Fellow Warriors in the Battle for Yourself

Sitting across from her with over-sized salads and ice water between us, I can tell how much stronger she is than when we first met two years ago.

She’s in the process of selling the house she shared with her husband of 23 years, buying a townhouse in Richmond, and completing graduate school to get a Masters of Education—all within one month.

She speaks clearly. She’s sensible and straight forward. She’s not blaming others or shifting focus.

Her story is familiar to me, and many other women. She dealt with his name calling and put downs until she realized that he wouldn’t change and her only chance of living the life she wanted was to take control and leave the situation.

She—and many other women in my life, especially my sister who I think of as the expert in setting healthy boundaries—are fellow warriors in the battle I’ve waged to protect myself from unsafe people.

They not only confirm the truth that losing oneself to someone else is dangerous, they also encourage me to strengthen my defenses against my own tendency to give too much of me.

Another day, another friend.

While checking email at work, a message comes across with the subject line “I simply said no.” The author works in the same building as I do and we often work out together. The email tells how she stood up to a request to take on another person’s job and simply said no. Sharing this small triumph, she reminded me how wise she is for her young years.

Without making the same mistakes I have, she chooses well how to spend her time and with whom.

She often shares personal experiences in setting boundaries and saying no. The most impressive of late was her declaration that only will she not allow unsafe people in her life, but she also will not allow them to invade and destroy her personal contentment.

When the unwelcome sight of a familiar car in a neighbor’s driveway set her to worrying about who might be staying close-by, she decided to not allow the anxiety or fear to affect her disposition. If I have a bachelor’s degree in setting boundaries, this girl is bound for a PhD.

Another dinner, another friend.

We’re meeting before we go watch a high school play in the theatre where we used to sing, dance and flirt with boys when we were juniors and seniors. We haven’t been nearly as close since then as we were during “the best years of our life,” but we’re reconnecting.

She’s leaving a relationship with a long-time boyfriend because she knows his controlling tendencies will not get better. Between bites of burger, I nod in agreement as she tells me how she let some of his behavior slide, giving him time to grieve the death of his mother and adjust to their relationship.

No, more, she declares. If anyone is controlling her life, it will be her.

Find your fellow warriors and add to the defenses in your arsenal of NO!

4 Responses to “Fellow Warriors in the Battle for Yourself”
  1. Autumn Rose says:

    I believe wholeheartedly in giving a person a chance to change, but not in putting up with any form of abuse in the meantime.

    The following book is a great resource: http://store.cloudtownsend.com/safe-people-book-1.html

  2. Lori says:

    I love this. Such a focused way of telling and sharing personal experiences with honoring self. It is common for us to lose sight of ourselves for others, but so unhealthy. Thanks!

    • Thank you, Lori! It seems like it’s not only common, but easy, to put others before ourselves in unhealthy and unproductive ways. Like a bad habit that we can slip into without a second thought. Being aware and cognizant of the tendency is the first step toward protecting yourself from unsafe people and setting up healthy boundaries. I appreciate your comments! Hope to hear from you again.


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  1. […] week, I wrote about Fellow Warriors in the Battle for Yourself and shared stories of women who show me everyday how saying no and being their own person changes […]

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