08 February 2010

Who is in Control?

I have been reading a book called "Boundaries" over the last 9 months or so. You can tell I've just been plowing through it. A co-worker loaned it to me and it's been sitting on my nightstand. Once in a while when I need a little encouragement, I pick it up. Last night was one of those nights.
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.


  1. I was just reading Proverbs 6 this morning.
    24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
    32 Better a patient man than a warrior,
    a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

    Your post here reminded me of that as I have been working on not being reactionary as well, even when situation seem to be really unjust to me. I chose this because the way I have been handling them is not making things better and God tells me to do otherwise. I am just trusting Him to work things out, even though I don't see it. Like you mentioned, I can only work on myself, so that is what I am trying to do.

  2. And...my pet peeve is when the other person must get the LAST word in and can't leave it be!!! As you said, I can control and work only on ME and no one else.

  3. I have read the book Boundaries by Cloud/Townsend and it was extremely helpful! One thing that I still remember is that when we put boundaries in place WE have the "control". We have the option of lossening those boundaries if the other person begins to make appropriate changes in the relationship. If they don't, we remain healthy! Some Chhristians feel that boundaries are UN Christian, I say quite the opposite! It keeps our emotions and anger in check b/c we have taken the control away from the very people who can push our buttons!


Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥