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March 13, 2019 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

Swan: Bill - I had to learn boundaries, my childhood opened me up to be completely reactive and for years it was a factor, but minor in our family. My husband had his own issues with boundaries and we both allowed each other and others to be in control too often. When MLC hit and I found Jim, he recommended Boundaries and as I read those books it started to really make sense to me and once I practiced boundaries, it became so much easier for me to be proactive and far less reactive.

Bill: Swan: Boundaries are one of the primary skills us wounded warriors need to be good at. I am encouraged that you understand boundaries are all about what you will do not what you expect others to do. When you said to your boss, "he needed to remove himself from me or I would leave," you demonstrated the power of always having something you can do regardless of how the other person is acting. This is a brilliant example of what boundaries truly look like.

 

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March 13, 2019 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

Swan: One of the members says she has a phone session with you; it is great she is doing private counseling; she has a mess on her hands.

Bill: Swan: Yes, she is amazingly focused. I anticipate good things from her this year with the effort and humility she is applying.

Swan: Bill - I have a supervisor at work that recently has been having emotional melt downs at work and these little fits are reminding me so much of how my husband was the last couple years of our marriage. The supervisor is in his mid 50's and a rather nice guy, but once he starts to melt down, he is horrible, aggressive and sometimes out of control. I worry about him in a couple ways, it cannot be good for his heart and it will only take one customer to file a complaint and he will most likely be fired. I personally wonder if midlife crisis is playing a part or he was always this way and hid it better.

Swan: Bill - She is a pretty amazing lady, she has had many rough roads in her life. She has such a kind heart and it is so sad to see her being treated as she is.

Bill: Swan: Interesting. Your supervisor is probably in the "all of the above" syndrome. He is most likely in MLC plus his coping skills are shrinking as he ages plus there is probably dissatisfaction with some of the important outcomes of his life plus he is probably feeling weaker as testosterone levels change, etc. I pray he finds the grace to just be best version of himself!

Swan: Bill - I have been fortunate that he doesn't melt down on me or at me, he did that once and I immediately stopped him, reminded him that sound travels and the people in the lobby could hear him, then told him we would talk later about his behavior but he needed to remove himself from me or I would leave, but his raging needed to stop now. He wasn't happy about it, he did walk away and later when we talked I calmly told him that it didn't matter what any of us do his behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by myself. He has so far respected that part, sadly many of our employees are younger and they just stand there in fear. Some rebel, some have mouthed off, others have quit, and I just don't know how to help the situation. I try talking to him about as soon as he feels the frustration coming on, taking a walk before behaving and he says that would be a great thing for him to do, agree he would most likely melt down less, but then he gets frustrated and immediately melts down.

Swan: Bill - Thanks for the prayer, he is in mine every day. It really hit home yesterday as I watched one of the younger kids shaking as soon as the melt down started. The supervisor wasn't even in the same area as we were, he was in the back, but he was throwing things around and rather loud with his comments. I don't think he understands that just because the person he is angry with isn't standing in front of him, he still isn't removing himself from the situation if he just goes in the back and has a fit.

Bill: Swan: I admire your ability to set clear boundaries and your concern for him as an individual. Your advice to him is outstanding and it is sad he is not able to muster the urgency to do what is healthy to keep himself out of the rage. It is fascinating that he has the urgency to get angry but not the focus to get well. This is far more common than I imagined when I was young. People get "programmed" when they are young to react emotionally to situations in life and then think leaving home will fix it. The self-defeating behaviors go dormant until midlife and then Wham!

Bill: Swan: It is remarkable how blind people are to their own behavior while they are critical of the behavior of others.

Swan: Bill - He kind of reminds me of an insecure bully trying to compensate for his own fears by scaring others, that and he just has no control over his temper. I talked with his wife once about his behavior; she said that until a couple years ago he didn't behave like this, which is part of why I am thinking the uncertainty of MLC has a part. He is in his mid 50's and not where I believe he thought he would be in his career. He often comments on his daughter and how disappointed he is in her choices. And he has a 12 year old son that he puts a lot of pressure on through football, but when the boy doesn't achieve as he wants, he reacts and it is usually not in a good way. His wife reminds me of myself in some situations; she has many walls and can sound very stern when she is just talking. She works with us and she can be two completely different people from when she does work directly with us and when it is indirect or he is off.

Swan: Bill - I had to learn boundaries, my childhood opened me up to be completely reactive and for years it was a factor, but minor in our family. My husband had his own issues with boundaries and we both allowed each other and others to be in control too often. When MLC hit and I found Jim, he recommended Boundaries and as I read those books it started to really make sense to me and once I practiced boundaries, it became so much easier for me to be proactive and far less reactive.

Bill: Swan: Boundaries are one of the primary skills us wounded warriors need to be good at. I am encouraged that you understand boundaries are all about what you will do not what you expect others to do. When you said to your boss, "he needed to remove himself from me or I would leave," you demonstrated the power of always having something you can do regardless of how the other person is acting. This is a brilliant example of what boundaries truly look like.

Bill: Swan: It also amazes me how attached people remain to the pain they know rather than work through new ways of making choices and interacting. We will stay busy as long as we want to!

Swan: Bill - You described my husband very well, he joined the Marine Corps to fix his situation at home. Ironically, my husband was his mothers favorite child (she never hid that feeling) and she did the controlling thing with him, but also had such high goals for him that no one could have ever met them and boy she turned on him quickly once he stopped trying to fulfill her goals. They bounced back and forth with the favorite/disowning for years until he finally said that he was going to allow her to disown him, he was not going to beg his way back into her life. I think he believed she would cave at some point, eight years later they finally come face to face because his father had passed away, he has Alzheimer’s and as soon as she saw him she started calling out his name. It was so sad, she passed away a couple months later and we were back for her funeral. Before this he spoke horribly about his mother, after her passing, he became more like her and took more of a protective stand for her.

Bill: Swan: Ugh - it breaks my heart how many relationships that could be amazingly supportive end up being manipulative and limiting. Your H's mom obviously loved her son and somewhere in her heart wanted the best for him but unhealthy tendencies ruled the day and ruined what should have been a close knit supportive relationship. For the rest of my life, I will be challenging people to truly "leave and cleave" which means being honest in evaluating the homes we grew up in, setting a strategy for filling in the gaps our parents either wouldn't or couldn't fill and seeking God for the strength he can provide. Doing less leads to too much pain.

Swan: Bill - I cannot even count the number of times I used to say things like "you better stop" and expect the other person to adhere to that threat. It wasn't until I learned that I can only control my actions (most times) and I can offer a choice, but even with that I need another option for myself should they continue. I still remember the first time I stated to my husband that if he was going to continue screaming and name calling at me, I was going to leave until he could be more respectful. We were getting the house ready to sell, which was very important to him. I didn't live there at that time and he didn't seem to be emotionally able to deal with things like that much. The other woman was calling constantly checking up on him, at one point she drove to our town and called him saying she was on her way to the house, she was moving in. He didn't allow that, he met her at the local military hotel and got them a room until he could find them an apartment. He was on edge so much after that and to be honest I got more done when he wasn't at the house. I did feel some resentment, I hadn't lived in the house for several months, he hadn't really cleaned and here I was taking care of all the packing, cleaning, etc. Fortunately, I was able to get it done and just needed him to come in at the end and then it sold quickly. He did seem to be relieved when he didn’t have to pay two rents.

Bill: Swan: LOL, I love the "you better stop" scenario. I am sure it even came with an authoritative tone of voice and a stern facial expression. On the surface, it sounds strong and empowering but in reality it transfers controls the one who is acting poorly. Responding with choices of how you will respond is so much more effective.

Swan: Bill - At the time I didn't understand, but now I can say my mother in law was a victim of her upbringing. She was the oldest daughter of eight children, her mother passed away when she was only six years old. Her father was a hard man. My mother in law married my father in law when she was only 14, he was 29. She baby sat for his sister, he had just come home from WW2 and two days after meeting, they ran off and got married. They stayed married until my father in law passed and she passed a couple months later. They celebrated over 50 years of marriage. She was a very quiet man, worked a lot even far after he could have retired. I always believed it was how he dealt with her.

Swan: Bill - In my reactive state my husband would take that as a call to battle, but when I stated and then enforced my boundary, my husband was left standing dead in his tracks, he learned quick and became more respectful, at least until we got the house sold.

Swan: You need to get ready for the phone session, so let's call it a night, see you next week.

Bill: Swan: We live in a tough, broken world. As a result, every family has shortcomings and blind spots. In many families these are severe and will cause generations of trouble unless someone courageously steps up and seeks God for a transformation. It is strenuous and can be confusing but it seems better to me than just continuing the pain. I am amazed at how some people overcome horrendous circumstances while others are ruined by far less sever experiences. Our ministry is really about helping people get in touch with the grace of God that can heal hearts. Thanks for being in the journey.

Bill: See you next week.

Swan: Bill - I had to learn boundaries, my childhood opened me up to be completely reactive and for years it was a factor, but minor in our family. My husband had his own issues with boundaries and we both allowed each other and others to be in control too often. When MLC hit and I found Jim, he recommended Boundaries and as I read those books it started to really make sense to me and once I practiced boundaries, it became so much easier for me to be proactive and far less reactive.

Bill: Swan: Boundaries are one of the primary skills us wounded warriors need to be good at. I am encouraged that you understand boundaries are all about what you will do not what you expect others to do. When you said to your boss, "he needed to remove himself from me or I would leave," you demonstrated the power of always having something you can do regardless of how the other person is acting. This is a brilliant example of what boundaries truly look like.

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