Boundary assertion

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#1 May 2 - 9AM
GhostBuster's picture

Boundary assertion

Hi everyone. Just thought I'd post something about my own progress trying to assert my boundaries with people in my life. Through therapy, I've discovered I have low boundary assertion which has made me vulnerable to Ns and others who like to trample on them. As Barbara and others have said, asserting and sticking to your boundaries will go a long way to keeping Ns out of our lives.

I've mentioned before but since I'm not here as often as I used to be (16 months NC on Monday!!) I'll tell this again. Finding out about Ns and being involved romantically with 2 of them really opened my eyes to the number of N and narcissistic people in my life. They really were everywhere. And I think (as does my therapist) that my inability to assert my boundaries (even over seemingly small things) probably was the reason for this. Not having my needs and feelings seen since childhood (raised by an N), I turned into a people pleasure/assimilator who puts everyone else's needs above my own.

So, I've even had to widdle down the number of family I associate with in this process. I'm really only close anymore to an aunt and a cousin. The rest of them, adios! So, one of my male cousins has a new job and has been calling me at work to try to do business with our company. So, typical...doesn't call or inquire about my well-being until I could potentially do something for him ($$$), ring-a-ling! So, I haven't picked up when I see it's him and I just let him leave a voicemail. So the other day, he leaves a voicemail wishing me happy birthday and say he hopes I'm doing something special to celebrate that night. Well, my birthday was a month ago. I just shook my head. So typical. I shared this with the aunt I'm close to and she brushed it off as "well, at least he's trying to wish you happy birthday." He's an apologist who doesn't want to see the selfishness in our family (although I know she does see it). So she calls me a couple nights ago, after talking to this particular cousin, and informs me he says he was misinformed by his sister as to my birth date. And then she says, "I'll just tell him you thought it was funny and everything's fine." And I lost it. I firmly told her: "Don't you dare tell him that. It wasn't funny. It wasn't okay. and most of all it wasn't surprising. You don't need to tell him anything about me."

s It felt very good to make my feelings clear and not give him a "free pass" as I've done all my life. Now, it's not that I expect everyone to honor me on my birthday. It's not that big of a deal to me in the scheme of things. It just punctuates how these people have been in my life...nowhere to be found unless they want something. And I'm done with that.

May 2 - 2PM
GhostBuster's picture

Thanks, both of you

Yes, I realize now just how necessary it is to have firm boundaries. I always thought I was being nice and empathic to others by putting their needs first. I was doing myself such a disservice in the process. And it does feel great to tell people "no" when they're trying to trample on my boundaries. I know those still in my life are a bit confused by my boundary assertion, but that's okay. I'm still good to them, but I just "state my truth" (as the therapist likes to put it). Not that it's easy though reversing a life's worth of behavior. Kind of like learning to walk again. But I'm taking the right steps, I know. No, NeverAgain, I believe my father was the N (and an alcoholic, which as I've read can affect a child much the same as being raised by an N). My father's been dead for 12 years, so there's no way to really know for sure. But his behavior is extremely consistent with an N, so I'm pretty sure. And my mom was the typical person who felt "stuck" with an N for a husband. Depressed, lots of physical ailments, tired all the time, neglectful of my needs due to her own depression and misery. My mom's been gone for 22 years, so I can't talk to her about it either, obviously. Narcissism just seems to really explain what I saw growing up...and it's affects explain how I am as an adult.
May 2 - 10AM
neveragain5's picture


Congratulations, Ghostbuster! When did you figure out that your mom was an N? That is awesome that your therapist has helped you to recognize about boundaries. It really is important and I have had a very similiar experience to yours. Sticking up for yourself is scary at first. I would find myself getting anxious about the consequences. Once you realize that it is healthy and you see the benefits, it really is a life-changing experience. You start to relize that it feels GREAT and your confidence grows. You can still be a nice person AND respect yourself. :)
May 2 - 1PM (Reply to #2)
Amazed's picture

GoodNews Ghostbuster!!

I am proud of you, and know how difficult and rewarding it can be. Awesome job, and so glad to hear you are making progress and realizing something very important, learning about setting boundaries. The is so good, so important, something we don't learn if we had a N parent,,because chances are they violated our boundaries mercilously. When we are targeted by a pathological N, they hit our boundaries again and again and again. Like a gambler putting nickels into a slot machine. They just keep hedging over our boundaries until they get the big win, us blowing up, breaking down, freaking out, asking them for more. Jackpot! Well, now is the time to keep those boundaries strong, they will serve to protect you like an invisible fence. It is awesome to have our boundaries respected, that is the best feeling of all. Hopfully new people in our life will do that.