Trauma = boundaries violated.
If you never have a boundary, how do you teach them? A child knows only what is given. If they are given misinformation, they learn misinformation. It is possible to teach a child that black is white, that good is bad, that hunger is wrong, and hurting is ‘normal’. Twisted thinking poured out on a child is internalized. Boundaries confused me when I was punished for walking into a neighbors house without ringing or knocking on the door. So simple a thing, yet the neighbor lady had to teach me, unfortunately not too kindly. One of the first things my counselor taught me were the boundaries he maintained. He taught me about boundaries by having them himself. Then he started the slow process of teaching me when I didn’t know what he was talking about. I actually had them but they had been violated so many times that I didn’t know I had the ‘right’ as a human being to have certain things in my life. Boundaries are in place to self protect. First, I needed to believe there was something to protect. The constitution set out a list of ‘rights’ that were not to be violated by our federal government. Unfortunately, dysfunctional families, bullies, and abusers do not honor those rights. The first list of human rights that I read I brought back to my counseling session with the serious question, “Is this true?” I felt stunned at the thought I had these rights. Really…..
I recommend that you get a piece of paper and pen, write down what you believe are your basic rights as a human being…… Don’t worry if this takes awhile…my first list came from a book and I took weeks editing my own version with the help of my counselor.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
― United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
I have the right…
My list was adapted from the list in this book Men Who Hate Women & The Women Who Love Them http://www.amazon.com/Men-Hate-Women-Love-Them/dp/0553381415
I have the right to be treated with respect.
I have the right to chose not to take responsibility for anyone else’s problems or bad behavior.
I have the right to feel emotions – anger, excitement, sad, glad, afraid, courageous, etc. and the responsibility to accept the consequences of any actions brought about by those emotions.
I have the right to say no. When I say “yes” to one thing I inherently often have to say “yes or no” to something else that is not always obvious.
I have the right to make mistakes and the responsibility to take the consequences for those mistakes.
I have the right to my opinions and convictions. Just because I have them does not mean I should always state them. Sometimes the best reply is silence but I need to keep in mind that with some people silence means agreement. The art of disagreeing without being disagreeable is on going training.
I have the right to determine when someone is yelling at me or not. I am aware that I am hypersensitive to negative reactions but if I feel someone is yelling at me I will respond that way.
I have the right to change my mind and the responsibility to take the consequences.
I have the right to ask for emotional support or help. I have the responsibility to work on things myself. Learned helplessness is as unhealthy as never reaching out to anyone.
I have the right to negotiate for change. The responsibility to express myself to the other person. The other person can not read my mind.
I have the right to protest what I believe to be unfair treatment or criticism. Being defensive can sometimes make a situation worse. In protesting unfair treatment I need to keep in mind who I am talking to. Some people are not healthy enough to engage in this type of conversation. In these situations, I have the right to walk away.
I have the right to have friends. I have the responsibility to recognize that friends take time and energy which I have a limited supply.
I have the right to ignore advice. I have the responsibility to take the consequences of ignoring that advice. I recognize that the source should be considered when I am considering someone else’s advice.
I have the right to take breaks that can be beneficial when working on large projects.
I have the right to throw away or give away things that I no longer want or need.
I have the right to lock the doors or not lock them depending on how I feel at the time.
I have the right to have extra food in the house.
I can add to this list when ever I feel the need.
Maria Montessori was one of my heroes as I researched how to raise my children differently than I was raised. Her theories helped me change and be a different parent than how I was raised. She taught me about respecting children and how I could show them my respect.
“No social problem is as universal as the oppression of the child … No slave was ever so much the property of his master as the child is of his parent … Never were the rights of man ever so disregarded as in the case of the child.”