Sunday, May 19, 2019

No Good Very Bad Week, Anniversar-not, Fortifying the Boundaries

I’m going to be honest here: It’s been a crap week for a number of reasons, including a huge amount of work stress. I find myself harboring increasingly bitter thoughts about my fellow man, and actually looking forward to going to the gym, where it’s peaceful and no one asks anything of me. (You know it’s bad when the gym feels like a safe haven.) I feel fried and frayed and despondent, and I couldn’t even work up enough oomph this weekend to get to the shooting range. On top of it—we worked it out, but Mr. Typist and I spent most of our anniversary yesterday in a sullen mini-feud due to unclear communication. It was mostly my fault. I had agreed to plan a trip, but I didn’t want to admit to myself or to him that I was way too burned out to plan anything. I have been “planned-out” due to multiple work events and stressors, and had literally no brain power left. I guess I thought I’d be able to pull something out of my hat at the last minute, but of course that didn’t happen, and it led to us arguing and me sobbing in the bedroom for thirty minutes, which was actually rather cathartic. To be totally fair, Mr. Typist had offered to plan the trip when I told him I wasn’t particularly enthused about doing so, but I didn’t want to let go. I deluded myself into believing that I was strong enough, responsible enough, and good enough to make it all happen on my own, despite the recent heavy demands on my time and mental energy. 

I have had to do some deep soul-searching of late on how my inability to maintain boundaries and say that simple, one-syllable word, “no” has left me a frazzled wreck of a human being, which in turn has led me to become angry at myself, because I don’t have anyone else to blame. It’s my responsibility to defend my own boundaries. The problem is, I never see it coming until it’s too late and I look up and realize that inch by inch, I’ve ceded all of my territory and now I’m overextended, angry, and burnt out. I feel like there should be a “NO” app or something…maybe a device, like a little alarm, that sends out a warning beep when I when find myself agreeing to something that I really don’t want to do out of a desire to help, or to preserve a relationship, or to keep the peace, which, as evidenced by the shake-up at the Typist household yesterday, just ends up backfiring most of the time anyway.  

My trainer talks a lot about the importance of developing an understanding of how one’s body moves and balances so you can “handle anything that comes at you.” He strikes me as fairly concrete thinker, so I’m pretty sure he’s talking strictly about the physical. But while I’m getting my physical body into some semblance of shape, I need to be doing a mental version of squats and pull-ups so I can strengthen my boundary-setting and fortify my defenses.

Lest you are concerned about the state of the Typist union, be assured everything’s okay. Mr. Typist has agreed to plan an anniversary trip for another weekend and take care of all of the details, and I’m very much looking forward to not having to lift a finger.

This is what I need to do to my inner agree-er:



Dale said...

As one of the perennially boundary-challenged, I adopted the useful workaround, early in life, of saying "no" to every invitation or proposal, immediately, with convincing finality and no extenuations. "No, I won't be able to do that." "No, I won't be able to make that." "Oh, sounds lovely, but not possible, sorry." (Never "oh, I'll be out of town," or "oh, I think I already promised a rainbow to Santa." Nothing to give any negotiating purchase.)

Later on, in solitude, I can & do change my mind sometimes, and agree to do something after I've said I couldn't. It's pretty easy to say yes after you've said no, much easier than saying no after you've said yes.

The real solution, of course, would be to actually develop some boundaries and self-awareness, but hey, in the meantime I have a life to live here. It works.

The Good Typist said...

Thanks, Dale! I like that technique. It may be only real hope for some us! :) It's all fine and good to "develop boundaries" and "have self-awareness", but that's a lot of work! said...

A wonderful and insightful post!

Nancy Harris said...

We all need to learn to say "no" and not to commit to activities that are stressful for our psyche. Enjoy your anniversary together when you feel ready. Cheers! Nancy