I wish that you could know that you are

Worthy of love

Please remember that

Just because you are alone

And struggle on days

That does not mean you are a failure

There is so much

A single soul

Lives through in any life

And so often when we needed someone there

To hold our hand

We found ourselves alone

And we may have been told

That it was something that we did

That made everyone go away

But we also forget

That what is truly for us

Will not go past us

If we open our heart in love

To another loving soul

So don’t let your inner voices

Make you feel small or feel ashamed

Or if you do

Just be tender to that inner self who suffers

Who longs so deeply for the comfort and caress

Of your soothing embrace

It is not selfish to care for the Self.

I can very much identify as a person who has attempted for most of her life to be a good guy (even though I am a woman), that is why coming across Andrea Mathew’s book Letting Go of Good : Dispel the Myth of Goodness to find Your Genuine Self was such a helpful ‘find’ to come across in my local library.  I have shared some excerpts from it before and I have a post banked up to share on how I always identified as a ‘bad’ self when I seemed to fall short of ideals promoted by my emotionally repressive family and Catholic education.

I remember a while back when I was in recovery and starting to attempt to be myself and not automatically go along with what my family and sister wanted.  She said to me after being extremely demanding and aggressive “you always were such a selfish child, throwing tantrums”.   I probably did vocally express myself when something triggering was going down that said I could have done with a lot more of an authentic Self growing up.  If I had it I may not have had to mask a lot behind alcohol and drugs for so many years and had such a struggle in later years to take care of myself.

Anyway I was just reading the chapter in Mathews book on how the good guy amongst us have a terror of being called selfish, which is a shame and doesn’t end up serving us well in life.   So when Mathews poses the question ‘What Does It Really Mean to be Selfish?‘ this is her answer.

Actually, the term selfish serves no real purpose other than to manipulate others.  It isn’t selfish to think about the Self – for how else will one become acquainted with the Self if one doesn’t think about it?  Your feelings for and about the Self are not selfish – one of the healthiest things we can do is fall in love with the Self so that we love its company, cherish its essence, and desire to be in its presence all the time.   It isn’t selfish to do things for the Self – the Self needs us to do those things, otherwise we are disconnected from it.  To act purely out of the Self is how we live an authentic life.

So then are those manipulators (those who tell us…. You know I need this!  How can you say you love me if..?  If you don’t help me, I’ll…  You are the ONLY one who cares….. You are the most self centred person I know – said the first time you refuse to enable an addiction or something of like nature, after you have given years of time, energy and love) selfish?  No.  They are trying to survive by using the identity out of which they were taught to live…..

What about narcissists?  Aren’t they selfish?  In a word, No but they sure can put on a good act.  The truth is that true narcissists have a personality disorder.  That doesn’t mean we should feel sorry for them.   But it does mean that they have wrapped their identity up so much in distortion and unreality that they live in that distortion and unreality as if it were the only truth.   The best thing a good guy can do is avoid them.

But good guys have a hard time doing that, because they are not very good at discernment.  Discernment would mean that they would have to see and take responsiblity for their own end of these manipulative encounters. That would mean that they would have to start being more authentic.. taking the risks that are a natural journey to authenticity will finally allow them peace.

According to Mathews, those risks include letting go of a number of myths good guys can live by that end up only hurting them and stealing power.  These include :

  1. Thinking it’s not okay to judge others (despite evidence to the contrary those others may be mean, abusive or damaging).
  2. Thinking fall in love is immediately equated with giving over trust or hoping for trust before evidence that such trust is warranted or earned has been given.
  3. Believing it’s always a good thing to feel guilty when often guilt is unwarranted if we are following our own necessary authentic moral code that may go against social mores which restrict or limit that authenticity.
  4. Believing we are responsible for the way others feel when we are just being ourselves and behaving with authenticity out of no desire to hurt or harm.
  5. Being overly loyal, when such loyalty is not always warranted.
  6. Believing that to be good we must make sacrifices and always do our duty.
  7. Believing in unconditional love when such a belief may be harmful to our Self or other’s Selves (e.g. enabling an addiction when it is clear it is destroying another person)
  8. Believing one must always forgive regardless of how terrible the hurt or how absence the lack of remorse shown by the other party.
  9. Believing one must always smile and ‘be positive’, even when we are not feeling either happy or positive.
  10. Always trying to be the bigger person.  As Mathews explains the person who is always trying to be the bigger person does not actually belong to themselves.

The good guy who is always trying to be the bigger person is very afraid that if he takes ownership of his own life, he will feel terribly guilty.  He will feel guilty because he does not belong to himself, and he is therefore betraying those to whom he belongs.   So  he will hide his deepest essence – which, is the primary gift he has to give the world – because he cannot allow himself to really own it.  When he pretends to be the bigger person, it is to allow his life to be owned yet again by someone other than himself. This is a tragic and empty way to life… it is very possible to take ownership of our lives.

Getting out from under some of these myths can help us who struggle as good guys or emotional caretakers to start pulling back from some internalized proscriptions that do not serve us well.  They can help us begin to dispel the illusion that it is selfish to honour, protect and take care of ourselves.

 

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Teach me to care and not to care (too much)!

It’s not easy for me to even write the above headliner for this post.  I feel that at all times I need to have compassion for others and that it may be my responsibility to do something to make things better, after all isn’t that what open hearted, caring people do?  That said I know when I get into trouble by being over concerned for another person’s suffering.  It then affects me a lot and makes it harder for me to live my life, I may also feel that if I don’t show enough empathy or compassion I am being mean or may lose connection or love when really I may just be trying to draw a boundary between not over giving and my own needs.

In the early days of my last relationship a lot of it was given over to hearing all about the pain of my ex’s past failed relationship with a girlfriend who went into a psychosis.  I am not entirely clear but I am sure drugs of some kind were involved at the time.  I was abstinent then for over 13 years of sobriety and knowing I was a sober person in recovery attracted him to me, while we were together he tried to ‘pretend’ he wasn’t in to drinking or drugging though I would never put that kind of pressure on a relationship ever as my ex husband drank moderately throughout all the 11 years of our marrage.  I had alarm bells go off when he was down playing not only this last person he was in relationship with as well as his ex wife, saying all kinds of things about her and how she let him down which turned out to be all untrue when I found out the real story a few months after our relationship ended.  Toward the end I also heard he had been drinking and drugging behind my back and then trying to blame me for putting pressure on him NOT To which I NEVER did.

Anyway, all throughout the relationship I was often pressured to give up my boundary if I was to gain his love.  He made it clear early on that his needs came first.   I was to keep in line and support him as he needed it and it was made clear that if I got ‘over emotional’ I would be shut out, sometimes for days or weeks at a time.  Sadly I was starting to grieve so many of my earlier losses just before I met him and that relationship gave me an opportunity to lift the lid on a lot of pain that I was then shamed and blamed for.   I was told that I must do therapy but it was out of the question for him….

Long story short I ended up giving myself away to be loved and in the end losing myself along the way while unconsciously blaming myself for not measuring up.  And now that I am thinking of trying to have a relationship again a lot of this is rearing its head…..I have a lot of fears based on past things he said to me that still dog me even though several therapists have pointed out to me that they were not reasonable nor true.

This time around I know I need to take care of me and keep my boundaries strong.   I can be compassionate but not fall for sob stories, even after that last relationship I got scammed on internet sites twice for not large sums of money (but considerable ones).  I ended up putting a boundary in place with the first guy and was foolish to trust the second one when he said it was just a loan to cover an over extension that would be paid back in a few weeks. It was just another lesson in a different form.

Anyway it was while thinking of this issue that I just picked up Bev Aisbett’s book on 30 Days 30 Ways to Overcome Anxiety and it opened to page 158 of Day 23 entitled “None of Your Beeswax” a chapter devoted to the dangers of people pleasing (which she points out is very common to people experiencing anxiety, in her words “especially if LITTLE YOU is seeing others as having POWER over you”).

if you’re trying to keep everyone happy (usually at your own expense) then you’re either letting people wander all over your space, doing what they like in YOUR territory, or you’re jumping the fence to fix their broken tape or dig up their weeds while they LET YOU.

RESCUING is another form of people pleasing.  It means you spend a lot of time worrying about others’ problems, advising them, jumping in to help them if you think they aren’t up to doing things themselves.

While all this sounds NOBLE it can, in fact, be a big factor in keeping your OVERWHELMED and ANXIOUS.  That is because you’re not only trying to meet your own needs (if at all) but you are also second guessing the needs of OTHERS.

Freeing yourself from wobbly boundaries is the undertanding that you can’t really SAVE anyone; nor is it your job.  It is also the understanding that what others do is not yours to TAKE ON BOARD, nor CONTROL.

The only way for a person to solve his or her problem is first to OWN it and take RESPONSIBILITY for it.  Not everyone one WILL do that but basically, if it’s not YOUR problem, it’s not yours to SOLVE.

The only thing you have CONTROL over is how you RESPOND to their behavior.

When you spend less time worrying about what someone ELSE is doing, you have more time to get you sorted

According to Aisbett a key clue to the fact we may have lost a boundary or over run it is : feelings of resentment during or after an interaction.  When working with boundaries we also need to be honest about when reactions are coming out of a fear of disapproval from someone.  We need to be fearless and honest in stating our limit about what we need and don’t need as well and this can be threatening or triggering if we fear abandonment due to past issues.

As I look back to my difficult relationship with my ex I can now see he had no problem with setting his own boundaries and I am sure I had lesson in this regard.  A failure of empathy though is an issue which can be damaging.

We can show empathy to someone without feeling like we need to fix or solve things for them.  Showing empathy actually has been proved to increase the production of feel good hormones such as oxytocin.  But when empathy becomes over care, over concern and over giving, it soon becomes problematic and may come from a refusal at times to take care of our own life.  It may also be a strong contributing factor to anxiety.