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Posted Jun 07 2011 11:26am

Sorry for being quiet. I’m back and will try to stay more regular in my posting. You can nudge me in the comment section if you need to!  :)

In one of my last posts, I blogged about the challenge I had setting boundaries around my birthday plans. I had wanted to watch an unusual, dark-humor movie and allowed myself to be overruled by my family. So along came Mother’s Day. The movie was available again through On Demand and this time I took a stand. Breakfast in bed? Thanks, but make me some coffee and let me watch the movie, Rubber. And so they did.

Our Mother’s Day history is, sometimes, defined by dark movies—one year our family went to see Van Helsing. That is the first point of this blog. People celebrate things in different ways. Many of my family, including my mother, share a unique sense of humor. My husband says that he knows everything in our family and relationship is all right when I am being sarcastic. So if you have different interests or inspirations, no problem. Be true to yourself.

But sarcasm can be funny or sometimes just darn hurtful. So point two of the blog is the need to learn boundaries—both for myself and others. I try to judge if my humor is going too far, but sometimes it is hard to tell. If the other person tells me, “that’s hard for me to joke about,” no worries, I’ll back off. So, set boundaries if someone is saying something or doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable. But understand that sometimes people don’t know when they are overstepping boundaries until they are told. So don’t hold a grudge and think, “they should have known.” They sometimes won’t know until you tell them.

Third, when I wrote my last blog, I got a comment about someone who almost messed up her surprise birthday party because she was setting boundaries in her life. She had plans with her partner and refused to meet for a rehearsal. She laughed that everyone had to scramble to figure out how to get her to come to the party. But it worked out. Others in your life might need to readjust sometimes if you start setting boundaries. That’s all right. They can adjust. But you may need to work on how to set the boundaries in a helpful, not hurtful way. Practice “I” statements. “I need…” rather than “You never…”.


  •  Journal about some of your interests. Discover what you think is fun even it feels unusual. That is part of what makes the world interesting. Some people love opera, others punk rock. Some people collect unicorns, others goats. Write to discover your interests.
  •  Journal to discover the things that are hard for you to joke about. If you feel very sensitive about something, journal to understand what makes you feel uncomfortable. You might discover something underlying the issue.
  • Journal your “I” statements to help practice how to set boundaries. Remember “I feel hurt when…” rather than “You hurt me when…” The hurt may not be intentional. So let the person know how you feel.

Go, Write On!

Martha Peaslee Levine, MD

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