Friday, June 6, 2014

boundaries again...

it's been something i've been wrestling with a long time now.

you want to be a kind person.
you want to be there for people.
you have an old person around, you  especially want to be helpful and nice.

that's just the way it works.

but then you get an old person who can be just plain ol' mean and hurtful.

then it gets complicated.

i think the word 'old' makes it really really tricky.

being old seems really hard.
being old seems tremendously challenging.
makes me want to be extra gentle.
it's scary and makes me want to be respectful.

thing is - i've worked really hard for awhile now on respecting myself too.
suddenly i found myself in a spot where i needed to be firm and set some boundaries.

that's uncomfortable for me on a good day.
throw in it's boundaries with an old person and i'm pushin' my comfort zone for sure.

when someone else who deals with her thanked me for some help i offered her,
i just flat out said 'she can be pretty rough to deal with.'

that in itself is new for me.
i think long ago i woulda smiled sweetly and said 'you're welcome.'
but i'm thinking this mean stuff isn't all that cool and i want to talk about it.

turns out this other person was 'so relieved' to hear me say that.
and started telling me her stories.
they were way rougher than mine.

i listened with interest.
because i could see it at a different angle when it wasn't me.
wondered why she put up with what she did.

bit i knew why.
cause we're sposed to be kind to old people.

but when i heard her stories, i could see how wrong it was.
she was being abused.
and it helped me feel clearer about my own boundaries.

later i called the daughter of this older person.
just to connect cause i was really struggling.

i asked her straight out - is it the meds or was she always like this?
and i got a very very very very strong answer of she was always like this.

i believed it.
cause something i'm noticing is that the older people get the more the
'real them' seems to leak out. the less masks and playing the games
seem to happen. while that may sound good,  it's not always pretty.

the daughter sounded stressed and exhausted.
i offered her some kindness.
and wondered how much of that she got thru this journey she was on.

there truly is a point to this whole story -
it's this -

i struggled so big time with the boundary thing because of my feelings
that we need to be kind to old people.

take out the 'old' word.
i believe we need to be kind to people.

the old thing turns it up a notch and adds guilt.
and it has added much guilt.

thing is - with every single dealing we have, we need to be kind to ourselves as well.
there needs to be mutual respect in any kinda relationship.

it took watchin someone who was getting abused, and talking to someone who had
been abused her whole life for me to really get comfortable with that.

i wish it was more natural for me to just do what i gotta do to set boundaries.
but it's not.

it won't be easy to keep setting the boundaries.
but i know it's right.
and i will.
not because i'm dealing with an old person.
but because i'm dealing with a person.

and allowing someone to be abusive isn't doin' anyone any favors.


Claire said...

Thank you for today's bone sigh, Terri. I'm trying to accept myself as a gift as I post my Word for the Week...

diane in ar said...

Boundaries - always good to examine, adjust, believe in, live and keep on doing that over and over. . .we'll get it yet. . .

diane in ar said...

I've been reading and re-reading this blog entry - there is so much in here - earlier I addressed boundaries... but equally important here are the truths about older people - you are SO RIGHT about how some of them, as they age.. .the masks, the controls slip away and the 'real them' comes out - sometimes it's a different, not so nice set of behaviors. . .sometimes, as in the case of my close relative, the nastiness accelerated and became more and more predominant. . .which was more and more unpleasant and difficult to deal with. You are RIGHT - we need to be kind dealing with any people, but at the same time, we need to remember to be kind to ourselves, protect ourselves from any verbal (or any other kind) of abuse. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us to Honor Ourselves with love and kindness as we go about our daily lives. . .

terri st. cloud said...

thanks, diane. it was a hard post to write...but i believe in it....