March 15, 2021
Herein lies a piece of the process of learning to create boundaries in my life.
Part of creating boundaries in my life means being honest about who I do and do not want in it.
People who take boundaries personally and make my boundaries about something being wrong with them are generally not people I want in my life.
People who make me setting boundaries with them about something being wrong with me personally are the folks I want least in my life.
But alas, these are hard lessons to learn.
And this is only the beginning of learning them.
I recently had a rather narcissistic chap make the case to me that because I no longer want to be friends with him, this means I'm not enlightened.
Because I don't like him, there's something wrong with me, because (in his delusional view) everyone else likes him.
As problematic as I can see this person's view is, it does make me curious about why it's coming up in my life experience.
If I'm noticing this tendency/relational tactic in someone else, does that mean it exists in me?
As in, have I ever entertained this thought: Because someone doesn’t want to be friends with me, or listen to me, or hang out with me, or love me, or pay attention to me, or talk to me, or spend time with or on me … that means there's something intrinsically/massively wrong with them? That they just "don't get it" if they don't "get" me? (Because if they did, surely they would want more! ... Surely, they would want me ...).
Unfortunately, I have felt these things before, and I have entertained narratives that basically boiled down to just that.
I also have engaged in many conversations that carry this same tune. "Oh, he just doesn’t see what a good thing he has. He is a complete idiot in every aspect of himself because he doesn't see what a good thing you are." Or "Oh, she just can’t see what a wonderful friend she has in you. There’s obviously no credence to anything she says or does, because she doesn't see what a wonderful person you are."
I think I can be honest that I've often convinced myself and engaged in many a conversation suggesting that because other people don't want me (or the person who I'm comforting) in their life, these other people's legitimacy and value as a person is now in question.
But the real problem is in me needing to make either myself or someone else fundamentally wrong or problematic as a result of preferences and boundaries.
As in, there's actually no fundamental problem with me or the other person if either one of us doesn't want to engage in relationship with the other. The problem is with delegitimizing ourselves or others when folks express boundaries or desires that don't include us.
If someone doesn't think I'm cool, that doesn't mean they're an illegitimate idiot who clearly doesn't get shit about shit if they don't get that I'm the shit ;)
And if I don't think somebody's cool or want to be friends with them, that doesn't mean there's something wrong with them or me, or that either of us is not "enlightened" ... as I was told by this person who presupposed enlightenment included me unequivocally wanting to engage with them in my life.
My environment is an exact mirror of my inner world.
Which is why I feel angry toward a person who seems to be projecting onto me this narrative of — "Oh, if you love me, then you’re enlightened ... And if you don’t want me in your life, then you can’t possibly know anything about anything, because the most obvious thing in the world is how wonderful I am" ... This irks me so because at some point I also have projected that narrative out onto someone in the world, from inside myself.
It burns so hot because it's like the mirror of my outside world reflecting the sun of my own consciousness of myself right back into me.
This touches the myth from which narcissism comes, though with a different twist.
I've become so enamored — or in this case, enraged — with the reflection of the world that I forget my perception of the whole outside world is actually just me turned inside out. If there is anything in the reflection (outer world) that bothers me, I best look to the source (my inner world) to adjust it, rather than blaming the reflection.
Perhaps it's more like the anecdote to narcissism, or how it could be a beautiful thing rather than a harmful one. I realize everything I see is indeed about and a reflection of me, but instead of utilizing that to endlessly justify and blindly worship myself, I utilize it to deconstruct and unflinchingly analyze myself.
I began this piece examining a line of reasoning with which a person reacted to me setting a boundary. A line of reasoning I find to be clearly absurd and wildly narcissistic in the worst way, a line of reasoning that goes something like, if I don't like this person, that means there is something essentially wrong with me.
Then I realized if I'm able to recognize this tactic being used on me by someone in my life, it likely means I too have employed such reasoning at some point.
It makes me uncomfortable to resonate with behaviors that seem stupid, ridiculous, obviously infantile, mean, narcissistic, and insane, but these possibilities also exist within me, which is why I understand them.
Someone who honestly says, "I am the best; only be friends with me. And if you won't be friends with me and acknowledge my superiority, that means you're fundamentally fucked up as a person" is so insecure, wounded, delusional, unaware, and self-obsessed that there’s little use in talking to them.
And indeed, I will keep the boundary I have set with such a person. Little by little, I will practice setting boundaries, and choose not to have close relationships with people who respond to me setting boundaries in such a personal, all-or-nothing way — by making my boundaries about their own and/or my personal worth as (a) human being(s).
But I must also realize that if, in my own life, I created and allowed close relationships with people who behave like this and take such lines of reasoning, it's very likely I too have (though I am ashamed to say it and probably refused to look at it clearly at the time) assumed that if people don't want to be friends with me, that means something is essentially wrong with them.
It's very likely I myself have refused to allow people to set boundaries and have inflated and deflected against them by either making those boundaries about my lack of worth as a person or about their lack of worth as a person.
I'd like to nurture more relationships where I and those to whom I am close are permitted to have likes and dislikes and set (ever-changing and evermore clearly communicated) boundaries we heed simply as and for what they are.
Rather than needing to make desires and boundaries something that indicates/decides the entire life and worth of a person, be it me or another.
Me not wanting to be friends with you just means I don't want that right now. You not wanting to be friends with me just means you don't want that right now.
And you know what, the more we know and communicate what we want and don't want and don't take it personally or make it personal, the more enlightened we are all becoming.