Setting boundaries is essential for mental health

United States
March 30, 2013 6:57pm CST
We can't choose who our families are. We can choose our friends, and sometimes my friends become as close or closer than real family members. We all probably have obnoxious family members at times. There was a time when I had to create a boundary between my daughter and her husband. She has a mental illness and he didn't understand it as well as he does now after almost 13 years. Anyway, I was living by myself and my daughter kep leaving her hubby and coming to my house. My rent went up $50 when she would come to me. She would stay a few weeks and stressed me out financially. This happened over and over again for about 2 years. I finally drew a line in the sand, so to speak and said NO MORE CONTACT. I could not keep allowing my daughter to use my home as a revolving door. They had to work on their own problems without putting me in the middle. Putting me in the middle just made her hubby resent me even more like I was the problem. THEN...a light turned on in my head. I saw the LIGHT! I WAS the problem. Why? Because I ENABLED my daughter to keep running out on her husband for a 'vacation' and then they are back together and I am the bad guy for helping. I went about 6 months with no contact with my daughter and her husband. In time we decided to be in each others' lives again. Then even later I was invited to come live here because my daughter wanted her mom and her husband. It's not always a bed of roses but I created that boundary to stop that cycle. I could not be paralyzed by the fear that I'd never see my daughter again. I did that knowing that my daughter had to make a choice to make her marriage work or fail on her own without using me as an escape. It was hard and I cried a lot but I also committed her to The Lord and I knew everything would work out. I still create boundaries. I come into my room to get away from tension. I speak up when things are calm to tell him/her how I feel about whatever is going on in the home. I tell him/her I don't want to hear the blame game. Tell it to a therapist. Have you ever had to create a boundary with anyone you love? If I didn't create that boundary our lives might be a lot different now. I like my life now. My daughter likes her life too. Sure, she has issues with her conservative husband at times but they work it out (without me in the middle). I won't let either of them pull me into their arguments.
2 people like this
15 responses
@allknowing (103930)
• India
31 Mar 13
It is always the third party who is at fault. One needs to walk on egg shells while dealing with problems that concern others. You did the right thing by putting a hold on your daughter. There is so much of truth in the saying 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder' Ours is a peculiar situation. We were once so close but have now drifted apart. Each of the siblings is minding their own business meeting only at functions. I hardly socialise and so I have not met them for ages. Such is life!
1 person likes this
@allknowing (103930)
• India
31 Mar 13
It is strange but this drift is happening all over the world which in a way consoles us in that we feel we are not the only ones. I too have moved on as I have a life that connects me to those who have common interests with me and myLot is one such place where I get to see that. 'What can't be cured has to be endured' and that's what I suppose one needs to do for one's happiness.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Mar 13
Mylot is like a big family to me. It fills a void in my life too.
@celticeagle (135194)
• Boise, Idaho
31 Mar 13
Oh yes! The boundaries I had to set with my ex. After I left him. I had to set up some very strict boundaries with my daughter back before she was correctly diagnosed. Then I had to with my grand daughter. I won't loan her money and she can't live here. And I was rather proud of myself for not letting my ex friend make me think she was really a friend. I would not let her think she got it over on me. Dysfunction, dysfunction, dysfunction.
@celticeagle (135194)
• Boise, Idaho
1 Apr 13
Thank you for your kind words and sentiment. I think of you as a friend also. I think we communicate a lot on here. It is when I don't see you on here and haven't for a while that I will start emailing you. As long as I know you are okay and doing well I don't feel we have to keep an ongoing email. If that how you see it?
• United States
31 Mar 13
I'm glad that you were able to see that your friendship wasn't what it should have been. I want you to know that I consider you a wonderful friend to me. I don't keep in touch like I should, but it's because i forget. You can ask Winterose, I will go weeks without writing her. She is a sister to me. She is younger but like a big sis or even a momma sometimes. But I forget to keep in touch. It's like I have no words in my head to say anything so I just mylot when I feel like it. You did good at creating and maintaining boundaries.
1 person likes this
@MoonGypsy (4607)
• United States
31 Mar 13
yes, i have had to create boundaries with family members. my brother's girlfriend is beneath contempt to me. as long as he has to have anything to do with her, i won't be having to much to do with him. i won't let him bring her around me.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Mar 13
I had a sister in law I wished I could separate from, but after 36 years my brother wished up and left her. He never divorced her but he lives with his girlfriend. His wife always lied on him and lied on my mom to me. My mom always tried to keep the peace. So when my brother left her, that was good for me because I would not let her pull my family apart.
@MoonGypsy (4607)
• United States
31 Mar 13
well at least your family wasn't stuck with the girl. we are kinda stuck with this girl, because supposedly they have a kid together.
@bunnybon7 (51408)
• Holiday, Florida
31 Mar 13
im very close to my daughter here and ive done the same a couple of times. i stepped out in florida and moved here. they had already had trouble for years. when i moved here she still couldnt work it out and left him and took up with an even worse loser in florida then i needed her and she needed me as she was constantly calling for money and getting farther and farther behind even tho she was working but she couldnt get him to be very helpful. she kept saying there was just no work for him there. so, we said come and stay while i had my surgery and he could get work here. which we didnt know the guy until he came. he got several jobs which he always had an excuse for loosing, till my daughter just went to work and tried getting them on their feet. it was very hard to stay out of how he treats her here and he just kept messing up but we learned to live with him and her, then my youngest moved in and things really went south. finally my son got over done with it and lost his temper and threw C. her bf out and of course she went also. now they live in another apartment across town but shes still having trouble keeping up with bills and he still isnt working. i try to stay out of it tho as much as possible now. not much else i can do. shes old enough to do what she wants tho it does break my heart. we do what we can for her when she comes over about once a week.
• United States
31 Mar 13
I know you go through a lot. You worry about things like I do. Sometimes we just have to hope for the best and not let them ruin our lives. Things are pretty good now. We have our moments but I have begun to speak up. Not when there is tension, but when it calms down. That's when I speak up.
@marguicha (191644)
• Chile
31 Mar 13
I agree that sometimes it is necessary to create boundaries. I have had to do that with myown mother. She is not aware of it that I know and the kind of boundaries I havve created are in affection. She cares a lot mare for my siblings and has done nothing to mask that since I was a child. It used to hurt me a lot until I decided that I would not ever expect something that would never happen. Now I am polite and nice, but I will not let me get involved in any of her schemes.
1 person likes this
@marguicha (191644)
• Chile
31 Mar 13
THey do. I suppose not all of them, but it is fairly common
• United States
31 Mar 13
How can a mom love one more than another? It happens though. They pick a child to be a favorite and one to be a scapegoat.
@roshigo58 (4862)
• Pune, India
31 Mar 13
Hi, It is very sad that you have to create a boundaries between you and your daughter. But it is good for you and your daughter's life. You re relieved from pulling by them into their arguments. It would be very hard for you take such decision. But sometimes we have to be firm in making such decisions. I don't have any problem in my family. We have very good relations. But I have put boundaries between me and some of my relatives. They are very jealous and selfish.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Mar 13
I'm happy to hear that there are no problems with immediate family. Sometimes boundaries are necessary to change bad behavior.
@peavey (16965)
• United States
31 Mar 13
The first part sounds like a tough love situation. We do what we have to do even though it's hard. I have always had boundaries and my kids understand. My youngest daughter was talking about one of her friends who had a baby out of wedlock. She said her friend was going back to live with her Mother and expected her Mother to take care of the baby for her while she kept on partying, etc., then she (my daughter) said, "I'm glad you wouldn't be like that with me! You have your own life and I have learned to be responsible for my own mistakes!" It's true that I wouldn't care for her baby while she played around. I didn't even have to tell her.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Mar 13
Yes it is tough love and its scary when you have to take a stand.
@winterose (39887)
• Canada
2 Apr 13
yep you did all the right things my friend. It is no good to be in the middle. and it is great you made the boundaries. I had to make some boundaries with steven and now he is so much better.
• Philippines
31 Mar 13
I have too, and i have no choice. I was a teenager when i decide to set boundaries mentally and also emotionally. It happened when my ever loved grandmother passed away, its so painful to me, it take me years to move on, a lot of things happened to me that time, i refrain talking, i stop studying, i loss my appetite, and was not able to mingle with my friends, my parents where too worried about me. Until my best friend forced me to go with him for a vacation, he payed all the expenses, he wants me to be out to the real world again, for that time they know that i set my own world. Gladly he was successful for getting me out to the real world again. Sometimes it is hard for us to set boundaries, but this is life and it continue moving whether we like it or not, we can not avoid things to happen, especially that everyone of us has his/her own life to live in. We can not interfere the life of others though we have the right to, but they have their own mind and feelings. It is hard to see your love one fails, but it's one of the process of life to be a person become strong and face challenges in life by his/her own. We can not always depend our loved ones to be there always, because of the fact they are not permanent in the world and so are we.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Mar 13
I'm glad you were able to get your life on the right track. That was great that your friend helped you.
@artemeis (4203)
• China
1 Apr 13
I don't have anything against drawing boundaries but I have to wonder how you should be financially responsible for your daughter's visits when it should be shared equally. In my culture, we would contribute to our parent's allowance every month even when we are staying apart. It is like repaying them for what they have done during our upbringing. When we come visiting, all expenses from shopping to meals will be coming from our end. Your daughter should understand this since you are a retiree and surviving on mere hand to mouth income. I hope that you can make your daughter understand your situation and be responsible at her end when she comes visiting. Other than that, I believe you have done the right thing about clarifying that you do not want to be in the middle of their crossfires.
@savak03 (6685)
• United States
2 Apr 13
It has taken me a long time to come to the understanding that I would have to set those boundaries. I tried to make my daughter see what was needed but she is adamant that she is in the right so I finally made peace with myself. I know the only way I am going to be able to put distance between us is to literally put distance between us. By the end of April I will be moving out of the state. I have no intention of letting hr know where I am going and when I go I am going to change my phone number so she cannot reach me. It is the only way I can survive.
• Leesburg, Georgia
31 Mar 13
I have had to create a boundary with my parents actually. They kept asking and asking for money from us and we kept giving it to them. Then, like you we realized we were enabling them by constantly giving them money instead of letting them figure out their own way. Also, with my cousin. When she had problems with my aunt she would come here. Stay a couple weeks and then go back so she could have her mothers money to help with her child. I had to put a stop to that as well.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Mar 13
Thats right. They can't keep coming to you and figure things out. Once we see that we enable them and stop doing it, they have to rethink things.
@RitterSport (2452)
• Lippstadt, Germany
6 Apr 13
hi dear PQ I admire you for the boundaries you have set so far so you wont be caught in the middle. Thats a good thing to do. I wish I was a brave as you are when it comes to these issues.
@doroffee (4224)
• Hungary
31 Mar 13
I think it is really important. Everyone has a limit when it comes to stuff to bear. If you let some people cross that limit, you are going to get crazy. So I'd rather tell some people what not to do when they are around me, and what is enough.,
@sid556 (30973)
• United States
31 Mar 13
Yes, I agree with you, PQ. You really have to set those boundaries not only for your mental health but for your own happiness. I guess those go hand in hand really. And you have to know what your own limits are and how much you are able to put up with before it starts draining you. I had to go through this with my daughter and her boyfriend. It isn't easy. When she was pregnant, her boyfriend was so so mean. In fact, I feared that he was going to inadvertantly hurt her and the baby with his out of control temper. She'd already had 2 miscarriages and I was worried sick about her. In my case, picking her up and bringing her to my place did actually help my peace of mind and so I did pick her up each and every time. After the baby was born, I just prayed to God that he would not hurt that baby. I could not bring myself to turn her away. I do NOT get involved in their arguments at all anymore. When she vents to me, I let her but I refuse to put him down or get in the middle. Over time he has gotten better and I am hoping that they get their act together and work things out. Actually...meant to say "they" have gotten better. She too has some issues and I'm never sure that it is always his fault. I've learned to bite my tongue and to not get emotionally involved.