Boundaries & Family. “Kindness” or Manipulation?

There is a good book on Boundaries, which you can get through called: Where To Draw The Line, by Anne Katherine.

But here’s a scenario/question I’d like to share, not in the book.
Who is in charge in your house or apartment? You are, or should be. Why? Because it’s *your* place! But if that’s true, then what if:

Your brother or sister comes over to stay for a few days, maybe a week. Let’s say your parents are also coming over, too and that you have a 2 or 3 bedroom place, so there is room for everyone to stay overnight. Even though they are family, you are still in charge of your own place and family or not, they should “respect your house” and that it’s “your house, your rules”. After all, who is in charge in their house? Simple enough. But what if your brother or sister decided to intrude on or ignore your boundaries “by doing a good thing”? Such as: Family is visiting you. Let’s say you go to the Mall in the daytime because you enjoy it and will be gone all afternoon til say, an hour before dinner. But, while you were out, let’s say your brother or your sister got the bright idea of going the grocery store, buying some meat, veggies and a bunch of food items and–without informing or asking you at all–just decided that they would cook dinner for everyone, using your kitchen, and they wont let you pay them back for the food they bought. You come back from the Mall, walk in the door and its 15 minutes before everything is ready.

It might be very tempting to just say: KEWWWL! Somebody cooked for me and it didnt cost me a dime, but—think further. is it really as simple and innocent as that? Or, would you feel like someone else “took over” and “ran right over you without asking first”? Maybe so they could one-up you and be “star of the show” in your own house? Or at the very least, ignoring you and overstepping their bounds? Let’s go further still. Suppose you do think so, but that your Mom or Dad defends that person, saying how it was all so “kind-hearted” of them, would you still think it was wrong? Are you going by what you feel or how others tell you how you should feel? How would you feel? Why? What if after dinner you all wanted to go see a movie and this same person picked the one you will all go to see, while visiting your house? Don’t you feel like this person is “taking over”? If no, why not? If yes, suppose they offered to pay the bill for everyone, does that mean they get their way or make the decision? Beware of manipulators offering gifts. How do you feel about all this? Boundaries are a very interesting topic.  –  TheOwl30


Author: theOwl30

I like Music, Psychology, Spirituality, TV.

2 thoughts on “Boundaries & Family. “Kindness” or Manipulation?”

  1. I needed this today. I agree with everything you said. I just had to deal with a similar situation recently. I had to stand up for myself and draw that line! I wish I would’ve seen your article a while ago, because I sort of let it go on for a while before learning that I was being manipulated. Its okay though. Better late than never right?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! Always good to learn and gain more insights. Even if we wish we did it earlier, learning now is still progress. For all of us.

    The Big Lessons that I am learning about Boundaries is that: I must be persistent! And remain alert. To see if they are A) hoping I have forgotten in a few weeks or B) if they will try to find a new way to “push the envelope”.

    So I should be persdistent, alert, and un-apologetic. For example: suppose I want people who come mover to take off their shoes. It’s my house and I have that right. I don’t care about arguing that “its no big deal cuz my (their) shoes are clean.” I myself have been asked that at other people’s house and I comply. I don’t care if they feel it’s really “no big deal”. At my house, I will decide what is and what isn’t a big deal. Just like they will at their house. Here’s another “small” scenario. See what you think—

    A family member is riding with you in *your* car and you have the radio or a music CD on while driving. Its music you really like, but they say the music sucks and to turn it off. How do you (or anyone reading this) feel about this conversation? Here is what I feel they would be likely to say, and my responses:

    Them: Gawd, that music sucks. Shut it off.
    Me: I like it and this is my car.
    Them: But I’m a “captive audience”.
    Me: #1–NO ONE forced you to ride with me. And its my car. Would you tell me what TV channel to have on if you were in my house?
    Them: Well, iiiii wouldn’t do things like that. I’d shut if off it you were in my car.”
    Me: Maybe. But you would be within your rights either way. But even aside from that: Your-choices-dont-obligate-me!
    Them: well, you could have a little more consideration.
    Me: IIII could? 2 replies: #1. who is on who’s “turf” here? When iiii’m the passenger, or a visitor at someone else’s place, I do things *their* way. They, or you, can show “consideration” and respect by doing the same for me. and #2. What would I do if you weren’t even here? I’d enjoy this music. Question: why should I diminish my enjoyment any less, or inhibit myself just because you are here?
    Them: That sounds selfish. 15 minutes without your music wouldn’t kill you.
    Me: And 15 minutes of hearing it won’t kill you, either. I am within my rights if its in my house, on my property or in my car. Just like you are.
    Them: Gawd, I hate driving with you.
    Me: I can stop the car. You are free to go. No one ever forced you at all.
    Comment: There! That should cover the likely objections and arguments. One more thing—suppose i *did* give them their way on this bit with the radio. How soon would it be before they found 6 other ways and situations for me (or you) to be more “considerate” ? You get to be “courteous” but they will never admit to being “manipulative”, will they? I didn’t think so. It’s an ongoing battle but we usually feel better when we stand up for our rights


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