Posted by: Marie | April 28, 2010

(301) Something I must do – Part 3 of 3

Post #301
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 – continued from previous post]

But, in time, I dared to have hope again. I am now allowing myself to believe that healthy relationships can exist, even when boundaries are not “perfectly” respected.

I keep wondering if I feel unsafe only because I am so sensitive . . . that a “reasonable” person wouldn’t feel unsafe in this situation. I can see where I need to develop some tolerance – with Mark and with the remainder of the people in this world.

Going White by Martin Chen

I think it is unreasonable for me to expect Mark to always agree with and never challenge the boundaries I set – especially when he is my therapist and it is his job to question the “why” and “how” and “where” of the boundaries I set.

So, now, the journey becomes about figuring out where that delicate balance lies – the balance between feeling safe and being challenged – between having my boundaries honored without question and having them tested. I can see that I need to develop some tolerance but I also need to learn how to identify when the scales have tipped too far towards disrespect.

I wonder, if Mark told me he was challenging my boundaries as a way to help me understand how I habitually show up in the world, could I accept what he says at face value? Could I trust that he really means it?

Or, would I be suspicious that it was just therapy-babble designed to placate me until he could get me cornered again? When everything fell apart a year ago, was my perception of “what happened” accurate or not? Was I resisting something that could have helped me? Or, was Mark actually trying to back me into a corner so he could cram his religion down my throat?

If, this time around, his words feel trust-worthy to me, would that be enough for me to start feeling totally safe again? Could I once again relax into the safety of his protection? Could I let down my guard again? Would it be wise to do so?

Despite these concerns, I believe a therapeutic relationship is possible because I am no longer emotionally dependent upon him. I know I can survive walking away. I no longer have a fear of standing up to him if he crosses the “religion” boundary. I don’t like that I will have to be on constant guard when it comes to religion, but I know I am capable of taking care of myself.

If he crosses the “religion” boundary, there won’t be drama or pleading or arguments – I’ll give him one warning. If he persists, I’ll walk out without paying his fee and I’ll never return.

I find myself hoping that, during this upcoming session, Mark will surprise me with a shift in attitude. I find myself hoping he will say, “I can see where my behavior was totally out of line, I can see how it affected you negatively, I was wrong, I am sorry and I will never do that to you again.”

I am trying to not let myself think about the possibility of a shift in his attitude – if I let myself hope, I’m surely setting myself up for disappointment. I have to stay realistic and just assume nothing will change. If the status quo is not acceptable, then there is no need to go forward with this upcoming session – right now, the status quo feels “okay” enough to be worth my money and time.

However, I must face reality – Mark doesn’t understand how his behavior affected me. He still feels justified. I acknowledge that is not going to change.

If I were an outsider looking in on this situation, I would ask, “Are you crazy?” It makes no sense why I would keep trying to make this therapeutic relationship work – it makes way more sense to go to a different therapist. But, I feel so strongly in my gut that this is what I need to do. I don’t know why. But, my gut always steers me in the right direction, so I’m going to follow it.

So, I guess we shall see what comes of this . . . I’ll know more in a few days from now.


Responses

  1. It makes good sense to me why you want this relationship to work. You want to be both safe and close with a member of the gender you find sexually attractive. Sorry if this is putting it a bit baldly.

    I think agreeing with or challenging boundaries is different to crossing them. I think there is also the option of observing how we do our boundaries and becoming aware of the benefit(s) they have for us.

    I’ll be very interested to hear how the session went!

    • Hey, Evan –

      Thanks for making the effort to understand what I’m saying . . . it has taken a lot of effort to figure this one out!

      You have an excellent point about agreeing/challenging vs. crossing boundaries . . . that is very true, and I think it is important to know the difference!

      – Marie


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