- If I take steps to setting some boundaries, do I have a way to check myself so I don't get guilted or manipulated into abandoning those boundaries just to keep peace or win approval?
- Am I prepared for short-term anger and hostility when I start to draw some boundaries?
Oh, yeah. THAT went over like poop in a punchbowl. She said fine, if that was how I felt, then we did not need to be friends anymore. And, as much as it hurt at the time, I got over it eventually. I never felt like I lost my integrity, and to me, that was worth more than our friendship. Because if you can't be true to yourself, how can you be true to anyone else?
- Is there anyone else who knows my parent who can help me troubleshoot and back me up in my plan?
Recently my mom was talking to me about me not being raised by both her and my dad. She was asking me if I felt any kind of loss by not having two parents in the same house. I told her I didn't know any different, so no, not really. She asked if I had any anger associated with her decision to leave my dad when I was young. Again, I never knew a household with my dad and my mom, so how could I compare? But she wanted to really talk about it, dig deep, and I just didn't want to go there right then. And I told her as much: "I don't want to talk about that right now." It was to the point and succinct. My mom was a little stunned, but said "Oh-kay." And that was the end of that discussion. (That's setting boundaries!)
The more I thought about it, later, I realized something big that would have been different had my parents stayed married. My relationship with my dad would have been much different. I would probably have much more trust in that relationship than I ever will now. He probably wouldn't have treated me as he did if my mom was around to bear witness, to intercede. If they were both active parents, instead of passive judges on the others' parenting, it would have changed my life tremendously. I could play the "what-if" game forever, but my life and their marriage just didn't happen like that.
And I'm okay with that.