Since this just happened, I thought I would share an example of a poor boundary application on my part, and an indication that I need to refine my boundaries.
You know the Crazy Cycle? I get into what I call the Idiot Cycle.
Today, it went like this.
Roughly a week ago or so, I mentioned to DH that I was planning to clean the fridge. I had just done a large grocery shopping trip, and the fridge needed a good cleaning as we as decluttering. I've been putting it off because I've had some other priorities.
Today, he announced that he was going to clean the fridge. Here's where my poor boundaries came in. Because I know my DH, this is what would happen:
a) He would throw out things that HE felt were of no use, like, say, lemon juice, without consulting me.
b) He would wipe down the walls and shelves of the fridge, and not be aware that it all needs to be pulled out to be cleaned properly.
c) He would leave it until the last minute, which means supper would be late, and everyone would be cranky.
d) I would still have to clean the fridge properly later on.
What happened is that it hit about 2 o'clock, and I started to take apart the fridge, and asked him to come and help me. (whoops, and duh) Oh, that was stupid of me. That tends towards controlling, and not an application of MY boundary. I cannot enforce his boundaries for him. One of the things that was going through my mind was that he would put it off till the last second, and then feel awful, launch into sulking, make everyone's night miserable, and then criticize me for how dirty the fridge is. (yes, this has been our pattern) At this point, we are at a stand-off - we are well and truly into our Idiot Cycle. He's mad, I'm mad, I'm embarrassed I didn't apply appropriate boundaries, and I'll have to go talk to him in a minute when I've calmed down a little more.
So, I made several mistakes. The first was that I didn't express my concerns to him, which doesn't meet my boundary of being honest in a loving way. The second is that I tried to enforce his boundary for him, instead of letting him either do it himself - or experience the consequences of not doing so. Third, I have no discussed with him what appropriate boundaries are for caretaking in the house. (which means, we just added that in to our little idiot cycle) I feel that it's appropriate in our case to have a boundary that allows me to take responsibility for what I am responsible for. In other words, I prep the food and do the groceries, therefore, the kitchen is my area to maintain. (Historically, he gets frustrated with, say, the cans being in the wrong spot, or the tupperware overflowing, and he takes on the job of reorganizing it. This inevitably means that I go through several weeks of inconvenience and then have to do it all over again so that I can do my job. He does this in a nuber of areas, and we need to get this resolved)
So, now I'm going to go take back ownership of a few of those boundaries, and do some defining and enforcing. That also means taking responsibility for where I failed, which I'm sure was confusing to him, and requires an apology.
After posting this to the other thread, I realized I was also being too critical, somehing we have a tendency to do to each other. There are reasons why we do that, but they're not really relevant.
The result; after some refining and discussion of the honesty boundary, which is where it seems it all initially went wrong, we now have a clean fridge (yay!) and some refinement of DH's boundaries as well as mine. I have found it difficult to respect his boundaries since I don't know what they are, but I'm not sure I was putting enough thought into it, either. That makes it about a set of rules instead of the give and take and flow of a relationship.
Leah, don't yell at me too hard