Just this morning, I was asking a friend who is recently divorced and remarried how the kids were adjusting. She said pretty well, but then expressed her concerns about her ex-husband’s wife who is an attorney and who is getting pretty involved in some of the decision-making as they work out the custody agreement and the parenting plan. As my friend talked, I felt myself cringing inside. It was clear to me that so many boundaries were being breached and that some of the language the stepmother was using were very inflammatory to the mother. It didn’t sound like it was headed in a good direction.
For another friend, it’s all reversed. The mother of the children breaches the boundaries. Just the other night, the father sat on our lawn and lamented that he didn’t have much say about which school his daughter attends, that he was left out of those decisions, and that he would have made a choice to send her somewhere else. Again, cringe. One parent making unilateral decisions without involving the other parent.
Last year, a woman came to my Awareness Through Movement® class. Over the course of many months, she made some comments about her father’s wife. At nearly 60 years of age, she was bitter and resentful of her stepmother and it showed in her voice and in her posture and the way she lived. She was Jekyll and Hyde. One moment she was pleasant and congenial, the next her whole face shifted and twisted and her throat tightened and she was enraged. When I sent out a flyer with a special coupon for stepmothers for individual lessons to honor my own mother who was a stepmother, she quit coming to class. I cringed when I thought of how heavy her burden, the one of hating her stepmother.
No matter which party in the stepfamily is breaching boundaries, I cringe. Surprised. Saddened. Concerned.
And then, I take a breath and go dig some weeds and contemplate my own boundaries and what is mine to tend to and what is someone else’s to tend.
I’d like to get past the cringe. I’d like to not be taken aback by another person’s behavior, but I am not there yet. I’d like to not worry about the kids I see and hear about. But, I am human, I’ve lived much of what they are going through. And, I feel sad.
Sadly, the stories of breached boundaries and transgressions seem even more prevalent. The stories make me want to join a revolution. A Healthy Human revolution. A revolution toward kindness and compassion, respect and integrity, and a returning to the nature of connections. Silly, I know. So many folks just can’t be bothered.
Excuse me, while I cringe!