Since we’re talking about love, let’s talk about Love’s bestie – Boundaries.
I suppose Boundaries are besties with Respect which, as I’ve said, goes hand in hand with Love. Maybe these guys are more than besties; they’re all in the same family, like kissing cousins.
I said in my post on UNCONDITIONAL, that I love my kids unconditionally. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about that. I would die for them. No questions asked.
But even unconditional love comes with boundaries.
I had a friend whose son was having some troubles with alcohol. The son would call her up at 2am (after the bar closed) and start blaming the mom for everything that had gone wrong in his life – based on what his mother had done wrong in raising him.
My friend asked, “what should I do. I have to work. I can’t get up at 2 or 3 am and talk him down from whatever trip he’s on.” I suggested my friend not answer the phone. She thought that was a horrifying prospect. How could she neglect her son like that? I suggested that she pick up, make certain it wasn’t an emergency, and say, “I will gladly talk to you about this tomorrow” and hang up. She wasn’t certain she could do that either.
Her son was 30 years old. He was a grown ass man. He should have known better than to call his working mother in the middle of the night.
If it happens once in awhile… If there’s an emergency… If her son was really distraught and needed to talk – that is totally different.
My phone is open to anyone who calls and is in need of help – any time. However, when my Australian friend calls at 3am, knowing full well that in my time zone it’s 3am, I am not up for a chat about the weather or to shoot the shit and he has gotten an earful.
The very next time my friend’s son called, which happened to be the very next night, my friend answered the phone near 4am, and asked her son if he was safe, if he was home, if it was an emergency, then told him to call her at a more appropriate time.
The son was pissed. The son didn’t talk to her for a week. But he also never called her in the middle of the night again. And, when he did call, he was in a less inebriated state and they were able to have a real conversation.
Sometimes we have to show others our boundaries. Tell them we love them – and I love my Australian friend – and remind them we have our own ideas of love, respect, and boundaries.
As parents, we need to teach our children these things. As adults, sometimes we have to remind those we interact with as they may have learned something different.
Jack’s father loves him. He loves him with his whole heart and soul. He spent his life protecting his family and his community. But there were times he couldn’t deal with Jack. He couldn’t deal with the choices he made or the pain he caused – so his father enacted some boundaries. These boundaries hurt Jack but, in retrospect, they also helped him.
We can’t allow people to hurt us just because we love them.