Tuesday, March 27, 2007


We had a good discussion on boundaries at last night's meeting. I've had to learn hard lessons with keeping boundaries because I've been a boundary breaker. I've been involved in a marriage in which I've had to gradually learn to establish boundaries. Before the marriage though, I knew that the relationship wasn't healthy for me.

In the beginning, I put a lot of time and emotional energy into the relationship. I was willing to sacrifice a lot and give much more than I got. That's definitely not a good thing and indicates my lack of boundaries. I basically let myself experience feelings of caring and love towards a very needy person who was an alcoholic. By not keeping any semblance of a boundary, I lost my own identity by giving so much of myself.

Probably my biggest lack of a boundary came from having an image of the way the perfect relationship is supposed to be. It was a fantasy and reality was far from pretty. This resulted in my giving, with the hope of having the fantasy become reality, but it never did. I had a belief that I couldn't fail and if I persisted, all would be okay.

I would like to think that I had an amazing core of strength and persistence that enabled me to crash the boundaries of others and not make any of my own. I think that the main motivator was fear. The fear that I had was of rejection and abandonment.

Through the Al-Anon program and some hard hitting advice from a close AA friend, I've learned that healthy boundaries will allow me
to focus on myself, my own needs, and my personal integrity in relationships. By having boundaries, I'm able to have energy to focus on all aspects of my life instead of focusing on one person. I've also learned that I can't have a healthy relationship with my partner if I'm trying to fix or take care of them.

When dealing with those that I care about, I have to work at healthy intimacy but not over-dependency. I've been guilty of being dependent on another and thinking that I needed them in order to feel fulfilled and happy. By focusing on myself and respecting the boundaries of others, I have become more independent and have accepted responsibility for my own happiness. I can't get that from others. I've also learned that I need to be based in reality and accept my relationships for the way they are rather than the way that I want them to be.

One of the issues that I hear a lot when it comes to the alcoholic is that fear of letting go of the control in a relationship stems from thinking that the alcoholic will drink if their needs aren't met by another. This is particularly hard when the alcoholic makes a threat to do something to themselves if bourndaries are established. Fear makes it hard to establish boundaries because you've become a hostage to someone who is needy, helpless and manipulative. This is where Step One is so important because we cannot control or determine the outcome of the life of anyone else no matter how hard we try. The only thing I can control is my own thinking, feeling and actions. I need to hand my relationship partners' problems and needs and the outcomes of their lives over to the HP. Then, I can hope that the alcoholic accepts personal responsibility for their own life and the consequences of their own actions and decisions.


  1. Greta post Syd.
    Al anon stuff is like a breath of fresh air.

    Hmm let me see.
    All I know is that my 'hungry ghost', IS fulfilled by the presence of continuity. A stable loving presence. So for me a relationship is a 'rock' to soothe and 'settle' the hungry ghost. Teachers, Lamas, monks and other very loving people are very helpful to my emotional stability.
    But I would not call that dependence. For me it has been about learning to feel safe and trust, despite having a very involuntary, and instinctive survival-based reaction to life.
    So for me relationships are teachers, and sources of healing because they teach me to trust.
    It wouldn't apply if they were mad people that I was involved with.
    Yeh I'm guilty of a lot of the things you mention, but my reactive 'core' is calming down the longer I am around stable influences, regardless of how inept I am in other respects.
    Anyway I love reading your posts. The al anon thing is very cool. Cant put my finger on it. But whatever it is it is very cool.

  2. Wow, I feel like I could have written alot of this! Especially the part about having an idea of what the perfect relationship should be like and thinking I could simply make it happen because thats what I wanted and I am used to getting wht I want. Excellent post. Thanks so much for sharing.



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