Boundaries and having the right to say when they're violated....this is something I find a real minefield. Until not so long back, I fell into the category of those survivors who don't say, who feel they have no right to say when someone invaded my space, when something was triggering for me. I am in the process of learning how to do this now, but it is a minefield...it doesn't come naturally, and it comes out as pure panic if the first request is ignored. I am currently reading a book recommended to me by Boz from G.R.A.C.E, written by Diane Mandt Langberg. She says:
'Boundaries are easily trounced when voice is silenced. When survivors live in an environment in which the abuser takes what he or she should ask for and refuses to give what the victim requests, they feel violated. Survivors feel as if they never know when the boom will fall. Either they respond by assuming they have no right of refusal and that others have the right to take from them, or they become hypervigilant about boundaries and patrol their own like a sentry on duty, protecting and guarding themselves meticulously'. (from 'On the Threshold of Hope', by Diane Mandt Langberg, PH.D, AACC Tyndale Books)
Never knowing when the boom will fall.....patrolling your boundaries like a sentry on duty....these are things I can totally relate to. It is hard work. Tiring work. And it makes for difficult relationships. It is hard to be open and relaxed in a friendship when you are constantly hypervigilant. And hard for the other person to understand why you are, when they have perhaps never given you cause to be. This is the minefield we have to negotiate as survivors looking for freedom and healing. It would be so much easier to stay locked away, alone, where the minefield never had to be negotiated. But although less difficult, less traumatic at times, and less tiring, it is also much less rewarding. There is much to be gained from venturing out and beginning to dare to tread the dangerous path towards healing and freedom. It brings great rewards - I have one friend who consistently brings sunshine on emotionally rainy days - but to get to that we've had to negotiate the minefield of my triggers as we got to know each other. It took patience on both our parts. But I wouldn't be without it now, or any of my other friends for that matter. It is still a learning process for me. One that I hope will continue to bring me more healing and freedom as time goes on.