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a thief climbing over a fence

Resentful and Violated

I had been feeling bitter, but did not understand why. Have you ever had that feeling? Where you don't understand why you feel the way that you do? I began to sit still and reflect. As I did, the answer came. VIOLATED. I felt violated.

The word violate means to fail to respect someone's peace, privacy, or rights. We all have our own personal boundaries. Lately, I have been learning how to establish those boundaries. Boundaries are so important because they will protect us from being used, manipulated, and drained by others. I never knew how to establish healthy boundaries. I thought that I had to allow the invasion of my personal rights because I had to love others. I always forgave those who mistreated me and allowed them to continue with their abusive behavior. As I began to set those boundaries, I would feel guilty. That guilt led me right back to allowing myself to be taken advantage of.

Boundaries are a form of self-care. I never realized that it is okay to care for yourself. I always felt the need to love others, even if it meant sacrificing myself. It got to the point where I began to feel drained. I had nothing to give anymore and I was becoming bitter and resentful. I began to resent doing things for others. I was no longer motivated by love, but now it seemed more like an obligation. When we feel the need to do something out of obligation, we are not living from our hearts. We are no longer doing it because we want to, but because we feel like we have to. That leads to resentment.

When we no longer live from our hearts, giving out of obligation rather than love, resentment will build.

One thing I have realized is that when we do something for someone who values what we do for them, it brings joy because you know they really needed it and you were able to help them. But when we do something for someone who takes what we do for granted, it makes us feel sad or even angry because they don't appreciate it. If we continue to pour out to those kinds of people, it will cause us to feel resentful. And that is a sign that a boundary needs to be placed. Because they will only keep taking from you until you have nothing left to give.

Resentment is a sign that a boundary is needed.

I thought that over-giving meant I was being kind and self-less by putting others' needs above my own, but it really came from a place of feeling the need to be feel valued. Growing up surrounded by rejection, I learned to become an "over-achiever." I always did more than what was expected of me. My worth depended on what I can or cannot do for others. I did things for others in order to feel loved or valued.

Resentment began to build at my own inability to say no and it came at the expense of my own needs. I was always the first one to help when others needed it and was fearful of disappointing others. Because I did not want to feel that sting of rejection. I would even change my personality based on who was around me, even if I didn't agree just to get others to like me. And that made me angry at myself. Because I couldn't be true to who I was.

I was tired of conforming myself to fit the demands and expectations of others. I was tired of people pleasing. I was tired of allowing others to determine my worth and worrying about how others perceived me. I no longer wanted to live for the approval of others, to determine my worth based on their opinions. I lost sight of who I was.

Being a Christian, I thought that love meant neglecting myself for the sake of others. But that is really a distorted view. We should love others as we love ourselves and treat others how we would like to be treated, but when we don't understand our own value and worth, how can we love and value others? Our treatment of others is really a reflection of how loved and cherished we actually feel. If we do not feel loved, we are not able to reflect that love towards others. Our hearts turn cold and we lose our ability to feel compassion.

That's why we need to establish those boundaries so that we can properly guard our hearts and protect ourselves from those who seek to drain us. Even if it means disappointing others.

Establishing boundaries will bring offense. You will be villainized for setting and maintaining those boundaries. People will get angry, but that is another sure sign that the boundary was needed. Stand firm in maintaining and building that boundary. While we can't control their behavior, we have control of our own and we have choices of what we allow ourselves to accept or tolerate.

People will get offended when you set boundaries. That's a sign that the boundary was needed.

Boundaries set the limit of who we are and who the other person is. It allows us to maintain our sense of self without adopting the beliefs of another. Maintaining those boundaries protect you from being violated, from those who seek to overstep and invade your dignity and privacy.

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