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so that's what boundaries are!
July 11, 2009
10:21 am
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bonni
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I am only responsible for ME and the choices I make. I am not responsible for anyone else's happiness. Each person is responsible for his or her OWN happiness.

I am responsible for bringing two children into the world and raising them to be adults who are responsible for themselves. I am not responsible for their happiness. I AM responsible for their health and wellbeing, as well as for ensuring they have an opportunity to get an education. I can not make them make good choices or take advantage of the education available to them.

My children are not me and my responsibility to them is different than my responsibility to myself.

I am not responsible for anyone's happiness other than my own, though I recognize that others may allow my actions to impact their pursuit of happiness. I have an ethical obligation to refrain from deliberately interfering with someone's happiness, when possible.

I can choose to neglect my responsibilities or embrace them. I can choose to take responsibility for/from others and I can choose to trust others to make their own choices about their lives.

If I see a child suffering from the emotional trauma of their parents' divorce, do I have an ethical obligation to do anything? I can choose from a variety of actions, including NO action.

I am part of the collective of human beings and I am also separate. The boundaries between us are fluid and sometimes hard to see. When we focus too much outside the boundary, we neglect that which is in our circle of work. My reaction to what happens outside of me is a reflection of what I need to work on within my circle.

I am staying in a marriage that does not truly make me happy in order to provide what I think is the best situation for my children, my husband and myself. This IS the life I want, and yet something is missing.

I see three other mothers in my real life putting theirselves before their children and it angers me that I cannot do the same. One left four young children to be with a man she barely knows. She does seem happy. Two others are in bitter, nasty divorces and are NOT happy. They are both drinking heavily and poisoning their children. These children are full of anger and have no adult support in their lives. They are abandoned. It angers me that they can do what I can not and that they aren't even really happy. Unless taking joy in destroying your children can bring some measure of happiness. I cannot make them make different choices.

I can watch my own choices so that I do not blame my children for those choices. I do not stay because of them or for them, but because it is what I think is best for them and for me.

If I cannot find happiness within my boundaries, i will not find it outside of them. Everything I need is within my boundaries and within my reach. Happiness is not something you can pursue. I think it sneaks up on you and surprises you when you least expect it. Kind of like love.

Trying to be happy is something we do to please others. This morning I ran. I did this for me. I'm not really sure why, but I'm glad I did. One person told me that it inspired her to see me running. Wow. what a gift.

July 11, 2009
12:07 pm
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MsGuided
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(((bonni)))

I found this post so inspirational and what I needed to read.

Maybe part of staying, when kids are involved, is the fact we, as parents, have to put our kids well being ahead of our own frivolous gratification.

Boozing it up, any addictive behaviour is irresponsible when we have kids to raise. maybe those "friends" don't know healthy sacrifice? Magnify pitfalls? I don't know, maybe their husbands weren't good to them at ALL, but turning to self abuse, neglecting the kids isn't the answer.

Running away ( to risky behaviour) isn't the same as running, for health!hehe

It's hard to be truly happy when societies pressures mount up upon us, so we have to continue self caring, keep focused on balancing things out.

I'm getting bothered by my adult sons choices. I don't like slackers, or lame excuses so I get caught between giving unconditional support or putting a flame under his ass by verbalizing the realities of life and the choices we make. Him being 18 now puts a new spin on how i deal with him. I show my anger and displeasure more now. I was never like that when he was younger.

It's a new struggle that i need to find peace with.

It was good to read how you take a logical, calm approach in processing your struggles. Thank You!

Be Well!

July 11, 2009
2:03 pm
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It No Longer Matters
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Good for you Bonni!!!! I am proud of you.

Bitsy

July 11, 2009
5:01 pm
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bonni
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Five minutes of lucidity, courtesy of an 8-mile run.

Thank you for the affirmations. It was so helpful to get that out.

July 12, 2009
7:54 pm
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Lanigirl
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Hey Bonni,

Thanks for the inspiration. I'm really working on my own happiness and questioning what works out for me.

I actually told my husband no (for sex)this weekend.

Usually, I just go ahead with it because it happens so rarely. This time, I didn't feel like it and I actually stopped myself to consider what I wanted. That was quite the moment for me.

July 12, 2009
9:15 pm
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CAMER
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well said (((bonni)) i think the more we think of "us/me"...the more we focus on our needs and taking control of our lives and what we can control...."ourselves".........so glad about what you wrote!!!! postive
affirmations!!!

July 13, 2009
10:27 am
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atalose
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Extremely inspirational Bonnie thank you!!

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

July 13, 2009
2:04 pm
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FireFighter
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I have just started doing this . Thing of me. Ensuring I'm ok. Taking responsibility for me and choosing when I help others. Not because I feel I have to , but because I want to. In doing so I choose to help but not own the problem.

I had a discussion with a friend the other day and she commented that this seems a very cold approach. I pointed out that this is looking after me. Only when I am ok can I truly help others and be strong for them. It was funny a light seemed to come on for her and she agreed.. in fact thought she should be doing teh same for her ! πŸ™‚

Its just like being a Garage Mechanic and maintaining everyone else's vechicles but not your own. Only to find one day your car dies and you cant get to work anymore... now everyone it out of luck.

Bonni that was a great note - I printed it out to keep πŸ™‚

July 13, 2009
2:27 pm
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caraway
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Bonni,

Great post and good advice for all, even those of us without children of our own.

Thanks for sharing.

Cary

July 13, 2009
11:40 pm
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Tumbleweed8
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Thankyou, Bonni. Very helpful to be reminded.

July 14, 2009
2:00 am
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waniamae
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Bonni,

It was very interesting reading your thread. Lately i have debated with myself if i should have left my marriage or just "procrastinated" i little longer. It still hard for me in many ways but i can't deny that i feel good about not having to be there right now. It is like giving myself a chance to find love again and to find a good person that will bring something good to my children's life and to my life as well.

Since i left and had to deal with Angels and Demons I have been very skeptical about couples that remain together and always complain about each other or are not making each other happy anymore.

I have been burned deeply after i left, and it has been times where i had too much to drink or "lost It" along the way but i think this has more to do with my Codependency Issues that with the fact that i my marriage failed.I have to work on myself that's for sure.

I haven't gave up and i am still searching for the day that i will feel loved like i deserve to be and on this day i will feel so alive that i will be able to give thanks for having the chance to get a divorce one day.

It is a dark road and we divorced women feel like we failed but in the other hand i feel that we are brave to get out of our comfort zone and go out there, alone, hurt but proud to be out of a situation that was not satisfying us anymore.

It is hard but i don't have to live with my wrong choices forever, sometimes i think about those women back in the day or in some places around the globe that never had the chance to ask themselves "should i stay or should i go?" Can you believe not even having a choice? That is one of the reasons why i love America.

Anyway, i just want to say that Marriage and children are serious business. I know that. I just wish i had took care of my codependency issues before i got married but i have to tell myself over and over that is never too late, i have to remain confident that i did what i had to do for the sake of my own soul and my own identity. It is so lonely out there when you get a divorce but i can't forget that I was very lonely inside my marriage as well, so lonely that i was falling apart and nobody could really tell, only me. I didn't exist and i was around my husband all the time. That was something i could no longer deal with it anymore and that was when i left.

July 14, 2009
6:58 am
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bonni
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((waniamae))
Thank you for your insights. You were certainly right to choose self preservation. You are supposed to put the oxygen mask on you.

There is a wide spectrum in marriage. People change and grow. Sometimes they grow apart. There is a difference between choosing to leave an unhealthy marriage and choosing to leave a marriage that doesn't make your toes tingle.

My husband is a good man and a good father. I just don't feel "in love." Mostly, I feel tired.

I am so glad you did what was right for you and I truly hope that all of you are happier now. I think that divorce can be a positive experience when its done thoughtfully and considerately by the adults involved.

bonni

July 14, 2009
3:55 pm
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Hepburn
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Hi bonni,

"I think that divorce can be a positive experience when its done thoughtfully and considerately by the adults involved."

Unfortunately that's not the case in most divorces. Seems like the one who gets left is the bitter, angry, vindictive one. That's when the work really begins.....on both ends.

Btw, I liked your post. It is all about the choosing.

(((waniamae)))

Hep

July 16, 2009
12:57 am
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waniamae
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Dear Bonni,

I am so far behind in my recovery towards codependency that i was caught by surprise with your saying " You are supposed to put the oxygen mask on you". I truly should know that by now but sometimes I am afraid of not being so sure.

Also I know that is a huge difference "between choosing to leave an unhealthy marriage and choosing to leave a marriage that doesn't make your toes tingle". An unhealthy marriage basically don't give you any choice because if you decide to stay that means you don't have the oxygen mask in you anymore, no self preservation at all.

Thanks for being there, waniamae.

July 16, 2009
12:13 pm
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marionette
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Thank you bonni for your post, and thanks to everyone else for sharing their thoughts. My situation is similar to yours bonni, in that my husband is a good hearted man, good dad, loyal etc. but our marriage is frought with the difficulties that arise from my codependency. We've been together for 15 years, and for the last 3 I've been on antidepressants as I try to come to terms with how miserable I have become. I have been seeing a counsellor for a few years now (she specializes in codies) and she has always emphasized that I need to look after me, and that I need to focus on what makes me happy as I've always put the h or the kids or the job first. Now, because my h has either always been or has become a dependant personality, he is tremendously threatened by my newfound adventures with independence and it seems that the happier I get the more miserable he gets. We have struggled for the last 5 or 6 years to patch things up and maintain some semblance of a healthy and happy relationship, but there are days when I really wonder if we're doing the right thing. I have two questions to throw out to you all:

1) With a codie personality, how do you distinguish between genuine hope that the relationship will grow and endure and result in mutual satisfaction for both spouses versus the vain efforts of a codie to "fix the husband who is broken and really needs me to be a better person" ?

2) If any of you have any experience with antidepressants, how do you rely on your emotions for guidance? I have not yet found the right medication to completely control my depression (in fact my next dr appt is this afternoon) and every time my doctor changes my meds it seems that I become a different person with different boundaries of what I will tolerate from my husband. God knows, if for no other reason than this, he deserves a mountain of credit for trying to stick with me through the various versions of "me" that have been shown to him over the last couple years.

I know that marriage is a huge committment, and I do not want to give up just yet, yet there are days when I simply cannot tolerate the situation. If anyone has any words of wisdon or experience to share, I'd appreciate your take on this type of situation.

For now, I'll continue to keep on plugging along, and I'll try not to be too much of a puppet.

marionette

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