‘You draw a circle of gold around your immediate family and anybody who puts a toe inside and causes trouble, be it family, friends or outsiders, are out.’
I rang my Mum this morning to check on the exact words for this quote, as they came from a wonderful lady created from frontier stock who lived in Africa. Our family loved her.
I have thought about her words in the last few years and how her ethic was all about love and strong boundaries. During the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, the hubbub of everyday life quietened down, creating time and space to think. The ways we show up in the world changed and as we pick up the threads of life again, there is the choice on which ones we weave.
Some souls could start a fight in an empty room and live by projecting their sharp feelings onto those around them. There are reasons and layers to their behaviour, but they need to lessen and ease their pain which causes them to empty it over others. Then the gentler souls in the mix try to smooth things over and restore peace. The uncomfortable feelings build up inside the angry souls again and they set off another cycle. And so it goes on. In the last few years, some patterns have become neon signs begging for attention, so when I found myself cornered in a drama, I banged down a boundary. My actions were unplanned, taking myself and others by surprise. After sharing a short explanation with the person emptying their angst, I closed with these words.
‘I am done.’
With some people, there has been fallout, but having explained it simply, once, I have not entered into further discussion. My thinking is that their issues are not mine to fix and also, any more discussion will set off a new cycle running on old patterns.
Boundaries are never easy because they spark fears of how people see us and what they expect from us, yet, the most compassionate people I have met, nurture the strongest boundaries.