Not so good at the whole “boundaries” thing.

Intense EMDR therapy session today. My therapist commented, “It sounds like you are having a hard time keeping your boundaries up when other people are having feelings.” Why yes, that is a very accurate description. I feel that other people having feelings automatically trumps anything I might say or do. That’s part of the whole worthless thing. So of course when people start telling me that I am making them feel bad I agree that it is because I am a terrible person who should be driven out of all society. Not really a helpful response.

I think I should back off of the ptsd forum. I’m kind of tired of having people yell at me that they know “all about trauma” and “obviously I am making bad choices” and my problem is that I can’t “stop re-enacting trauma with untrustworthy people”. That whole set of rants in relationship to meeting someone in a coffee shop. Because obviously meeting up with a guy to say, “Hey something you said bothered me” is the same as putting myself in a position to be raped again. Same damn thing. I’m too stupid to be able to evaluate which situations are safe. I should just stay home or only talk to people who never make mistakes.

Oh, and of course anyone who is part of the bdsm community should just be shunned. They are all Bad People.

You know what, lady? I think I am going to take my experiences of the bdsm community over yours. There are decent people who happen to get off on bdsm. There are assholes and predators and rapists who are not in the bdsm community. I don’t really feel that deciding that a demographic of people is terrible is the way to have a happy life.

Of course she wants me to start with all men and move on from there. All men are dogs, don’t you know. (Ok, technically it was a man in the thread who said, “I hate to say this because I am a man… but all men are dogs.”) No, they aren’t. And fuck you while we are at it.

I don’t want to pretend all men are terrible. I don’t want to believe that all _______ whatever are terrible. The reality is that some percentage sucks and a large percentage is neutral and another percentage is great.

Why would I want to talk to men like him? Why in the hell would I want to talk to men who have experiences in the same ball park as me? Oh… maybe because when I talk to men who have known me for more than 1/3 of my life and I tell them some things about my childhood they can say, “That explains so much of your behavior for the entire time I have known you. I wish I had known earlier. Our entire relationship would have been different.”

I want to be seen. I want to matter. I want to be a full person to the people who know me. I want my story to be in the heads of people who look at me.

I don’t want to just be some chick at a party with a lot of secrets. That isn’t what I want.

I don’t think my life is well served by staying home and crying about how terrible all men are. If I do that I will miss out on a lot of joy. Many of my closest and dearest friends are men. I have no plans to abandon them–even if they say things I don’t like sometimes. I look for patterns of behavior and I have no problem with walking away from relationships that don’t work for me. I have done so over and over and over.

No one has a crystal ball. No one knows how things will play out.

My willingness to share my story has meant that I have gotten to find out the life stories of some incredibly complex and amazing people. I sincerely doubt they would have started sharing if I hadn’t brought things up. I have a list of people I can call in the middle of the night. I have a list of people who say, “If you are freaking out call and babble on my voicemail and I will call you back the second I can.” Many of them are men. Some of them are survivors of some really horrifying things.

Why do I trust them? Do I trust them? Well I will be honest and say that there are some of them I don’t plan to be alone in a room with. But I will sure as fuck call them. We have a great phone relationship. Do I actually think anything bad would happen if I was alone in a room with them? No. But I still don’t think I could do it. I don’t trust all men enough for that. I don’t even trust the men I trust enough for that. Well, maybe alone in a room if people were just on the other side of a door and I was able to scream.

I don’t want to give up on the men I have in my life. Even if other women with ptsd are absolutely certain that my talking to men is self-destructive and stupid. I disagree. And my opinion is the only one that matters about my behavior and life.

I went and talked to this guy and that other guy in the scene after fairly carefully weighing the downsides.

When that asshole Paul who raped me offered to meet to talk with me “even though he didn’t remember” I didn’t take him up on it. There was no upside for me. That would have been straight masochism. So I didn’t go.

I *do* actually try to weigh risk. My life will never be risk-free. I’m not that kind of girl. Harm Reduction not Elimination. Life involves both the risk and the certainty of harm.

I read an interesting article on misogyny in activist spaces. I cannot count how many groups I have left because of men who were extremely aggressive. I just assume they are more interesting to know than I am. That’s why they are kept around.

I feel torn between wanting to isolate myself because I don’t seem to be very good at having relationships and wanting to go out a lot and make a bunch of new connections. I offend people. I make them feel like I think they are bad. I’m not trying to but it happens anyway. Maybe they are better off not knowing me. Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to speak any more. If I went out and made new connections (new connections are easy) then I could just walk away from my current problems.

Only my problems follow me. I am the cause of my problems, not someone else. It’s really hard to get away from being me.

I left therapy feeling pretty positive. I had a nice visit with a friend afterwards. Now I’m starting to crash emotionally again. I know that I have people who say I can call. But I don’t call much. I rarely call anyone. I assume they don’t actually want to hear from me and they are just telling me I can call because it is an empty gesture. I don’t trust that people actually like me, ever. I think I have fairly good reasons to think that people don’t like me.

But some people do. They come here and visit. Maybe I should do more of that hermit-only-talk-to-people-who-will-jump-my-hurdles thing. At least when people get sick of me and stop coming it isn’t as jarring as no longer being welcome in some space.

I like people. I like being around people. I like socializing. I just don’t feel very comfortable going almost anywhere. Some guy will say some thing and I will be “too sensitive”. Some woman won’t like me and I will spend my time there crying because I am so sorry that I am such a bad person and she doesn’t like me.

Gosh I like my house.

6 thoughts on “Not so good at the whole “boundaries” thing.

  1. Anthony

    Regarding “all men are dogs”, or equivalent statements.

    Lots of people choose to read that as saying that all men are some variety of asshole. But really, that’s not what it should mean. Men (like women) are biological creatures, with inborn drives, which they’re socialized to not act on, and socialized to not admit to having. Almost all (straight) men who see a woman who is reasonably attractive will want to have sex with her. But not only is it socially unacceptable in many, many circumstances to act on that desire (if he’s partnered, or he knows she is, or they work together, or he’s much older than her, or much less attractive than her, etc., etc.), it’s even socially unacceptable to admit to having the desire. But men have those desires, anyway.

    Part of the socialization that says that men shouldn’t admit to most of their sexual desire also says that women should be repelled by “inappropriate” male desire – any desire shown when the woman isn’t looking, or by someone the woman finds, or should find, unattractive, etc. But men have those desires anyway. Therefore, all men are dogs.

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