I grew up in an incredibly abusive home. It wasn’t just my parents who abused me, it was the unhealthy people that I was surrounded by. I had parents who were unaware of what was going on around me. They also were not teaching me, or setting an example for what I would need to know to be a healthy adult. The biggest one of those was boundaries.
There were no boundaries growing up. I wasn’t allowed to have my own space, thoughts or life really. The privacy factor was huge because as a punishment my parents would remove my bedroom door. That gave me no healthy boundaries for myself and it also made it impossible to ignore what my parents did in their bedroom ie: sex.
Not knowing what boundaries actually were made it difficult to establish healthy relationships. This only got worse as I got older, including after my salvation experience. I thought that all of a sudden I was going to be healthy and whole. I wasn’t obviously and my struggle with boundaries continued. I was passive aggressive in my relationships and always had incredibly high standards of what relationships should look like.
Being co-dependent also made it difficult to establish relationships. I found a lot of my relationships ending because they weren’t healthy. My interpersonal relationships were suffering because I had no idea what I was doing, when to say yes and that no doesn’t change relationships.
When I started therapy that was one of the first things I was able to learn. I practiced each place I went, setting small boundaries around myself. I found my relationships (most of them) improving. It was then time to start setting boundaries with my family.
That was the hardest one because the way my family thrives is being 100% co-dependent on everyone else. They wouldn’t survive without constantly being up in each other’s business and continuing to tell us kids (as adults) how to live our lives.
They were small boundaries at first but even those weren’t accepted well. They would throw my faith in my face and tell me that I wasn’t acting like Jesus. When in truth holding onto Jesus as the ultimate boundary setter I continued to heal my life while being safe around my parents.
Setting the boundary a year ago of having no contact wasn’t something I could do alone. I wrestled with the decision for a really long time until God let me know that it was time. His spirit was ever present as I told my mom that I didn’t want to speak to her or anyone in my family. I was firm in stating what I needed for myself (not something I have ever been able to do) and did not back down when they pushed up against that boundary.
It’s been difficult not having them in my life. Regardless of how abusive they were they are still my family. I have stuck to that boundary though and the only reason I have is because God has been ever present and continually shows me that His promises of family are true.
We may be born into blood families but that doesn’t mean that’s where we are supposed to grow and thrive. I have found more acceptance from people that I have met on this faith walk. They have taken me into their families and loved me like I was one of their own. Learning how to set boundaries has helped these relationships grow and thrive.
It was hard to hear no at first but as I became more comfortable saying it to other people it has become easier to hear it.
I believe fully that it’s God who has caused this internal change. I did the work and walked through the process but He was ever present to love me and remind me that in doing the next right things that I would continue to grow.