I’m starting out this post as somewhat of a “thinking out loud” scenario. Actually I suppose you could look at many of my posts here on this blog in that way. I write about how I’m feeling and work through my healing journey here, online with all of you amazing survivors. I can’t thank you enough for all of your support and kindness, it means the world to me.

So I’ve been thinking about, of course based on a recent session, how Avoidance can be used as Boundary. First though I have to explore if it really is a boundary, and I believe that it is. So the real question is that, is it a healthy boundary or an unhealthy one?

In the situation of the Narcissistic abuse that I’ve discovered as part of my past trauma…

The context of my situation with avoidance isn’t so much whether I should do it or not, because I already do. It has more to do with the guilt that comes with avoidance, and should I feel that way? Who’s making me feel that way, me or the memories of what she (my mother) did? I’ve said before I swear it’s like she’s right here with me even though she’s really isn’t. To this day she is still in my head. Old wounds heal slow and invalidation runs deep.

This feels like a healthy boundary to me because I am refusing to put myself in a position to be invalidated again. I’m not allowing her the opportunity to make me feel like I did when I was younger. Even if she wouldn’t be doing it intentionally now, I just know it would still happen.

I would get the blame because I didn’t talk to her, I didn’t reach out and confide in her when I was younger. So how would she know what was wrong? I’m telling you I can see it happening plain as day.

Regardless of how much I would explain that her constant criticism of my hair, my clothes, my music, my friends, and my attitude, hurt me, it wouldn’t matter. And to that fact, even if she would apologize, I’m not ready to accept that it would be a genuine apology even if it she felt that it was.

On top of that, there’s the near definite possibility that it would get around my family quicker than passing a hot potato around a circle. It would be like reliving the abuse all over again. I have a right to not put myself through that kind of pain again. Especially if I’m not feeling strong enough in recovery to defend myself properly.

The last thing I need now is to start taking more steps backwards and stalling out in my healing. I’ve made too much progress so far, but yet I still have a long way to go.

As I sit here and re-read what I just wrote so far, I’m feeling more confident that avoidance in this case is indeed a healthy boundary. I recognize the situation, what I’m capable of handling right now and what I’m not capable of handling. Perhaps I’m not giving myself enough credit, and that is something to consider. I mean after all I am a master at minimizing. 

However, as I examine this topic and how it relates to me, I don’t think it’s a situation of not giving myself enough credit. Rather it’s having the awareness of my knowing my limits right now. Perhaps in time I will gain more confidence, and I sure hope that I do otherwise this whole healing journey thing is not what I’m expecting.

Ok back that up, take two…. In time I WILL gain more confidence and I will be better equipped to handle a situation like this.

On the flip side, I do realize there are times when avoidance maybe isn’t the best option.  Some examples could be:

  • If you have walls built up so strong and high that you let nobody in for any reason (yes, I do that too).
  • If you avoid going out and being with friends who you know wouldn’t hurt you but you avoid the situation because of what “might” happen.
  • If  we completely shut ourselves out and away from the world, we are limiting our growth and our chance to experience the good things in life too.

There are so many instances like that, and often times they are based on past fear and trauma. We were hurt in the past so now we are leery of opening up in any capacity. Trust me, I get it, and I’m right with you. These are things we can work through and process on our own timetable. Having a professional coach or therapist can help us better understand ourselves and keep us on track in healing. I’m also a big advocate of education as a validation tool,  as well as being kind to and loving ourselves.

For the purposes of this post though, I think that I’ve come to the conclusion that purposefully not putting myself into a situation that I’m not ready to handle, is a good thing. It’s not a matter of sticking my head in the sand and refusing to deal with what’s out there, it’s about being true to myself. Regardless of what family or others think.

Perhaps you are in the midst of a similar situation, or have worked through something like this in the past? I’ve love to hear your comments.

-Matt