01 Jul It’s My Job
I was speaking with a friend several days ago about another person who drives both of us a little crazy and certainly fires anger in both of us. I was starting to rant a little and get on my soapbox (imagine that – me on soapbox!) and then in my head I heard my own voice talking to many of my clients. I then said to my friend something like, “I’ve got to remember that when someone gets me to respond in a way that’s less that I am, it’s not their fault.”
In therapy it goes something like this. We will be discussing one of my favorite topics – boundary making. It’s often easy enough to convince people that they need to make these healthy boundaries but sometimes it’s harder to convince them that it is also their job to maintain them.
“Raleigh, I told my mother that I was not going to leave work and come running any more for things that were trivial.”
“Good, Susie, I’m proud of you!”
“Well, I did ok until yesterday when she called me freaking out over not being able to record Dr. Phil and could I come fix it before 3. I was so mad at her for not hearing me when I said I wasn’t going to do that anymore.”
“Susie, it’s not you mom’s job to maintain your boundary. It’s yours.”
Susie, understandably, was hoping Mom would hear and agree by not asking but that’s not what boundary making is all about. It’s about being strong enough to hold the line where it needs to be in spite of the pressure to move it. What I said to my friend was the same. When I don’t do what I know I should, I can’t blame the other person. When I yell back at yelling or return cruelty for cruelty or infidelity for infidelity, whose fault is it? Well, it may feel right and just to blame the one who fired the first shot but at the end of the day, my job is me. Simple as that.