This post is an ERP that I'm doing as part of my therapy homework. Yes, I have to address "The Facebook Issue." Which for the average person, might be nothing more than a blip on the radar, but for me, it is an issue. A people pleasing issue. A hyper-responsibility, fear of hurting other people's feelings issue. A "if I don't 'friend' someone, I'm a bad Christian" issue. A "they won't like me if I say no" issue.
Boundaries were completely non-existent for me. Though I tried to be careful to never step over anyone else's boundaries, I didn't know how to protect my own, and I allowed them to be trampled on at times. And I resented it. But, I was too fearful to do anything about it. Or if I did get angry enough about it, I would still be afraid to respond for fear of being disliked, or a "bad" Christian, or even worse, I would respond, but I would react to the person in ways that I would regret later.
Many years ago, I read just the first couple of chapters of a book that literally changed my life. It is titled, (shocker!) Boundaries. I highly recommend it. Well, at least the first few chapters that I read! The great thing is that it was written by Christians, so I felt a bit more comforted that I was not being unChrist-like by setting boundaries.
Though this book was very helpful, it has still been difficult to hold tight to my own boundaries. This has been especially difficult in the area of Facebook lately. When I first joined Facebook, I decided that it would be a place for me to share things with my family and my actual, in-person friends. I thought that decision through carefully, and at the time, I felt like it was a good decision. To be honest, I still do.
I've met SO many wonderful people through this blog and through a private Facebook support group, and I've been "friended" a whole lot recently. And though I've wavered back and forth, I've decided to stick with my original plan of keeping my circle to family and personal friends. But, oh, has that been hard! So often, when I've been friended, I've thought, "Oh, but this person seems so lovely, and I would really like to get to know them in their own personal life, and well, maybe they'll think I'm a snob if I say no, etc." I think you get the thought process here . . .
My wonderful psychologist has challenged me to stay true to my initial goal of Facebook. She agrees with me that it's a healthy boundary, and she recognizes that it's healthy for me to have to, gulp, say no to people. It may be healthy, but that doesn't make it easy. But, like any other ERP I've had to undertake to get my life back, it does get easier with practice.
So here goes.
I care so very deeply for all of you, my fellow bloggers and readers. Truly, I really, really do. And I love the online relationships I have formed. And they surely are real relationships to me. But I'm going to have to keep my Facebook account to my family and in-person friends. I really hope you understand. Hugs. Monique