I woke up this morning grateful for everyone and everything. That’s because I went to sleep having read several e-mails from people who’d read “Advice Column Thursday: A Guide to Your Parents,” and wanted to thank me for it. I couldn’t have written it without having lived what I’ve lived, and therefore, even the negative parts have merit. It’s overwhelming to feel that much peace before showering.
I have learned more about how to deal with balance of power issues in the past year than I have in the last 20. Everything about setting boundaries resonates with me, especially in terms of those you love and respect the most. The people you respect the least aren’t deserved of that much attention.
I think I hit the nail on the head when I talked about children setting boundaries for parents not being in the natural order of things. I don’t have to have the kind of steel reserve with my own parents that some of my audience does, but I believe that my story with my abuser is what puts the child/parent relationship into perspective, the emphasis being on the connection from the child’s point of view.
Because I was at just the right age to be a child and a grown-up at the same time, I ran with it. You all know those kids… those first children with their “can-do” attitudes and willingness to run your program if you let them. I was a full-on search and rescue operation before I could drive.
She was a second child… a princess. She reminded me so much of my younger sister at times, because I am a natural peacemaker and she is a natural pain in the ass… more so because she knows it and knows you’ll let her get away with it because she’s the princess. I have walked through a lot of my life with an exasperated sigh having ended up with, on some level, four younger sisters instead of three. One was just taller and had more insurance.
I couldn’t love (name redacted) any more. I just couldn’t. There’s already no limit to the things I would do if she was in trouble and asked me for help. I would strangle anyone in my way.
But at the same time, because we grew up in a relationship where the balance of power was tilted toward her, it still makes my setting forth boundaries seem against the natural order of things, like a child with a parent. I realized that the natural order of things had shifted and I didn’t go with it.
Once I did, the whole world opened to me in ways I didn’t know were there. I am excited to see what’s on the road ahead, because I feel more free to explore now that I’ve made room for it.