When you’re in the Victim mentality, you might be tempted to use boundaries as weapons against your friends. Bad idea.
Today, I’m going to talk about boundaries. Psychological boundaries.
This is a continuation of what I was talking about in the last episode, dealing with the Drama Triangle and the Empowerment Dynamic.
How do we protect ourselves against Persecutors?
This is the thing with Victims, right? Victims have to set boundaries.
I should warn you first. This episode might trigger you. It might trigger a lot of you.
I hope it does. And, I hope you tell me about it, because I’m in the mood for a fight.
It’s going to. I’m telling you.
I hear this all the time. It’s such a common meme, the idea that the reason you’re being Victimized is because you’re not enforcing your boundaries. You’re not being clear and consistent with that.
You have to have these rules that you’ve set. You’ve written them down, you’ve carved them in stone, you carry them around with you, and you’ve tattooed them on the inside of your eyelids, and they’re always there and you know what they are, and you’re just ready. Ready to pull them out any time anybody starts to attack you.
You’ve got those boundaries, and you’d better make sure that they know about it. You better make sure that you tell them about those boundaries. Because, at the end of the day, it’s their responsibility to make sure that they don’t violate those boundaries. I hear this all the time. And that’s the expression: people violate your boundaries.
When your friends do this, you’ll say to them “hey, you violated a boundary., You crossed a boundary. “
People have said this to me. They say it all the time.
Well, I’ve had enough of it. Now, it ‘s my turn to violate some boundaries. This is all about Victim-blaming. Let’s get that clear. I don’t think it’s clear enough. Hopefully, it is now.
Hopefully, you understand that I don’t respect your boundaries. That’s not what this is about. This is not about respecting your boundaries.
I view myself as a Challenger. When I’m a challenger, my job is not to make you feel comfortable. Your boundaries are not there to make you feel comfortable.
I don’t care about that. I’m not going to put that responsibility on you, with my boundaries. My boundaries are not for that purpose. It’s not a weapon I use against. you. It’s not a test that I put my friends through. That’s not the idea.
See, it’s all tied up in the idea of the challenger.
A boundary is a rule that you have for yourself. This is why you do it. It’s why you should do it. It’s a test that you apply to yourself.
So, if I say I have a boundary, like “you’re not allowed to talk to me that way.” That’s not your responsibility. That’s my responsibility.
If you start talking to me that way, now I have a responsibility to do something about it. I’m not going to put that on you. What’s the point of that?
You don’t have control over what other people do. Stop control trying to control it. You have control over what you do.
So, that’s what you want to do. Take those boundaries and use them to help you. This is the way that you’re going to respond to CHallengers.
If you’re viewing them as Persecutors, then it’s a different game you’re playing. Why even have boundaries in that case? So that when they cross the boundary, you’re justified in fighting back? If they’re a Persecutor, why do you need a boundary?
But, people in the Victim mentality don’t look at it that way. They’re very reluctant to call people Persecutors. Why, because then you’re a Victim? Is that what it is?
Very reluctant to call people Persecutors outright. And yet, still somehow that’s how you look at everything. But, you won’t say it.
“My friends would never talk to me that way.”
“You crossed a line.”
Give it a rest, come on.
Obviously, your friends are talking to you that way. Why else would I talk to you that way?
This is your responsibility. You do something about it. Do you want to be my friend, or not? If you do, deal with it. Have your boundary. It’s your responsibility to enforce it, not mine.
This has to be said. I can’t stand this anymore. You’ve all crossed a boundary, you know that? You’ve all violated my boundaries. Now, I’m holding you accountable.
I’m not going to tolerate this anymore. I’m going to speak my mind. This is your problem now. Not my problem. I made my boundaries very clear! I’ve said this over and over again.
And still, you continue to do it. You refuse to listen. Even though I’ve said it. Not my responsibility to teach you. Not mine.
Come on, a real friend wouldn’t treat me that way.
Well that’s it. I’m just going to have to set a boundary now. Once and for all, I’m just going to have to stand up for myself. Enough is enough. I’ve been putting up with this for far too long. And it’s not just you. Everybody treats me this way. Enough is enough.
So, what do you do, when somebody’s giving you a hard time?
Do you view yourself as a Victim, or a Creator?
I’m going to assume that you view yourself as a Creator. That’s how I’m going to look at it. I just won’t look at it as if you’re a Victim. That’s not of any interest to me. I refuse to look at it that way. That’s my boundary.
When you start acting like a Victim, and talking to me as if you’re a Victim, I’m going to set a boundary right there. I will not go there with you. I will not treat you as a Victim, no matter how much you’re insisting that you are. I’m just going to treat you as a Creator. THat’s it. Very simple.
If you call other people Persecutors, I’m not going to go there with you.
I’ll listen to it, sure. You can talk to me about those things. But, I’m not going to play along with that.
When you tell me someone else is being a Persecutor, I’m going to hear it as if they’re a Challenger. As if they’re the good guy in the story. Because this is your adventure. This is your Creation. That’s how I look at it.
You should look at it that way, too. When you do, things are going to be a bit different, because the concept of a boundary is going to change.
You’re going to see that what the Challenger is doing to me is a good thing. Like, this is why I’m on this trip, is to face these things.
This is what a boundary can do for you. It can help train you. I can teach you something. That’s the exercise you’re doing. You want that. You want those opportunities to enforce boundaries.
I was talking to a friend the other day, and the story that I was hearing was how her mother is somewhat controlling, and my friend hears from other people about the mother’s behavior, and she feels some responsibility to protect those people from her mother.
That causes a lot of stress. A ton of stress, because when someone is annoyed with you, it’s like you suddenly have to drop everything you’re doing and tend to that problem.
So her response has been that when somebody talks to her about this, she says “don’t talk to me about this. Talk to my mom. She’s a grown adult. Don’t bother me about her behavior”.
Obviously, she sees a need for some kind of boundary there. People just can’t say these things, and her mother can’t be imposing on her. It’s a huge distraction. How do you live your life that way?
But, let’s go a little bit deeper into that. In that mentality, you’re viewing people as Persecutors. Viewing your mother as a Persecutor, you’re viewing the people who are getting on your case about her behavior as Persecutors.
Let’s turn the whole thing around, and look at it from the Empowerment Dynamic. You want to view everyone as Challengers, because you’re the Creator. It’s all about what you’re trying to create here. You can use these things as opportunities. They’re exercises, they’re challenges, they’re things you can push against to help you move in the direction you’re trying to move in.
So, if someone says to you, “can’t you control your mother?”
You say: “you’re the one who feels uncomfortable because of my mother’s behavior. Don’t make that my problem. It’s not my responsibility to take care of your feelings right now.”
That’s what’s happening right here, in the moment. It’s very different from putting the responsibility on the mother and saying “it’s not my problem.”
No, put it on the person saying it to you.
“But Michael, isn’t that the drama triangle? Aren’t you viewing yourself as a Victim, and you’re viewing the other person as a Persecutor?”
No, that’s not what it is. I’m seeing myself as a Creator here. I am learning how to talk back to people. I’m learning how to create boundaries. That’s the creation.
Every time that somebody brings it up to me, every time that somebody gets on my case because of my mother’s behavior, is another opportunity for me to practice. It’s another opportunity for me to build that creation.
These are good things, and you want to seek out these opportunities.
It’s not about the language. It’s not about the form of it. It’s not about whether you’re calling yourself a Victim or whether you’re calling yourself a Persecutor. Those are just words.
The difference between a Victim and a Creator is not about the language you use. It’s about the function of it. It’s about how it actually works in practice. See, it’s totally different.
The Creator is totally intentional about the creation. You deliberately decide what you’re going to create, and as things come up, you use them to help you, because you’re the one who decided what the mission is. You decided where you’re going to go. You decided that, ahead of time.
You will use these things, every one of them, as an opportunity.
But the Victim doesn’t look at it that way, because the Victim says “I’m just sitting here trying to do my own thing , and all of you people keep messing it up for me.” That’s the Victim mentality. It’s the exact opposite.
The Victim is inherently about the idea that we don’t want to change. We don’t want to adapt to circumstances. But the Creator is about change, and about adapting to circumstances.
It’s not about whether you’re reacting to people. The object of the Creator is not to be a statue, totally motionless, totally oblivious to anything. That’s just another form of Victim.
You see, the environment changes. This is a total fantasy, this notion that you’re going to develop the suit of armor when nothing is ever going to get to you. This is totally unrealistic, it can’t happen.
The environment you live in is too volatile for that. It just can’t happen. You don’t even want to go there.
Your object is always to be flexible, and flexibility means you’re able to adapt to your environment as your environment changes.
From one perspective, this is going to look like reactivity. Like you’re just reacting to what people do, like you’re just letting them control you. Sure, let them control you. You can’t stop that from happening. They’re going to control you. They just are.
The question is not, “are they controlling your behavior? “, but “are they pulling you away from your mission?”
Your creation, the thing you are trying to make.
Now, if your creation is, I hope, some behavior patterns where you are an independent human being who is capable of pursuing the things that you care about, and that you are trying to create good in the world, and not simply try to avoid evil. If that’s what you’re trying to do, great. And there’s a certain type of boundaries that are going to help you with that.
You have to understand the distinction here, because from the naive point of view, they look so similar to each other. They really do.
Go look at my Facebook account. You have to be my friend I guess, but yeah. You may say, “Michael you certainly are acting like a Victim . “
Yeah, okay. I act like a Victim.
I mean, that’s your perspective. That’s the way you’re telling the story. If you want to be a Rescuer, you’re going to tell the story that way, as if I’m acting like a Victim, because you want me to be a Victim. Rescuers love Victims. It gives you meaning and it gives you purpose in your life. You get to help me fight.
And, if you’re particularly enlightened, you might say “I’m going to help you become a Creator. I’m going to help you get out of this Victim mindset.”
Uh huh. Okay.
I hope you’re doing that as a coach, and not as a Rescuer because if your Rescuer, it’s going to be stressful for you too.
I’m being a Creator. No matter how many horrible things I say about other people, I’m a creator. I’m not trying to create peace and quiet. That’s what the Victim does. The Victim is an anti-creator. The Victim wants to create nothingness. But the Creator wants to create something.
What I’m creating are Behavior patterns in my nervous system that are deliberately chosen. I choose them very deliberately, because these are the kinds of responses I want to have. When somebody is acting this way, when somebody is bullying me, whatever they’re doing, I want to create something. I want to have a response to that that works for me.
That’s going to involve diving right into these things. Because that’s what they’re doing. They’re bullying me. They’re acting like a Persecutor. That’s the frame that has been created. I have to dive right into it and deal with it. That’s where you have to deal with the mess. It can’t be anywhere else. You can’t just detach yourself from the situation. Just not going to work.
So, triggering is good. You have to trigger. You have to go right into it. You can’t avoid it.
Everybody wants to avoid it. I get it. But, it’s not going to work. It’s just going to cause more problems for you, because that’s the agenda that you have to begin with: to avoid these things. But, don’t avoid it. Go into it.
When my friend is trying to set a boundary here, when these people are getting on her case about this, anything she says trying to get these people to go away, bad idea.
She wants to learn how to stand there like a tree in the wind. You’re not letting it blow you over. You have to wave back and forth.
You have to go into it like “yeah, this is going to happen. these people are going to say these things, and I’m going to respond this way. It’s fine. I’m not going to resist it. I’m just going to respond.”
That’s going to feel challenging. It’s not going to feel easy. These are patterns that go back a long time. You’re fighting against your own conditioning, But that’s what you have to do.
That becomes the game. That’s the adventure you’re on. These things come up in life, and you say “here’s a conditioned pattern. Let’s see if I can just roll with it. Let’s see if I can not go with that particular response, but pick something else.”
That’s different from saying we’re going to avoid the situation altogether. It’s good when people say these things.
So, I hope that she will willingly go into these situations, and not view them as something that needs to be avoided. Because, they don’t.
Every single one of them is good. Every one of them is a new opportunity for practice not allowing other people to pull you into their strange Victim world, where they get to say things like, “your mother is misbehaving. I don’t want to have to deal with that. “
Well, tough luck. You have to deal with it, because it’s not my problem. You’re the one who’s feeling uncomfortable right now. Don’t make that my problem.
“Stop acting like a Victim!”
If you aren’t comfortable that I’m acting like a Victim, again, not my problem. You deal with that. You need a therapist. Don’t put that on me. I’m not the one responsible for that. I’m doing my own thing here. I’m creating something.
You see the difference between that and the actual Victim mentality?
No, you don’t see the difference, and you shouldn’t see the difference, because the difference only exists in my own mind. It’s an internal, subjective experience.
The words may sound just the same. That’s the way our language works.
The whole language that we speak is based on the idea of Victims and Persecutors. It’s really hard to find another way to talk. You know the difference, inside. You should know. If you don’t know the difference, then that’s where you need to put your attention.
Are you trying to create something, or are you trying to avoid something?
You’ve got to practice this. You can’t just listen to me talk about it. It’s not going to do anything for you. It’s all just intellectual.
Do it. Live your life. Figure it out.