All Articles Tagged "boundaries"
Help! I Hate My Family: How Not Being Able To Get Along With Blood Relatives Once Tainted My Perception Of Family
Well, “hate” might just be a slightly aggressive verb and I don’t think I actually want help. As the holidays come and go and I sit and think on family dinners of holidays past and present, I can’t help but wonder when did our big “over-the- trolley-tracks-and-through-the-hood-to-Grandmother’s-house-we-go” get-togethers come to an end? Oh, I think I remember now. It was right around the time when my aunts and uncles had one Miller Genuine Draft too many and someone ended up thrown down the staircase, cussed out, or in cuffs.
I’m sure millions of people around the world can rejoice in my shameless truth: sometimes family just doesn’t know how to act. Why can’t we get together without someone bringing up some childhood resentment of how Granddaddy never let them keep that Cocker Spaniel when they were little? This is obviously why they have issues with responsibility as an adult (Or, that’s what they at least claim). It’s crazy the connections people can make between past baggage and present flaws under the influence of an elevated blood alcohol level. In my family, add a dash of sarcasm, an implied insult or two and some open wounds and you’ll end up with…well, real open wounds. And unfortunately one of the biggest lessons my extended family has taught me is that sometimes strangers can treat you better than your own blood.
I mean seriously, some families can’t function without drama. Almost every family has an uncle, a cousin, an in-law, just somebody that always comes to family gatherings on some BS. Family is supposed to be proud of one another. The best part of having family is so they can cheer you on from the sidelines when you accomplish things and have your back when strangers are throwing shade. But that becomes a challenge when people of the same bloodline are too busy being envious when someone else gets a new car, a promotion at work, a degree, or anything that they feel makes them “better”. It could be a new Toyota Corolla, getting a promotion to manager and completing a damn quilting class at the community center, and instead of getting some support from your family on a job well done, some members can’t do anything but be mad. It’s as if some people can’t go day to day without finding a problem with something. Everyone’s so insecure about themselves and their importance in life that they want to make everyone else trying to find their role in this life feel small. I don’t understand this type of behavior from grown people that were raised together.
Unfortunately, at first, all the blood-related backbiting made me suspicious at the slightest display of any type of intimate bond. I never noticed how comfortable I had actually become in gossip, resentment and passive aggression until I attended my first family dinner hosted by my partner’s uncle. Here were people that politely passed the potatoes and even after a few glasses of wine could joke and laugh without anyone’s feelings getting hurt. His uncle even gave me “parting” gifts: some seashell bracelets from their most recent family cruise. It wasn’t exactly my style, but a sweet gesture nonetheless.
Sadly though, I remember coming home feeling uncomfortable without truly knowing why. I found myself searching for reasons why his family couldn’t be perfect and why, of course, I was sure they secretly hated each other behind all of the hugs and hollow laughter. I stomped around the house all evening while my boyfriend assumed I was PMS’ing until I finally blurted out, “They don’t have to like me. I’m used to people not liking me, what else they got?” (Of course no one had done anything to convey that message) He responded, “It must be hard to be in an environment where people genuinely love each other.”
Wow, can you say “5-minute therapy session”? I never realized how much I was used to tension and drama until he pointed out my obvious discomfort around a family who actually acts like a positive family.
The best thing my mom ever did was isolate us from the negativity so that my sis and I would never grow up second guessing ourselves or feeling guilty about our accomplishments. Unfortunately, the results were cousins that I wouldn’t recognize walking down the street, aunts and uncles that pass messages through mutual acquaintances before they’ll pick up the phone to call, and me being skeptical of truly genuine family relationships. But I must be honest, things were kind of nice when people left their issues at home and left before they started feeling their liquor. There were dance contests between cousins, my mom and dad doing the two-step to something (anything) by Smokey Robinson, and the solidarity that seeing a cousin’s new girlfriend or boyfriend’s squirm brought. But things changed.
It’s true; no one has a perfect family, but imperfection doesn’t have to equal hate. And just because my experiences with my extended family are for the most part dysfunctional, that doesn’t mean that dysfunction dwells and thrives in most families. It has taken me a while to lower my defenses, but gradually I am getting to a point where I can laugh and truly open up to other people without feeling like as soon as my back is turned they will brainstorm reasons why they can’t stand me. It’s sad that I can’t have that closeness with my own family, but I’m happy that I have the chance to experience all that with someone else’s.
It’s because of my mother that I know I don’t need anyone’s approval but my own and that I should be the only one in control of my happiness, As black women, there’s a pride we naturally carry in our ability to be independent. Sometimes we wear other people’s hate and jealousy as a badge of honor and use it as an excuse to have an anticipated attitude problem and build boundaries so that no one can tell how vulnerable and insecure we actually are. We love to stand out on our own, and believe that anyone who isn’t behind us secretly wants to be us or see us fail. But at the end of the day, don’t we all just want to be accepted by someone? Especially family? And that can be hard when you don’t even feel like you belong when around your own blood. But try to do yourself a favor sometimes and allow yourself to be accepted by someone. Everyone isn’t hating on you, and in fact, there are people who want to get to know you and show you love, if only you allowed them to.
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog Bullets and Blessings .
Cynthia Reacts To Kenya Bending It Over On Peter: ‘The Only Booty That Shook Peter That Night Was Mine!’
Though no one had to guess what Phaedra thought about Kenya pushing up on her hubby while in Anguilla — remember, “don’t put your paws on Apollo”? — everybody was wondering what the wife of the other man who Kenya seemed all too willing to bust it open for was thinking about her behavior.
Contrary to the look of enjoyment that appears to be on Peter Thomas’s face while sandwiched between his wife and Kenya’s booties, he was quick to respond during the airing of this suspect episode Sunday night, saying that he was not down with the foreign booty clapping. Surprisingly, Cynthia seems to be more down with Kenya’s behavior than her own husband, which is even more interesting considering the scuffle these two had at the Bailey Agency on episode 1. On her Bravo blog, Cynthia wrote:
“I was not really bothered by Kenya dancing with Peter. We were all dancing and having a good time. Yes, the little “bend over booty shake part” was a little extra, but overall I thought it was pretty harmless. I am a really secure woman, and the only booty that shook Peter that night was mine!”
I’m trying to figure out how rubbing your butt on someone else’s husband is less inappropriate than pushing someone in the pool, but that’s precisely what Cynthia is saying. She commented on Kenya’s island interactions with Apollo, writing:
I’m with Phaedra on this one. The “let’s throw other people’s husbands and wives in the pool game” is a no-no. As married folks, there have to be some boundaries that need to be respected. Also I can’t say I am a fan of the “who would swing with whose spouse” game either.
Porsha, who we already know is no fan of Kenya’s, also spoke on the desperate wanna-be somebody’s housewife’s behavior, writing on her own Bravo blog:
I was speechless seeing the former Miss USA dropping it on another husband and propositioning a married man for sperm. *Have several seats.* Gross!
And as far as Phaedra’s reaction to Kenya pushing Apollo in the pool, Porsha said:
I would have done it a little differently. I just feel that my reaction to another woman pushing my man would have been to kindly shove her in the lovely pool as a return favor instead of allowing my husband to return the playful gesture. Boom! I simply feel it was in bad taste as she said, and for me watching that again on TV, I completely see why Ms. Parks felt disrespected. However, I have to give Ms. Parks credit for shutting down the indecent proposal offered by Kenya, asking whether she and a friend could have a go at her husband. Side Bar: It’s funny who thinks they’re a great role model.
Here’s a refresher on the Anguilla booty popping, if you need it. Which act do you think was more inappropriate, Kenya pushing Apollo in the pool or dancing up on Peter?
I was never able to figure out what it was about me that made people feel so comfortable. It took me awhile to successfully put my finger on the reason why people I barely knew felt comfortable enough to ask me to borrow money. It never clicked why people I sort of knew felt like it was cool to ask personal questions such as how much I make or invite themselves over to my home. I couldn’t understand why men I simply knew as acquaintances felt like it was cool to inappropriately comment on my figure. I used to foolishly credit this out of line behavior to my personality; I’m a pretty friendly person. But, after years and years of tolerating this disturbing behavior, it finally hit me that this was abnormal. I realized that I never really set personal boundaries with people, which is why they constantly overstepped them.
Personal boundaries are defined as the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They are important and absolutely necessary to the maintenance of your well-being and the upkeep of healthy relationships whether they be romantic relationships, familial relationships, friendships, office relationships and any other category of relationships that you can think of. Boundaries ultimately determine how much you are willing to give and how much you are willing to tolerate and accept from those around you. People who do carry on relationships without putting these personal guidelines in place are frequently uncomfortable and often offended by those around them, but they don’t say or do much about it. This struggle often stems from underlying feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness.
So, how do you know if you have issues setting personal boundaries? Do you feel as if you are being mean when you have to say no to people? Do you struggle with saying no? Are you always reluctant to let people know when they’ve offended you? Do you consistently allow people to make you feel uncomfortable? These are all signs that can be indicative of boundary issues.
Discovering that you have a problem is half of the battle. Many people will realize that they struggle with setting personal boundaries but are unsure of how to or if it is even possible to make a change. The good news is that as long as you have breath in your body, change is possible. The even better news is that this change can begin today because it starts within. One of the first steps towards setting healthy boundaries is having a conversation with yourself. Recognize what makes you uncomfortable. Realize that you have the right to guard your body and your emotions from being invaded by others. Acknowledge how much you can and are willing to take from other people. Accept that fact that it is impossible to please everyone and that sometimes in order for you to be happy you will have to learn the word “no.” Once you’ve established these boundaries from within, it is time to carry them out externally. Comprehend what is being asked of you and how you will be affected before agreeing to do anything. Become more comfortable using the words “I feel,” “I want,” “I won’t,” “I dislike when,” and “I can’t” when speaking to people. Know that people who genuinely care about you won’t be offended by your boundaries. It may take them some time to adjust to them, but they certainly will not be opposed to them. Practice expressing your feelings to others calmly and gracefully. And of course, prepare to walk away from those who can’t respect the healthy boundaries that you’ve set; everyone won’t be happy about the changes you are making to better yourself.
The key to keeping these boundaries is to remain consistent. Putting personal boundaries in place can be a very uncomfortable process but it will certainly improve your quality of life if you stick with it. Don’t allow yourself to become intimidated by the reactions of others; be direct and stand your ground. The more you practice these habits, the more assertive you will become.
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For the most part, women have always shared dirty jokes between themselves in private but gone are the days when cursing wasn’t seen as ladylike. With more women pushing the PC boundaries on TV, particularly reality shows, young women and girls are growing raunchier by the day, some say.
Regina Barreca, a feminist scholar and English professor at the University of Connecticut said there may be fewer filters nowadays.
“I think there is less a sense of fear of public shaming. We’ve got all kinds of other things that are permissible. In a way, those are hard-won rights that women have been able to sort of gain … where we’ve been able to speak up and be ambitious and be sexual and control parts of our lives.”
Regina says some women may view the right to be blunt and vulgar as a way of further pushing those boundaries, but when it comes to young girls, people aren’t so thrilled with this trend. A recent study by the Girl Scout Research Institute found that girls who watch reality TV expect and accept more conflict in their lives and typically focus more on outward appearance than inner beauty. Specifically:
- 72% of girls who watch reality TV say they spend a lot of time on their appearance, compared to 42% of non-viewers.
- 68% of girls who watch reality TV say that it’s in girls’ nature to be catty with one another, compared to 50% who don’t watch reality TV.
- 28% of girls who watch reality TV say that sometimes you have to be mean to get ahead, compared to 18% of the girls who don’t watch reality TV.
The problem with reality TV, says Jennifer Pozner, author of “Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV,” is that the shows are marketed to women as if they are true reflections of day-to-day life.
Reality TV is “not indicative of women in the culture. Narratives are crafted before they even find the people to cast. And then they cast with a very, very specific set of tropes and stereotypes in mind. You’ve got the Itchbay. The Slore. The good girl who cries all the time — the weepy waif. You’ve got the angry black woman,” Jennifer said.
“I see a big problem with ideas changing in ways that will encourage girls and women to think that they should expect and accept being constantly seen as competitive with other women and expect and accept if they’re not super skinny or they haven’t spent $10,000 on a pair of earrings (that) nobody will value them or that the way to get what they want is to be violent.”
That’s been the issue most black women have with Reality TV shows and that’s the influence Jennifer also says women need to pay more attention to as opposed to a simple increase in common cursing—after all we’re just using the same language that men use on a daily basis and no one bats an eye.
Do you curse regularly or do you still view it as unladylike? Have you noticed women have gotten raunchier in real life with the rise in reality TV shows?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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By now you might have learned that former “Flavor of Love” winner, Deelishis, whose real name is Chandra Davis, will appear on the new reality show, “Motor City Wives.” While we could write a whole post about this fact alone, this one is a bit more serious. In a very candid conversation, Deelishis details how she was raped at 18. In the video below she explains how it all transpired.
Wow on so many levels.
First off, I want to commend her for sharing this story. So many women and young girls find themselves in situations like this and never share this information for fear or shame. Secondly, I have wonder what kind of man she married? Under no circumstances should a woman be blamed for being raped. Regardless of what someone initially allows, the moment the word/s “stop,” “no,” and more explicitly, “I don’t want to have sex with you” come out of someone’s mouth, you’re done. While I want to shake some sense into her husband, I know that there are plenty of ignorant people who believe women “set themselves up” for rape based on trivial things like what they wore, where they allowed the men to take them etc. Even the woman in the video said something about men being different from women.
Sure men are different from women but I just can not believe that a man doesn’t, can’t or won’t understand what a woman means when she tells him no. A man who doesn’t stop after the word “no,” is a rapist. Point, blank period.
While I’m glad she didn’t allow him or the other ignorant woman in the room to make her question her lack responsibility in the situation, I sincerely hope they had a legit conversation about this traumatic event and what it feels like to be taken advantage of in this manner. If anyone should empathize with her, it should her husband.
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One of the greatest things about being single, and something married women sometimes miss, is having the freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want wherever and however you please. Marriage can be wonderful, but it does come with boundaries.
Aside from the can’t-have-sex-with-other-people-anymore stipulations, other (less obvious) adjustments are also needed for smooth sailing. These are a few things you should think twice before doing under the Mrs. title: