When this book first came out it was pretty popular in Christian community, and therefore gave me an aversion to ever wanting to read it. This is part wisdom, and yes I confess at least in part, pride.
I do have very messy boundaries. I tend to throw myself into a relationship - whether it be friendship, parenting, or my relationship with my spouse in a sort of all or nothing kind of way. I have loved extravagantly, lavishly, overwhelmingly emptying myself of every reserve to find that I didn't save enough of my energy or care for my own survival.
What I am about to share is not going to be pretty, but it is about one of the most truthful things I have ever said about myself. Once I hit empty, I often lash out at the people that I've given so much to - given what they didn't ask for or what they may have asked but should have gotten a "no" answer. It's my own fault. I create the dynamic for a lot of the chaos and problems in my relationships.
The thing I learned last night is how much of what I do and say that is "reactionary". I sometimes don't fully digest what another person is saying before I react. I know where this comes from - I grew up feeling as if every thought and feeling I had were not valid. I didn't feel like anyone ever listened to me. When someone did take the time to listen, they always reacted with explosive anger because they couldn't control my emotions or me. The Boundaries book stated clearly that the person that reacts gives away control - but the person that responds maintains control, not over the other person or the situation, but with options and choices for yourself. This was profound.
I have put a lot of blame outside of myself in my relationships. I'm not saying that these other people are perfect, we all obviously do a lot of things that trigger the worst in one another. But the only thing I can really work on is me. I'm starting today to pay attention, to slow down my responses and try to respond instead of react.
Now, I owe someone an apology for last night, which is a start.