Posted by: Marie | September 23, 2010

(407) Uninvited guests – Part 2 of 2

Post #407
[Private journal entry written on Monday, April 5, 2010 – continued from previous post]

I made a split second decision . . . with anger on my face, I turned around and headed back to my suite of rooms.

Susan said, “What’s the matter?”

“My room is not in a condition suitable for guests.”

“But, you’re gonna be late to work!”

“Yes, I know. I guess I’ll be in big trouble . . . but, I really don’t have a choice, do I?”

I tore back down the stairs and frantically cleaned up the worst evidence . . . and got back out the front door within five minutes.

Fortunately, at my school district job, the start-of-the-shift preparation went without a hitch (a very rare event). I was prepared and in place when the first child showed up. My boss didn’t notice I arrived late. It was a lucky, lucky break.

But, I was pissed – really pissed. It was all I could do to hold back the tears while working with the kids. I kept imagining this strange man rearranging the items on my desk, pushing and pulling on the clothes in my closet, crawling all over my bed . . .

When I arrived back home, I saw my housemates sitting at the kitchen table with the exterminator. Immediately, Susan started apologizing profusely.

The Tea Garden by Martin Chen

I could feel tears of hot anger rise up under my eyelids . . . struggling to keep my voice steady, I said, “We’ll talk about it later.” (I didn’t want to have a blow-up in front of Sam . . . the poor guy, just trying to do his job!)

Without another word, I turned and headed down the stairs to my suite of rooms. As soon as I got the door shut, I fell onto the bed and allowed the sense of violation to wash over me. I silently bawled for a good, long while.

About an hour later, after Sam had left . . . after I had regained some composure . . . I headed out in search of my housemates, in search of a house meeting. I found Erik at his desk. He called out to Susan, asking her to come downstairs and join us.

Even before Susan’s feet came into view on the stairs, the tears started streaming down my face. I was terrified of standing up for myself . . . but, for my own sanity, I had to dig down deep and find my personal power. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Erik looking at me with alarm on his face . . .

I took a deep breath and turned to face them head-on. They both looked extremely worried . . . they knew they had messed up royally. They were already searching my face for a hint of how to make it right.

As soon as I started talking, the tears and snot took control of my face, emotion took control of my voice . . . but, I just plowed right into the thick of it . . . blubbering the entire way through . . .

“That room (pointing to my door) is the one place in this world where I feel totally safe. It is my sanctuary. You both know the struggles I’ve had in dealing with the crap from my past . . . it is very important to me to have this one safe place.

“When you bring strange men in here and just throw them into my space, without warning, it is a profound violation of my sanctuary. It causes me to feel my person, my body, my privacy has been violated – especially when I am not dressed appropriately for guests, or when my room is not in a condition suitable for guests.

“I don’t even like it when the two of you come into my space . . . but, at least I know you guys. I don’t know these men. This is the third time I have been surprised by having a man show up at my bedroom door, unannounced, in the past few weeks. Today, the man was crawling around in my bathroom . . . in my closet and all over my bed . . . in all my very private spaces.

“I need to know my sanctuary will not be violated in this way again. I need to know I will have advanced notice in the future, whenever it is possible.”

Susan responded, “I messed up, big time. I am so sorry. All three times, I could have given you notice, I just didn’t think about it. It was careless of me and I am so sorry. What can I do to make it right?”

Erik added, “We didn’t know it was this big of deal to you. Had we known, we would have been more careful. I mean, we should have been more careful anyway, but we would have been double or triple careful, had we known.”

Wiping my nose with my sleeve, I said, “I know. I’m not very good about telling people when I’m feeling disrespected or violated. It’s something I’m working on in therapy. I’m getting better at it. It’s why I’m telling you now.”

Susan said, “You know, it wouldn’t have mattered to any of us to see your room messy . . . Sam said he has seen ‘it all’ and it doesn’t bother him anymore.”

“Well, it wasn’t just the mess, it was that I had some very personal stuff laid out on my bed . . . stuff that I really don’t want anyone to see.”

“Oh . . . I didn’t know that . . . that makes sense, then. Again, I am so sorry.”

We finished up the conversation by setting up some agreements around future access to my suite of rooms. It ended well . . . we got the air cleared . . . we even laughed about it a bit.

So, tonight, as I’m sitting here at my computer, dressed in my pajamas, I’m feeling safer in my living space than I think I ever have. I have successfully established another boundary.

Maybe I’m getting the hang of this . . . the truth-telling, I mean. I think it suits me well.


  1. Well, to disagree. I think you did very well telling them how you feel and what your boundaries are.

    • Thank you, Evan, for the support! I’m getting better at it!

      – Marie

  2. Fantastic. I know from personal experience that you’ll progress from this to being able to set appropriate boundaries in advance of violations happening, and to do it from a place of power that people won’t question.

    • Hey, David –

      Thank you for the encouragement! I kept hoping I wouldn’t have to make a scene . . . I kept hoping common sense would kick in. But, I learned I could have said something sooner.

      I’ll get it figured out . . .

      – Marie

  3. Agree with the two above. Great job standing up for yourself. I find that being very honest and direct like that takes a great deal of strength and people really respect and respond to it…sometimes are even scared by it, because it’s so powerful.

    I keep going back to the powerful but kind way you pointed out the disparaging comments I made about another poster on this blog. I felt ashamed–but in a good way–because you quite pointedly and straight forwardly called me out on my b.s.

    That is the stuff that commands and demands respect, because it comes from hard fought self insight and a depth of understanding of the human condition won through some tough battles.

    Keep inspiring us!

    • Hey, Aaron –

      I appreciate the supportive words!

      I am learning I have a much easier time standing up for other people (like the person who left the comment on which you commented) than I do standing up for myself. It always has been easy for me to stand up for others.

      But, I’m learning to do it for myself . . .

      – Marie

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