Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Where’s the Line?

 Hello, Invisible Audience.


I’ve been having a rough couple of weeks, mainly, I think, because of some really terrible insomnia. It seems to be getting a bit better (knock on wood) which has made it a bit easier to think. And now that I can think a bit more clearly, I find myself coming back to the same question over and over again:


Where’s the line?


The story I tell myself is that these lines are much easier for others to see; that what appears as a sort of hazy gray spot is an actual, honest-to-goodness line in the sand for others. I’ve always struggled with this line…although actually, to be more accurate, it’s about several different kinds of lines that all tie back to one thing: boundaries.


The main line I’m talking about is this: where is the line between continuing to try to have a relationship with someone and letting them go? The friendship; the family tie; the romantic relationship; the boss; the employee. How much is too much shit to put up with? When should I keep fighting; talking; bringing up how what I need is different than what I’m being offered? And when is it just time to admit that there’s no solving this thing and it’s time to pull the plug?

Although I think I’m likely to fall on the side of sticking around too long, I’m always afraid I haven’t stuck around long enough. I beat myself up a lot for not being able to make a relationship work. I tell myself that if I were better at stating my needs, this relationship would be working. If I could figure out how to present my concerns in the right way, the person would realize where I’m coming from and how wrong they’ve been, apologize profusely, see things my way, and we’d all live happily ever after, never to have a conflict again.


Did you notice the problems, Invisible Audience? On the one hand, I’m taking responsibility for another’s actions by assuming that it’s all my fault if I can’t explain myself in a way that they can hear. On the other hand, I think that the only way to solve it is to get them to see things my way.


Relationships exhaust me, Invisible Audience.


At what point do I just admit that it’s not working? Even more importantly, can I arrive at that conclusion without vilifying the other person? Instead of needing to decide that they’ve been borne from a demon dead-set on making me lose my mind, can I just admit that my needs are different from theirs, and that we can go our separate ways without making it anyone’s fault? Can I gracefully exit a relationship without throwing myself under the bus first? For example, instead of saying, “It’s not you it’s me. You’re just too good for me,” or ghosting or some other platitude, will I ever be able to get to the point where I can just say, “This doesn’t seem to be working for either of us, and I’m not interested in pursuing it further. I wish you the best, but I think it’s best if we sever contact.”


If I could get to the point that I could say that without feeling like the world was about to implode around me, could I also get to the point where I could tell someone when they’ve hurt my feelings? Could I do that without serving myself up on a platter first?


“I was having a really bad day the other day, and that’s why what you said hurt my feelings. Other days it wouldn’t have mattered so much…”




“I know you’re having a bad day, but what you said really hurt me. I know you didn’t mean to and I should just make sure I don’t ask for things on the days you’re busy…”




{radio silence}


I’m not sure I’m ever going to figure this out, Invisible Audience. I’m not sure I will ever feel safe having to talk to someone about how I need our relationship to be different. It’s why I live alone; why I work for myself; why I have quit every other job I’ve ever had.


Here’s another line that’s unclear to me:


When do I stop beating myself up for not being who I wish I could be?


When do I just accept that this is how I am and let myself just be me? When do I lean further in to who I am instead of whipping myself bloody for not having this figured out?


I can’t see the line, but it sure feels like I’m standing on it.


Love and walking the line kisses,



 P.S. Thanks for reading, Invisible Audience member. Interested in reading more and supporting me in the process? Check out my profile on Patreon. Pledge as little as $1.50 a month to get access to more of my ponderings and become one of my Semi-Invisible Patrons. When I can't find time to post both here and on Patreon, I prioritize posts on Patreon--there's more to read there. 

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