Sunday, April 11, 2010

Don't do that! ... Well, okay... Maybe... Yes...

Holly from the SITS blogfrog community unknowingly gave me a great idea for a new blog post: Setting boundaries. It sounds so easy, doesn't it? And in theory it is. All relationships need their boundaries that define it. We all have said 'I am willing to go to point A and anything beyond that is off limits'. What happens when we are actually faced with our friend, sibling, parent, or partner crossing that line though? Would you be willing to compromise your boundaries?

A quick search on Amazon.com gives us a long list of books about setting boundaries full of helpful (and not so helpful) suggestions on this topic. When dealing with a loved one with a mental illness like bipolar disorder I have found this to be extremely difficult. I could read book after book giving me wonderful ideas on how to set and define boundaries. I am then faced with the reality of it.

For us, setting boundaries has become an issue. We can agree and adhere to these rules while everything is going well. Once L gets into one of his 'bad' phases these tend to get thrown out of the window easily. I know we need to keep these rules, he knows we need to keep them. But when I am faced with the decision of making my husband stick to the 'no spending more than x dollars a months' and his reaction to that OR letting him spend the money and avoiding said reaction, I will generally chose option #2. Part of bipolar disorder for my husband is poor impulse control (especially while manic). Generally this shows itself by him 'needing' to spend money on things we don't need and at times cannot afford. If this need is not met he can get very irritable and loud. We have made great strides on this. He by being able to stay in control better and me by standing my ground better. But it was a long road to get to where we are and we still have a long road ahead of us.

Setting boundaries has been a struggle for us and I am sure will continue to be so. All we can do is to keep working on this. As long as we are both willing to do just that, I think we will make more and more progress.

1 comment:

Paula said...

Boundaries, oh yes, I can relate so very much. During recent trauma therapy we made a couple of very challenging exercises and my reaction is very much like your header. I do know my boundaries, I do state them calmy. If not adhered too, I stumble! I habe dann später diese Übungen mit meinem Partner gemacht und wir haben viel gelernt dabei. Allerdings ist mir auch ein Satz in Erinnerung geblieben: Grenzen müssen täglich neu gezogen werden. ZUmal sie von Person, Nahe, Situation etc abhängig sind und NIE in Stein geschrieben sein sollten. Grenzen sind bedingt flexible oder man tauscht ein ungesundes Pattern für ein anderes. Nun ist mein Parner nicht bipolar und ich muss täglich mit ihm und allen anderen meine Grenzen neu durchsetzten. sehr ermüdend. genauso ermüdend wir die Grenzen nciht einzuhalten, nachzugeben etc. Der Unterschied ist nur,wenn ich die Grenze einhalte fühl ich mich gut.

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