On Being Childless: Setting Boundaries…

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of a pair of tennis shoes standing behind a yellow line on "Setting Boundaries" on Not So Mommy..., a childless blog
Wobble Warning:  This post discusses a tumultuous relationship that ended because of a very emotional experience.  Though I believe you will finish this blog feeling empowered about setting boundaries, there is the possibility of a wobble along the way…

This is not the post that I had scheduled on my editorial calendar.  I had planned to write an entirely different blog.  But life happened.  And because I find writing cathartic, I decided to modify my original plans.  Before I discuss the tumultuous event that took place and how I am setting boundaries, I need to go back just a bit…

Going through Memories…

Since my Nana’s Celebration of Life in July, I have been going through memory boxes.  By “memory boxes,” I mean totes full ofPhoto of Memory Boxes on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless not by choice blog sentimental items that I packed away eight years ago when we moved to South Carolina.  As I have gone through the bits and pieces contained in these plastic boxes, I’ve found items of my Dad’s—things from before I was even born.  I’ve come across stuff I kept from elementary school, cards from my childhood to now, notes from my Nana & so many others, old photos of friends & family, journals, calendars, paperwork we filled out when we were considering adopting, medical records from when we were going through infertility treatments, and more…

As you can imagine, this has been an emotional experience.  I’ve laughed and cried.  I’ve felt joy, as well as overwhelming grief.  And I’ve thought about the people in my life—relationships that have become stronger and those with whom I’ve grown apart…

Reaching Out…

The growing apart…  Well, that prompted me to reach out to someone that I used to be quite close with—years ago.  My words were not met as I had hoped…  Which resulted in quite an emotional experience, to say the least.

As I’ve processed (and am continuing to process) this event, I’m realizing some very important facts.  So, I thought I’d share these truths with you, in the hopes that they may resonate, that they may help someone else who is struggling with setting boundaries . . .

The Realities…

I reached out to a person with whom I’ve had a tumultuous relationship for years.  My motivation was to open lines of communication, to work through whatever junk was keeping us from having a positive relationship.  But that was not to be.  I won’t go into the details of the messy situation that took place.  There’s really no point in that.  But I will share with you the facts, the truths, the realities that are at the forefront of my mind regarding this occurrence…

Reality #1Photo of "You have the right to ignore it" quote on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog

I am the villain in this person’s story.  No amount of talking is going to change that.  No amount of explaining and trying to make this person understand is going to alter the way I am viewed by them.  And I have to be okay with that.  As one of my favorite quotes says, “People are entitled to their opinions.  And you are entitled to ignore them.”

Reality #2

I am a trigger to this person.  I do not know why.  But I am.  And to be honest.  This person is a trigger to me, too.  Years of being misunderstood, years of snippy, rude, & even cruel comments have caused me to become anxious at just the site of this person’s name.  For everyone’s mental and emotional health, it is truly best that we end this relationship.  It is not nourishing.  And that is not going to change.

Reality #3

I cannot control how this person responds, what they think of me, what they say about me…  I have to be okay with the fact that this person believes some really awful things about me.  And some really terrible things about my non-traditional, little family.  I also have to know with 100% surety that just because someone truly believes something about me does not mean it is true.  I know who I am.  And those closest to me, who love me unconditionally…  Well, they know the truth about me, too.

Reality #4

I can control how I respond, what I think, what I say… 

When this dreadful situation occurred, I knew there was a very good possibility that I would allow the negative to settle deep within, that I would replay the terrible exchanges in my head, that I would wobble for days, possibly causing a horrific endo flare, grieving deeply…

An Action Plan…

Music…

So, when the negative thoughts started invading, I turned on music.  Contemporary Praise & Worship music, to be exact.  And I listened and I sang and I literally told myself that I was not going to replay the negative in my mind.

Aerials…

I went to aerials.  And I asked my coach if I could put my earbuds in and dance in the sling.  And she let me.  I got lost in my movements and did not think about the day’s dire incident at all that hour.

Talking…

And I talked…  I shared my sorrows with people I knew I could trust with my heart, with those that I knew would not judge…

Writing…

And now, I am writing about it all.  Sharing my truth with this fabulous community.  A community that I feel I can confide in, a community that supports & encourages…

And I am at peace.

Setting Boundaries . . .

Though I did not want to lose the relationship, what kind-of connection is it really if I must pretend to be someone I am not, if I am criticized, belittled…

And I go back to the reality…

I can only control how I respond, what I think, what I say…

Years of anxiety and turmoil have melted away.

Yes, I am at peace.

Because I am setting boundaries.

How are you setting boundaries within your life, fabulous ones? 

Tell us about it in the comments…

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4 comments

Sasha September 7, 2021 - 7:23 am

Beautifully written Brandi. This is such a courageous gesture of self-respect.
I keep wondering if narcissism was involved-they can be very destructive and gentle souls can get swept into their whirlwind.
Has brought up some emotions for me too. It resonates as I have had to draw that line in a similar way so as to protect myself. But the sadness stays.
Thank for posting this.
XO

Reply
Brandi Lytle September 7, 2021 - 11:58 am

Thank you for your kind words and support, Sasha. It means more than I can express in words… I am so sorry that you, too, have had to set boundaries in an effort to protect your emotional and mental well-being. Sending you so many hugs, fellow warrior…

Reply
Sherry Stout September 6, 2021 - 3:47 pm

Your heart, your life, your journey, your decision, your peace. Standing beside you always….❤💚💜

Reply
Brandi Lytle September 7, 2021 - 11:58 am

Thank you. Hugs…

Reply

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