Monday, June 23, 2008

Boundaries (Part 4)

Have you ever noticed abusers don't respond to boundaries in the same ways that healthy people do?

For people who respect others, encountering a boundary can cause some initial surprise and upset, but then they are supportive of the other's needs. They care about how their behavior is affecting the other.

But with abusers a boundary is information to use against the other person. If their victim is sensitive about something then it becomes an important tool or weapon in the abuser's hands.

For example, if a wife said, "It's really important to me to arrive to church early, a respectful partner might say, "It's not as important to me, but I am willing to make a special effort to get us there 10 minutes before the start of service" or he might say," why don't we go in separate cars on Sundays when I am running behind schedule so that you can get there when you need to." An abusive spouse, on the other hand, might regularly work to get to church late once he learns of her preference. He might do it by picking a fight, by waiting until the expected departure time to begin dressing for church, or by asking her to do things that make her run late and then attack her for making them late again. Or he might make a big production of getting there at the time she requested but finding ways to punish her by making the children angry at her over it, mocking her for her uptightness, or playing the martyr to "her demands."

Learning to assertively state our needs and wants is essential, but be forewarned that abusers will instinctively resist and tromp on boundaries.

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Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft