They're not respecting my boundaries!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2005
They're not respecting my boundaries!
13
Mon, 10-31-2011 - 1:17pm

I wrote a while ago about my situation with my family of origin. There was a blow-up a while ago where essentially I was mistreated by them. I was so devastated, I decided I needed to take time away from them (for who knows how long), to try to process the whole dysfunctional family thing and to grow and heal. I am working with a counselor on these things, which has been very helpful.

When another family member found out about the blow-up, they inserted themselves into the situation and are trying to "fix" things in a codependent kind of way.

Recently, that person barged through my boundaries by showing up at my house on a seemingly benign errand. Well, I feel very violated and angry that they would do this! They could have called ahead of time to see if it was okay with me for them to come here. I think they are just trying to pressure me to rejoin the dysfunctional family system so everything can get swept under the rug and appear "normal" again. They show no concern for my feelings, they're just trying to get me to behave the way they want.

Plus, the family keeps asking me to come to various family functions. I told them quite some time ago that I need time away. It really bothers me that they seem to not understand this, or don't respect my needs and feelings.

I get the feeling that they just want me to be compliant and act like a child! It's like I don't have permission to be an adult, live my own life, have my own wishes, spend the holidays how I want, take care of myself the way I see fit, to set boundaries etc.!!! They only seem to care about what they want, and about doing outward behaviors that make it look like we're all a happy family (when we're not).

What do I do about this boundary invasion by the one family member? What do I do about the rest of them bugging me to join the family get-togethers? If I just keep my distance like I've been doing, will they get the hint that no I'm no going along with their wishes? If I do explain it again, will it even make any difference? Why don't they respect my need for time away from them?

Have any of you had similar problems in setting boundaries and keeping them firm? What do you do if people push past them? Will I have to get a security cam for the front door?

I'd appreciate any comments. Thanks!

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Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Mon, 10-31-2011 - 2:35pm
When people, anyone, come to my house unannounced, I simply don't go to the door. Period. I don't care if they see me inside or not. If you're rude enough to pop in without calling, then I can be rude enough to ignore you :)

You didn't say "I want a 75% break from you". You told them you were taking a 100%, bonafide break and in my eyes, that means no calls, no texts, no emails, no contact. I think in time, they'll realize that their pestering you isn't getting them anywhere and they'll give you the time/space you desire.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2010
Mon, 10-31-2011 - 4:10pm

I understand what you are talking about.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2005
Mon, 10-31-2011 - 8:13pm

Thanks for the replies! I wish I'd had the hutspa to tell that person who showed up at my door to please leave, they were not invited over. But I was so shocked to see them! It's like I was in shock the whole time. I don't even know why I let them in, or why I let them stay and "chit chat" for a while. It was very uncomfortable for me. Maybe I just slipped into "dysfunction" and "denial" mode?

I don't know, mabye I need to spell out to each member of the family exactly what my new/current boundaries are. But then again, from their behavior so far, it seems they are not the kind of people who will understand or "get it."

In fact, it seems to me that they are making me out to be the "bad" person (scapegoat), even though I was the victim in the blow-up that happened. Blame the victim! Yea, real nice and loving family there. It makes me sick!!!

I honestly don't want to have anything to do with these people. I don't know if I ever will. I can't feel safe at all if they aren't able and willing to respect me and my boundaries. I need to live my life for me, and focus on my own needs and growth!

Are people actually able to keep their boundaries and deal with difficult family members without going nuts?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Tue, 11-01-2011 - 7:07am

If the person who showed up at your house isn't someone you've had problems with in the past, I can see why you let them in.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2005
Tue, 11-01-2011 - 11:25am

Thanks! I actually have had problems with that person in the past. They essentially threw a fit when I said I wasn't going to be at a family get-together. That in itself was so hurtful, I decided to "ignore" them. They contacted me once and included a "guilt" message about the whole family. And they seem to think it's their job to try to get me back into the dysfunctional system.

Then they showed up at my house uninvited. And they were carrying a "message" from the rest of the family. So, I really want nothing to do with this person, due to their lack of respect towards me, and their lack of compassion and understanding over the blow-up that happened with the family.

The thing is, I don't think this person realizes I'm trying to distance myself from them due to their behavior and attitude.

Do I just "hope" that they don't show up at my house again? Should I call them out and make it clear that this behavior is not acceptable to me?

And what about the rest of the family, should I more clearly state the boundaries?

Or, are these people going to just keep trying to manipulate and control and grasp at me? That will drive me nuts! Although I know it's up to me not to give them the power to do so. It's been hard even up til this point.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-05-2008
Tue, 11-01-2011 - 1:44pm

wow! I totally know what your going through!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Tue, 11-01-2011 - 5:20pm

YES, they're trying to control and manipulate you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Tue, 11-01-2011 - 5:20pm

YES, they're trying to control and manipulate you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2005
Wed, 11-02-2011 - 10:57am

Okay, here's what I've realized. I did set a very general boundary with the other family members, saying I am taking time away. But I have never set outward boundaries with the person who came to my house. I never told that person to leave me alone, don't contact me, etc. (I did set boundaries for myself as far as ignoring that person.)

Part of me wants to push back against that person overstepping my boundaries. That might make me feel more "powerful." But I do agree that I shouldn't waste any more time trying to explain to any of them what should be obvious.

Are these people going to continue to try to pull me back into the dysfunction? Or will they get tired of it and give up one day?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2005
Wed, 11-02-2011 - 10:59am

Shorty, your situation does sound very similar to mine. It will be nice for you to have drama-free holidays this year! Stay strong, and I will try to too. It's nice to know I'm not alone with the whole dysfunctional family thing!

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