Setting Boundaries

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Sarah
@sarah
2 years ago
386 posts

Ouch. I just had to write a message to a friend to set some boundaries in our friendship. I really do love being an empath in so many ways, but times like this are a bit tough. I feel so much guilt when I know that, even though it had to be done because I care about my friend, I'm sure I just hurt her feelings. It's like it's against our very beings as empaths to cause pain, even though sometimes it has to be done.


updated by @sarah: 05/15/17 08:46:02AM
RyuukoGo
@ryuukogo
2 years ago
110 posts

Id tell a friend I was on vacation for two week...which gave me time to fall out of love....we all have to be the "bad guy" at times.

Sarah
@sarah
2 years ago
386 posts

Thanks for all the replies. I'm sorry you all have had to do this, too.

I had to do this with another friend a few years ago, too. I tend to attract people who behave in codependent ways, you all probably do, too. I bet that is an empath thing. I think so far, I can still keep this friendship, I just have to be very clear when she is being overwhelming. The other friendship I had to end a few years ago, I had to do it because this person just seemed to enjoy being miserable and commiserating and relishing her many illnesses and abuses in childhood. She would get mad when I wouldn't love those things, too, and she wasn't honest with herself or me that she was behaving like that. The friend I had to talk to yesterday is not a drama queen or a put upon person who just wants someone to vent to all the time, she was just overwhelming me by messaging me every few hours and sending me lavish gifts all the time and calling me wonderful darling perfect beautiful and all that, and constantly wanting to be near me, and it was really stressing me out. I think she just doesn't understand boundaries. I told her what I needed and why and she actually seemed okay with it. We'll see how it goes.

Sammie
@sammie
2 years ago
106 posts
I understand exactly what you are saying about becoming the target of another's fear, anger, etc. I have an acquaintance with whom this is The case. It is hard. I considered that maybe they think that we are stronger and therefore more accepting and tolerating than most so there is no thought to how it affects us beyond them lashing out. Idk. I did need this reminder as I have been able to semi-separate myself from a toxic person. Thanks for sharing R.B.C.
Pat-Starbridge
@pat-starbridge
2 years ago
437 posts

I think there are a couple of issues here. Empaths are often healers. We talk about healing in the sense of "directing energy" or "sending energy" but without even doing that, without being aware of it - we are healing those around us just by our energy. Added to this, empaths by nature tend to be chameleons, not only blending in but mirroring back. What occurs is the other person creates a projection of you. They don't necessarily see you but a projection of what they need at the time. This is why people will spend hours talking to you, they get lost in that reflection. And the projection is needed to bring the healer and the person into contact, to allow for the healing to take place.

When we talk about Reiki, there is that point where the healer knows that the body doesn't want anymore energy; the flow of energy comes to an end. The body can only take so much healing. So, how would a healer know when the healing is completed for a person on the emotional or mental level? If this is a paid client, the two of you discuss the issues and see if things are resolved. But what do you do when there is an unspoken healing, when people are in your sphere to be healed but not recognizing it - how do you know when it's over?

When people get into arguments or start to withdraw, there is always a "reason" but on an energy level; it's just time to end that healing. The healer may start to feel uncomfortable and assert themselves or say things that are not in keeping with the other person's projection of them. Once there is a crack in the projected image - it's over. The other person may feel betrayed or hurt; but what's really going on is that the healing is over. Or at least, with that particular healer. This is particularly true with co-dependents as they will latch on to someone else.

I should also point out that it's not just non-empaths who create projections; empaths are very good at it, too.

I wish I had a way to resolve your issue but I deal with this on a daily basis. I particularly dislike when I innocently say something and I hit a landmine. I know that for the other person, the anger is needed for whatever they are dealing with, but seriously, it hurts. But I have to see it from the position that this is helping that person. The co-dependents are particularly tricky to deal with.

My philosophy is that we are here to help one another but not to enable. We want everyone to step into their own power and see how great they really are. We all shatter and break and we all need help. I listen to others, I support them and I know how hard it is to get through the tough times. But then there's that point where you've heard the story too many times and you know they wouldn't move forward. I have a friend who is a powerful healer. However, she says that she can help anyone who is ready to heal but if they don't want to heal - there is nothing she can do.

In my opinion, on one level you are acting from the position of needing your own space - and that is perfectly reasonable. But on another level, as a healer, you are cutting ties because while you gave healing, the other person wanted to stay stuck and now, you are letting them go with the hope that they will turn things around. Bless them and send them on their way with the hope that they will figure it out. As a healer, you've done your part and you can let go. And while I know it's hard, you really shouldn't feel guilty about this.

Sarah
@sarah
2 years ago
386 posts

Oh wow! I've never thought of it that way before. I've even seen and experienced that dynamic you talked about with mirroring and healing, then the getting kind of annoyed or stepping away or needing space many times, but I never though about it meaning that the healing is done. I've often wondered why I make such strong connections with certain people, only to sort of float away after a time. That must be it. I'm going to make a note of this, so when I start feeling that pushing away thing, I can just say to myself, "It is done," and let myself move away hopefully gracefully. In fact, I'm going to read this to my daughter who struggles with some of the same issues I do with this.

For all the healing I've done for people, I think codependence is the hardest thing I've some across. I know it's in the family of addiction, but I find addiction easier to deal with than codependence. It seems like codependent people are terrified to let it go, like they feel they would shatter into dust without it. It's like they feel they ARE it in some ways. Plus, our society rewards it--the wonderful long suffering mother, the devoted church lady, the wife who cares for a husband riddled with health problems and underlying emotional problems. It looks good on the surface, but really it's self-serving and insidious. I'm not sure I've ever been able to make a dent in anyone's codependence. I do rather have a good feeling about this friend I messaged, though. It feels like she is reaching out for healing and not for commiseration or someone to appreciate her suffering. I don't think it would just take one person's help to get rid of it, though. It is way bigger than me.

Thank you!

Pat-Starbridge
@pat-starbridge
2 years ago
437 posts

Every relationship is different and healing can be for the healer as well. Family or long term relationships seem to go through a layered effect, it's like a subtle change in the nature of the relationship and it's less dramatic than the ones you describe.

I've had a long history of people showing up in my life for awhile and then just disappearing. i really hate that but as I started to understand the effects of my energy, then it started to make sense. I've also experienced it as a way of getting me to move on.

I agree with your theory about codependent people, not only does society reward that behavior but when one tries to make a dent, the person trying to help is often perceived as being mean or not understanding.

It sounds like this friend doesn't have boundaries or just relieved to find someone who can help her. I think it's a good idea that you're setting ground rules, now.

Sarah
@sarah
2 years ago
386 posts

She told me that she felt inspired to have her word for 2015 be "boundaries." I think that is wonderful, and just what she needs. So far, she has dealt with my message with grace and kindness, and has backed off, but has also kept her friendship extended in more subtle and gentle ways. So far, this seems like a good sign and says a lot about her as a person. I'm going to be careful, though and make sure to pay attention to my body for any signs of things being off.

I like your layered effect idea. I really see that in my long term relationships. Those are the relationships that are flexible enough to allow growth for each party and to allow that growth to take place at possibly different times, so one person might be at a new level and the other person might still be at the old level, but it's okay.

Sarah
@sarah
2 years ago
386 posts

Yeah, me, too. Believe me it was hard to tell her. She really is a kind and good person, and the thought of hurting her was really painful and I had a lot of stress. I knew it was for the best though. I hope you find the best ways to set boundaries with people that treat you like that. I know it's hard because you know you deserve to be treated well, but you don't want to hurt other people's feelings. I guess it's just something us empaths need to learn in our lives. Good luck to you! You can do it!

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