A gem from the Gems page.
Tough love is true love. Our Christian culture is hyper-grace or perhaps grace on steroids, but there is a fine line between exhibiting gracious acts or enabling grievous ones. Courageous Christians must recognize and enforce boundaries — not just God’s boundaries (the law), but their own boundaries as well. Boundaries define love and peace. Blessed are the peacemakers. (Carrie Truelove)
6 thoughts on “Thursday Thought — The Importance of Boundaries”
Tough love is tough at first, but it makes one stronger, affirming that they are an individual with abilities to define how they want to relate to another person. It can also raise the level of tension as the one who thinks they are in charge, fights to not lose their foothold. Tough love with an abuser never gets any easier, but it is good practice for us who have given in and been pushed over and stomped on.
Abusers don’t like boundaries.
Well, they don’t like their VICTIMS to have and enforce boundaries. They love their own so-called boundaries. Except their “boundaries” are ever-shifting and changing to suit their momentary desires and demands.
Yeah, it’s crazy-making.
As victims of abusers, we deal with the ever present threat of well, abuse in all it’s ugly, malicious forms. It makes you do things and act out in situations that you normally would not. That is, we reside in the “fog”. You know it’s not right, but excuses are made, the nurturer kicks in and before you know it, it’s a life sentence, or close. I can only speak from my own experience, I had never had an abusive relationship before my Narc h, and I didn’t know he was like that until the day after we were married. Looking back, it was truly horrifying. I can only guess that it was something I had to deny to survive.
It was a very long time before I outwardly set boundaries with him, but before I had a voice, I set them all the time. I just didn’t tell him! He was critical of literally everything I did, and if it continued, I would just stop doing whatever he was critical of – his laundry, dry cleaning, getting up with him before he went to work, driving (he always drove), cleaning (I hired a maid), and many others. I believe it helped me keep at least some of my sanity. I know I paid for these acts of defiance against him, but nothing I can really put my finger on, except arguing about them, which was a regular occurrence, regardless. I don’t know in what context you mean “tough love is true love” but I feel as if “kind love is true love”.
Survivorthrivor2 your comment about setting boundaries made me think about how I’m setting boundaries in a similar way. A counselor had told me I needed to set boundaries but I didn’t know how or when. The counselor didn’t give me the answers just that I needed to do this.
I stopped ironing for a while. Mostly because when I’d iron shirts for him and hang them in the closet along with uniform shirts he would complain about the shirts I had ironed. Say there were 5 uniforms ready to go and 5 dress shirts. He’d say he didn’t like any of the dress shirts and didn’t feel like wearing the uniforms. He wanted a different shirt ironed. Ugh. I couldn’t figure out which shirt was the ONE he liked. Getting sick I couldn’t iron. I took them to be dry cleaned. That didn’t go over well. He ironed a few of his shirts on Sunday mornings as part of his “helping me to get the kids ready for church” time. I’ve started ironing again but I won’t fall for the not that shirt stuff. I iron and if he doesn’t like it he knows how to do it himself.
I no longer get up with him before he goes to work. Off and on thru the years I have stopped. Now I have made the choice to stop completely unless it the weekend and it’s done for all. He complains about what I make or gives me a verbal list of the only things he likes to eat or something. The last time he started ripping things out of my hand and telling me how “I can do it myself!!” That was a good indicator to me…why would I continue and why is he so nasty about it all. It was like he was racing against me trying to do it himself. Like there was a see how I have to do it myself thing to tell the pastor or whoever. If you knew me you’d know I love making the meals and I’ve also had some tough physical things. Anyway, I don’t need to be treated that way. I’m not doing it for him. I did it because I wanted to see him off on the right foot and have a healthy filling lunch etc. I’m still a bit sad about it. I’d like to do it but I won’t because of how he is.
I like you survivorthrivor2 quit different activities because of the nonstop criticism about what I was in. So he didn’t say I had to quit I couldn’t stand the pressure and all. I’ve recently joined back into things he in the past criticized. There are several people and families in our church in the same things. So, I don’t think he will dare to drag it thru the mud this time. Which cause a child that had to quit years ago a bit bitter that another couple children get to with full support from dad now. It’s hard and confusing. This child was robbed by dad the support and all that should have come with it. I was too but I feel sick about it for this other child.
One of my unspoken boundaries is not discussing things with the h. He can’t pick apart and demand I not do things or drag me down if I don’t discuss my thoughts and feelings with him. There is a danger in not doing this. But the danger is on both sides. I become needy to talk to others and I yearn for a close relationship of the opposite sex to fill the void. But I’d rather not be chopped up verbally and left to rot.
Another boundary is with if I’m to manage the home then it is my job to keep things going. If he won’t fix things I call a plumber or other expensive fix it person. I ask people I know to help out. I know this embarrasses him. In the past I didn’t because it made him angry. After 2 houses that have gone unfixed and were in disgusting order because of his I won’t do it attitude (water leaks, bathroom and kitchen, so many other things) I no longer care if it makes him angry. It needs to be done and I know my church will support me on this so I will call whoever to fix what he won’t do. This one had a lot of fear attached and took me a long time (years and years) and support to get thru.
I’m not done with boundaries. I don’t really know what other boundaries I need to make yet. Maybe the one was putting a lock on my tech devises so he wouldn’t read the notes I made and articles I had read about abuse.
Survivorthrivor2, I think toughness and kindness don’t have to be separate. True love is tough on the abuser and kind to the victim, not vice versa. Love is gentle when no evil is occuring and tough when it defends the innocent. Your desire to be treated with kindness is normal and is not contradicting the idea of tough love.
If they give hyper-grace to the perpetrator, why don’t they give hyper-grace to the victim?