advertise with us find a job post your topic join the community log in
Reality Unscripted
Boundaries Revisited

One of my early posts was about setting boundaries with those who are all too happy to cross them. This go around I'm taking a different slant.

I'm here to admit I haven't done a very good job at setting my own boundaries.

I'm in the middle of a situation that has made me exhausted, crabby, and out of clean underwear. I've allowed myself to get sucked into someone else's life is being sucked out of me. It's in no way the other person's fault. It's all me. I have jumped in with every ounce of energy I possess. Maybe it seemed heroic to me initially. I thought I could help. Because helping is what I do.

The problem is I started doing it at the expense of my family and my own mental health. You should see the pile of laundry in my family room! I don't think a clean folded item has seen a drawer in three months.

Can any of you other "helpers" relate to what I'm saying? Do you ever find yourself getting pulled into something and not being able to put on the brakes? It's really hard for some of us to say no when we so badly want to say yes. We can't see the downside of getting involved.

But now I've seen the downside. My house is a wreck. My kids keep saying there's nothing to eat. My husband has gone out twice to buy new underwear for himself. My brain has been consumed with someone else's life.

I tried something new over the weekend. I didn't open my e-mail. I didn't make any phone calls. I completely distanced myself from the situation for 48 hours. It was heavenly. It was the thing that finally made me realize how sucked in I was. I hope I can hold on to the little bit of sanity I discovered, keep being a good friend, and get back to being a good wife and mom.

As a profession, we are helpers and many will face this both in our jobs and in our lives. I would love to hear your advice on setting boundaries.

Read more Reality Unscripted articles

4 Responses to “Boundaries Revisited”

  1. Bulldog jack Says:

    1 “NO.” is a complete sentence.
    2. Surrender does not mean losing. It just means stop fighting.

    Is your husband able to learn how a washer works?

  2. Ian Furst Says:

    agree with Bulldog,

    If you’re doing the job well you’ve set the situation up to survive without you’re input for a couple of weeks. Let it ride and “just do the job” — don’t take it home and try not to worry. A little break will help you prepare for the next battle (and there will be one). Good luck.

  3. steubified Says:

    I think a nurses we have built-in brain mechanisms that tell us “you are ready for any situation, go for it! you can contribute and help!” What that little mechanism is missing is the slow-down mode which would make us stop and re-evaluate the situation before jumping in. Of course it’s hard to see all the ramifications of a decision made, but sometimes you can get a gut feeling that it’s going to be a stiffer price for you to pay to help out than you thought. I think stepping back (or stepping out) is a wise decision. Taking care of your own is the most important!

  4. Kathy Quan RN BSN Says:

    When I got involved in the PTA I learned that term for us “over achievers at helping” is called “the helium hand syndrome” and sometimes you have to learn how to sit on that hand!!!! Of course that can be painful and sometimes also involves biting your tongue and clenching your teeth so you can’t even try to mumble anything akin to “I’ll do it.”

    We have to learn to put ourselves FIRST and to take a break. Step back, really smell the roses, and then be realistic about how much we can do so that it gets done well.

    Get your family involved. You don’t have to do it all. Kids can fold clothes while they watch TV. I don’t actually recommend men and washing machines however.

    My own husband uses his boat oar to shove as many clothes in as he possible can… He has permanently wrinkled EVERTHING…. even the iron won’t take them out!

    So he helps in many other ways until we banish him from that job for awhile.

    Take care of YOU!!!


Leave a Reply

search realityrn

sign up for weekly cartoons, tips, and blog posts
first name
last name

Register to win a pair of RX Medical Silver Fox Crocs

Nursing Jobs