4. Boundaries and Enabling

Mary Boundaries Coach

How to stop enabling and start having boundaries in a toxic relationship. After years of a co-dependent relationship, Ingrid’s life became unmanageable and she could not do it anymore. She learned to surrender to the things beyond her control, which was empowering. She learned to say no and she found peace.

In this interview Mary and Ingrid discuss how to know when to walk away from a toxic relationship. They also discuss when and how to revisit the boundaries and consider loosening them to reconnect with our loved ones.

Main Episode Takeaways

  • How to stop enabling
  • The impact of a toxic relationship
  • Boundaries bring peace
  • When to walk away from a toxic relationship
  • Reconnecting with boundaries after pausing a toxic relationship

Want to learn more about boundaries?

– Boundaries IQ quiz HERE
– Take my Boundaries 101 Course
– Do you want to overcome your hurdles of people pleasing? Book a free call with Mary!


Mary: All right. This is the Let’s Talk Boundaries podcast, and I’m here with Ingrid. Ingrid, thank you for joining me today and talking to me about Boundaries. 

Ingrid: Oh, thank you, Mary, for having me. 

Mary: Yes. Tell us a little bit about you and how come you wanna talk about boundaries? 

Ingrid: Thanks, Mary. So I’m a 51 year old, year young mom of two teenagers. I also have a bonus daughter, an older daughter with two beautiful grandchildren. I have two bonus sons as well, so I’m like five kids and two grandkids and a bunch of her babies. I also stayed at home mom for 18 years. That’s a really hard job with a spouse who was very much immersed in his career in high tech and traveled a lot. Obviously I’m not from around here. My family is all down under, and so, you know, it was really hard being basically full-time mom with a spouse who was working a lot. And no family support here, so it’s a lot. Now my kids are older. They’re all, teenagers and about to finish high school and move on with their lives. And I’m in the process of getting a divorce after 25 years. So there’s a lot of life changes here and when you make such drastic life changes after such a long period of time, there’s a lot of people there who are gonna judge you, who are going to make assumptions about you and question your life choices and your motivation and the reason why you do things.

And so, setting boundaries with other people and with myself has become really, really, really important. You know, at this age where, okay, well we’re finished raising our family and we’re onto the next phase of our life. How can we move forward in a really positive and healthy way? And hold those boundaries so that we don’t keep making the same, I don’t like to say mistakes, I mean, life lessons is kind of corny, but, you know regrettable incidences is how I like to put it. They’re regrettable incidences, but what can we learn and how can we move forward and how can we stand our ground and be healthy? And Yeah it’s a lot When we reach this age, I know for me, and I’ve talked to a lot of other women my age who are like at this point in our lives where we wake up one day and go, Okay, I’ve served my time, I’ve raised my family, how much do I have in common with my partner? Have we gone in different directions? We’re not the same people we were when we were, you know, 25, 30. 

Life has changed. Life is very different for us now. Look at the world that we live in. And it’s about like, what do I need to be healthy? What do I need to be happy and what boundaries do I really need to hold onto firmly? And what boundaries am I willing to explore? Perhaps boundaries that I had five or 10 years ago, which were hard boundaries, I’m now, well, I’m willing to explore those. I don’t like to say pushing boundaries because pushing to me has a negative connotation that it’s forced. You shouldn’t have to force it. 

You can have your hard boundaries and say, That’s a hard pass. That’s no, I’m not stepping over that line. And then at times, you know, your life will change. And so I’m willing to explore that boundary now. So it’s kind of a really interesting point in my life, being middle age, being 51, I’ll be 52 soon. And to have almost grown children and to be looking at blended families and career choices and it’s moving on. So, yeah, that was a long answer to a very simple question. 

Mary: I love it. I love it. So what have you found to be the hardest part of having healthy boundaries for you? 

Ingrid: So, Mary, the hardest part of sticking with those healthy boundaries is having to surrender to that which I have no control over. And to having to step away from very close relationships including with family members who I love and cherish more than anything, but realizing that the relationship is codependent. It’s very toxic. Toxic in the sense that each of you, like me and that other person, we can’t give the other person what it is that they need. We can’t accommodate their needs. But yet we’re not willing to let that other person go. You know what I mean? That’s the toxic part of it. 

That’s my definition and my experience of the term toxic is yeah, you can’t really give them what you need and they can’t give you what you need, but you’re not willing to let them go either. You keep hanging on, and for me as being the codependent one in the relationship, for me to step back and say, I can no longer pander to your unrealistic needs and and expectations, and every time you demand something from me I’m no longer gonna jump and do whatever you want, no matter how ridiculous it is. Because I’m the enabler, I’m the fixer. I’m the people pleaser. I have to fix everything and make everybody happy because that’s my job as a mom. I have to fix everything. I’m super mom. Right? Super women. We’re super mum. We take care of everybody, but not ourselves. We’re not even on that list. And that’s so wrong.

We should be first on the list. Right? So for me, the hardest part has been surrendering to that, which I cannot control. I cannot control the words, thoughts, perceptions, opinions, behaviors, actions of other people. So when I decide I’m gonna surrender to that, which I cannot control, and I step away and I go, that’s enough. I cannot fix you. You have to fix yourself, and I will no longer be your enabler. That’s been really hard to step away from that relationship because stepping away from that relationship has a ripple effect. There’s not one person involved. There are multiple people involved. When you look at a family unit that I in fact have had to step away from multiple people in my family because they’re all connected

Mary: Right. Yeah. 

Ingrid: And that’s really hard, is saying, I love you. I’m here for you. I will always be this person and have this role in your life, but I have to step away and to let them go and say when you are ready to come back and work on a healthy relationship one that’s based on mutual love, trust, and respect, then I’m willing to do that. But I will no longer be your enabler. I will no longer be the codependent one. I will no longer be the giver to your taker. You need to work on your own issues, and that’s a really hard boundary, particularly when it’s someone who is so close to you. 

I mean, it’s really, really hard, but I found that the more I stick to that boundary, the more it’s like they’ll reach out, they’ll come and they’ll say, Oh, you know, I really miss you, and do you miss me? And, and I really wanna see you. And I’m like, Okay. And I, my heart goes pit pan. I’m like, Oh, maybe, maybe it’s gonna be okay. And then it falls back into the old patterns. It’s like, then the relationship becomes transactional again. They’ll only call me or reach out to me when they want something that they can’t get from anyone or anywhere else that they think I’m just gonna drop everything and come running to give them what they need. 

Because I’m the fixer. I’m the giver, and I’m like, I’m not gonna have that kind of transactional relationship with anyone, particularly a member of my family with whom I had been so close. Perhaps too close. Maybe that’s the problem. It’s too. You’ve gotta stick to that boundary. I’m like, I’m not gonna get sucked into that manipulation again. I’m just not gonna do it. And it’s really hard because all of the people around me, all of my other family members and my inner circle are all like, they’re judging me. 

Mary: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So let’s talk about that a little bit. I love what you said about I’m no longer willing to be your enabler and really thinking through who’s responsible for your needs and who’s responsible for my needs. Right? Because when we shift from that codependent enabler, people pleaser role to having healthy boundaries, it requires us to clarify, to get really clear about what’s my responsibility and what’s not my responsibility. Right? And I love what you said about surrendering to what you cannot control. Because I’m responsible for my needs, which means I’m not responsible for your needs. Right? And sometimes I might choose, I might want to show up and be a resource and love you and support you in some way. Right? From a place of choice. But it’s not my responsibility to do so.

And that’s especially blurry when we have long histories with family members where we have consistently showed up to help them meet their needs. And then they come to expect that from us. 

Ingrid: Yeah, exactly. And, and it comes from a place of love at the beginning and compassion and empathy and especially if you have a certain role, you have that mothering kind of role or that nurturing caregiver role. And it just, it’s interesting because it creeps up day by day, little bit by little bit. It kind of just chips away at you until you sort of, you wake up one day and you realize you are so far down that rabbit hole, you’re like, How did I get here? How did I get here? When it gets to the point where for me, I was just completely incapacitated, I couldn’t do anything for fear of my phone blowing up for that person, having a meltdown and saying, You gotta come and pick me up right now. You need to do X, Y, and Z right now. Or something really bad is gonna. I’m gonna do something really bad. So it’s like that emotional blackmail and that, and that manipulation, that you start off doing these things for them, and then they keep pushing that boundary because it is forced when you are the codependent one and the giver and the taker keeps pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing, it’s like you give them one thing and then the next week, then they ask for a little bit more and then a little bit more and a little bit more, and before you know it, you are their puppet.

And then for me, my life just became unmanageable. I literally, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t focus on anything I was making really poor decisions when it came to coping mechanisms, really unhealthy coping mechanisms. All my relationships were breaking down. And it just, you don’t realize, like for me, and I’ve talked to so many other people in this situation, it’s just you don’t realize how bad it is because it happens so slowly over such a long period of time that that taker keeps taking and taking, and taking, and you keep giving and giving and giving until it got to the point where I’m like, I’m empty. I am literally empty. I’ve been running on fumes for so long, I have to step away because I have to save myself now.

 And that’s viewed often by a lot of people as being a very selfish act. How could you be so selfish? How could you desert that person when they’re in their hour of need? And I’m like, You know what? I’m not actually helping them. I’m actually making it worse. I’m feeding the disease. I’m not helping them. And it’s like, how can I be any help to anybody if I don’t help myself? How can I be of any use to my clients who I work with or my other family members, or my friends, or my community. What can I help them if I don’t help myself? And so sticking with that boundary and saying, No, I am getting out of this rabbit hole and I’m moving. I’m moving on. I’m moving on. 

Mary: Right. So that’s a really good question, and this is something that my clients will ask me often is how do I know when to either end a relationship or pause a relationship or take a step back from a relationship. So how did you know when? 

Ingrid: That’s a really great question. It’s gonna be different for everybody, but for me it manifested physically. That stress, the emotional turmoil, the depression, the anxiety. It all manifested physically. I would get you know, severe migraines and severe headaches. I would have insomnia. I would have acid reflux. I would feel nauseated. I would just feel exhausted all the time. I was feeling like a zombie and it was that anxiety that was, I felt like I was walking on eggshells around that person. It’s like I was walking on eggshells and I was so afraid to say anything or do anything. I was just ridden with anxiety, absolute anxiety. 

So yeah, it really manifested in such a physical way. My whole body ached, my joints ache. I was really depressed. It was at the point where I ended up under the care of a psychiatrist. But I think my suggestion is go with your gut. Like I felt icky. I felt icky around that person. It’s again, the walking on eggshells. My stress levels would go through the roof when I was around that person. I was always anticipating the next manipulation, the next threat. I mean, I was getting death wishes from that person. They would tell me that they wish I was dead. You know it was really, just very, very toxic situation and it just, ugh, it, ugh. I just felt like I was suffocating. 

And you know, we’re estranged now, but we’re both getting help and we’re both working on it. And at some point I think we both feel that when we are ready, we will start to find our way back to each other. But again, I don’t really have control over it. I can only control it at my end. And they have to control it at their end, but it’s just go with your gut. Like, like listen to what your body is saying. It’s like, check in with your body and see what your body is saying to you. Go with your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, and it’s hard. 

And some people who I talk to about being in this type of, specifically this type of relationship with this exact family member, it’s really hard to walk away. It can seem impossible.

Mary: So I think the answer is kind of noticing, right? Paying attention to how this relationship is impacting you. So noticing like, am I functioning as my best self in this relationship or not? How do I feel around this person? How is this showing up in my body? Am I feeling more stressed or less stressed around this person? 

Ingrid: And how is it affecting your life? Can you work to the best of your ability? Or is your work suffering? Do you look around the house and there is clutter everywhere and there’s, you know, recycling, you know, piling up and you haven’t put the laundry away?

Can you see your surroundings? If your surroundings are chaotic, then that’s kind of a reflection of what’s going on in your mind and in your heart. And you know, it’s like when it gets to the point where you just really don’t even get motivated to get in the shower for three days. There’s something seriously wrong.

Mary: One thing that I’ve heard from many of my clients that we haven’t talked about yet is, My question for you is, did you feel resentment towards this person? 

Ingrid: Yes. 

Mary: You did? 

Ingrid: Absolutely. Without hesitation. Yes.

Mary: When did you notice resentment? 

Ingrid: I think the resentment actually, it started many, many years ago. I think it’s one of those things that creeps up so slowly that you don’t realize how bad it is until you are way down in that rabbit hole. I started resenting them because they would prevent me from doing things for myself, like my work, my business that I would have to cancel lunch dates that I would be up all night with them because they were having a meltdown, you know I had to turn down so many invitations or cut things short because I didn’t feel like I could leave them alone.

I did resent them even when they were too young to really kind of understand what they were doing. But then it got to the point where they knew exactly which buttons to push. And they would push my buttons and I would kind of let them get away with it. And so yes, I would resent them, but then I would resent myself.

 I was like my own worst enemy. It’s like, why are you doing this to yourself? Why can’t you set that boundary? Why can’t you say no? Thank you, no, thank you. Thank you. You know, it’s like, No, this is not ok. But then it’s kind of hard because you let them get away with it and then all of a sudden you say no and they’re like, what the heck? It’s like, But you said yes all these other times, and now you’re saying no, this doesn’t make any sense. And so it’s constant resentment for me not being able to do all the things that I would normally do because they were stopping me from doing it, but then I was kind of allowing it. I was allowing it, so I was resenting them for something that I was continuing to allow them to do. Does that make sense? 

Mary: No, it makes total sense. I’ve been there myself and yeah, I coach people through that every day. 

Ingrid: And it’s, it’s really hard. And then they resent me and then the rest of the people in our circle. and It’s just, it goes on and on and on. It has this huge ripple effect. 

Mary: Yes. And then you’re no longer showing up to the relationship from a place of love. You’re showing up with resentment, and that’s actually what I usually recommend when people ask me like, How do I know if I wanna say yes? Or if I wanna say no? There’s a person that I love and they’re asking something of me, and I, I think that’s the litmus test. Can I do this from a place of love? Or if I said yes, might I resent it? If I’m gonna resent it, then it could be awareness that maybe it’s an opportunity for me to say no. If I can’t say yes with love, then I need to say no with love. 

Ingrid: Right. And that’s the hard thing. It’s like almost, it feels that we are not allowed to say no because it’s frowned upon to say no. You gotta say yes all the time. What is up with that? What is up with that? How many times a day do people say no to us yet as the caregiver, the nurturer, we were supposed to say Yes, Yes. And I, I think that, I know I’ve gotten a lot better about saying no. It’s very empowering to be able to say, No, you know, that, that doesn’t serve me. What am I gonna do today and does it serve me? And if it doesn’t serve me, then it’s okay to say, I’m not gonna do that today. I’ll revisit it tomorrow or next week. But right now, today, here and now, this does not serve me. So I thank you. No, thank you. Thank you. I’ll pass. 

There’s something also that I personally found very empowering about that surrender. I surrender. I surrender. I am getting off the crazy train and I’m gonna walk away and I’m gonna surrender and go, You know what? I have done the best I can for as long as I could, probably longer than I should have. And I surrender and it’s very empowering and it’s brought me to a place of peace even when life happens and I’m still dealing with the fallout of all these changes I’ve made in my life. What I’m finding is so much easier now is that I have better coping skills. I don’t, I resort to very healthy coping mechanisms. I don’t run away and hide. That was my go-to. I’d run away and hide and self isolate and have a pity party and cry and go, Oh, poor me and life is so unfair. No, I don’t do that anymore.

Mary: Nice.

Ingrid: I find that I’m able to regulate myself a lot better. And I’m like, Okay, I’m allowed to have the feelings that I’m feeling and express them and and go, Okay, acknowledge them and then I’m like, Okay, what am I gonna do with this? And then I’m able to kind of regulate myself and just let it go and move on. And that’s a really hard skill to develop. And it’s something that I’ve personally worked on really, really, really hard. And to do that for me, Mary has been holding onto those boundaries with those people in my life, but also with myself, probably most of all myself. 

Mary: Yes. Our boundaries are actually always for ourselves, right? We don’t set boundaries on other people. We set boundaries for ourselves in how we are gonna participate in our relationships with other people.

Ingrid: But also the relationship that we have with ourselves. Like I’m setting that boundary. I’m not gonna get in my car and drive to my little mountain house and self isolate and go, woe is me. Like that’s a boundary I’ve set for myself. That is not a good coping mechanism. That’s not healthy. I need to go to the people in my inner circle who will support me and who will, you know, listen to me and help me work through it. Be it a friend or a loved one, or my therapist or another coach or you know any number of people I’m, I am not going to, you know, enable myself to do those things that I know are just gonna make it worse because it just leaves me feeling like crap. It doesn’t help anyone. So it’s setting those boundaries for myself and holding those boundaries strong with those people. It’s like I just, I can’t do it anymore, and I’m not gonna apologize for it.

I don’t have to explain myself. Nobody else knows what’s inside my head. Nobody else understands what I’ve been going through. A lot of people can empathize because they’ve had a similar experience or a similar journey, but at the end of the day if it wasn’t for those boundaries, I don’t think that I would be sitting here talking to you now. I don’t like to think how I would’ve ended up because the whole situation was just, unlivable. 

Mary: Yes. Yes. So one thing you mentioned was revisiting the boundaries. Can we talk about that for a minute? 

Ingrid: Absolutely.

Mary: So I wonder if that’s kind of your next step on this journey is when and how to revisit the boundaries that you’ve set. So once you have some pretty clear boundaries in a relationship where there weren’t clear boundaries and you want to maybe consider loosening those boundaries and revisiting them. So I’d love to just offer you a few minutes of coaching around that. 

Ingrid: That would be great. Yeah, that would be fantastic. Thank you, Mary. 

Mary: Okay, Awesome. So, moving forward in your relationship with this person that you are not currently having contact with, if we were to do kind of a T chart on one side is what’s okay for Ingrid and on the other side is what’s not okay for Ingrid, moving forward in your relationship with this person, where do you feel like you have some clarity right now? What would be okay for you?

Ingrid: What would be okay for me with this person is to be able to just do some kind of normal activities. Like, let’s go for lunch, let’s go for a hike, let’s go shopping at the mall. Let’s go have a spa day. Just kind of, you know, fun, relaxing, kind of lighthearted things. Let’s go watch a movie or something and just for us to actually be pleasant to each other, for us to say nice things to each other. Maybe that sounds superficial, but it kind of, it isn’t, to be polite to each other. To not put the other person down, to not be critical of that other person. Even things like, oh, you know it’s like, Oh, I really, I love your outfit, or your hair looks so good today. I mean, again, it sounds superficial, but when I’m used to conversations with that person when they tell me, Oh, I hate you. Go f off and die under a bridge. I mean, to have them say to me, Wow, you look really good. You look like you’ve lost some weight. Like to actually have a calm meeting where we’re happy and it’s lighthearted and it’s not like we’re walking on eggshells around each other. Just to be able to be cordial and friendly and polite and not be critical and threatening.

Mary: Okay, so good, good, good. I heard some great stuff in here and we can clarify around it. So what’s okay for you would be like an activity based contact. So you have a purpose of a contact. Maybe it’s a hike or a shopping or a spa or movie, something. And to have a calm interaction. Right? To have polite, conversation. Right. So it almost sounds like you wanna kind of have some companionship connection with this person. So not in a romantic sense, but like, have a date. 

Ingrid: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. 

Mary: Like, let’s have a date where we can spend some time together for the purpose of connecting with each other.

Ingrid: Right. And just kind of almost like getting to know each other again.

Mary: Yes. Getting to know each other. 

Ingrid: It’s like starting from scratch, getting to know each other again. And you’re right. I I like that idea of like, we’re going on a date. It’s kinda like we’re gonna start dating. Like when you meet a new romantic partner, obviously that’s not the case here, but let’s get to know each other. Let’s start from scratch. Let’s meet in a public place. Because if we’re in private then you know, then the cause can come out.

Mary: What about driving in the same car? Sometimes when we’re revisiting our relationship. And starting to loosen some of those boundaries. The public location and the transportation is where it gets a little gray. 

Ingrid: Yeah. That’s been a problem for us in the past. Because we’re, you know, stuck in traffic on the freeway and then the argument starts and all a sudden profanity begins. And I’m like, Oh my you know? So I think that would be something that would come along later. I think it would be more a situation of I’ll meet you there, rather than I’ll pick you up or you pick me up. And just again like you’re dating someone and getting to know them again. I mean, I’ve done my work. They’ve done their work. We’re both meeting together after we’ve sort of processed a lot of this mm-hmm.

But yeah, just to kind of be friendly and to kind of start from ground zero again. You can’t just like, rebuild a relationship and just go, Okay, now everything is just gonna be the way we want it to be. I mean, it doesn’t happen like that, that’s just unrealistic. 

Mary: Yes. So what’s not okay for you is hateful conversations. 

Ingrid: Yep. Profanity, criticisms, death wishes. I really don’t like those death wishes. 

Mary: No death wishes. 

Ingrid: Go die under a bridge. Yeah, that’s not pleasant. 

Mary: Name calling?

Ingrid: Name calling is particularly unpleasant. It’s really unpleasant. So instead of, I hate you, it’s like, I’m trying to understand you. You know what I mean? It’s like, I’m not expecting I love you right away, but it’s like I’m trying to understand you. And I mean I wouldn’t expect us to go into really meaningful and deep conversations, but to at least talk about common interest and that’s why I like the idea of going out to lunch because we can both, you know, pick a restaurant and type of food that we both like, we can go shopping, you know, we can try on outfits and say, do you like this? Do you like that? How does this look on me? Do you want me to get you another size? You know, go to the shops that we all like things like ,that. And especially outdoorsy things being outdoors can be kind of a grounding. You’re grounded, you’re on the ground, you’re in nature.

These kind of activities more conducive to having a positive interaction rather than being stuck in the car and stuck on freeway and somebody says the wrong thing and then it’s like you can’t get out of it because you’re stuck on the freeway. 

Mary: Yes. So what’s not okay for you is being stuck with this person. 

Ingrid: Yeah, because we both need the opportunity to be able to say, You know what, this conversation is not really serving me. So I’m gonna stop now and I’m gonna leave the room and we’ll pick this up when you’re feeling better. And I’ve had that conversation many times. Like, Okay, this is not productive. I can see you’re really upset. Let’s just take a break and we’ll come back to this in a little bit. 

Mary: Awesome. Awesome. So how will you know when you are ready to have this activity based connection with the person? 

Ingrid: Yeah, I thought I was, I thought I was because they had reached out to me and, and indicated that they were. But what they were doing was testing me. They were testing my boundaries to see, oh, is she gonna cave? Is she gonna cave in? Is she gonna just come running back? And then, you know, subsequent conversations once again, turn transactional. Oh she’s just being, they, they are just being nice to me because they want something that they can’t get from anyone or anywhere else. So they’ve come back to me and being all nice and ladi da in the hope that I will drop everything and come running to give them what they need or what they want. 

So I thought I was ready and then after that it was hard to take. I was pretty shaken and pretty upset. But again, Because I’ve done so much work on boundaries with myself, I didn’t resort to the behaviors that I had in the past, which is to run away, isolate and have a big pity party and not directly deal with it. Instead, I went to those people in my inner circle who I know support me and who hold space for me and who help ground me, and say Ingrid, please don’t run away. Come to me and we’ll deal with this together and I’ll help you with it. And that’s made all the difference for me. So I think that’s a hard question to ask because I don’t think I’m gonna know until I know. I can’t say, oh, in six months or in three months, or in a week, or in five years.

We don’t really know. I mean, I might be ready, but they may not be. So we’ve both gotta be there at the same time. We’ve both gotta be ready. And it may be that I’ll be ready long before they are, or it may be that they’re ready. And I’m sort of still at a place where I’m not quite trusting it yet because we’ve been round and round and round in circles with this for so long, right? 

Mary: Yeah. Okay. So I wanna wrap up and kinda summarize the things we’ve talked about. I’m gonna tell you what I wrote down on my T chart and I want you just to listen to it. Okay? And tell me what you hear. So what’s okay for Ingrid moving forward and her relationship with this person is activity based contacts, calm meetings, polite conversation, meeting in a public place, meeting there, trying to understand each other, exploring common interests, asking for time or space until she’s ready. Working on herself and relying on the people that she trusts. 

Here’s what’s not okay for you in your relationship with this person moving forward. These are your boundaries; hateful communication, name calling, profanity, death wishes, walking on eggshells, feeling stuck, having a transactional relationship, having the same relationship we’ve had before, having contact with this person before I feel ready, agreeing to contact because they want it if I’m not ready. 

Ingrid: You’ve nailed it, Mary. You’ve nailed it. 

Mary: Yes. So how does that feel? 

Ingrid: It actually feels really good. It feels really good. It gives me confidence, it’s good to have that validation that I’m on the right track here, I’m on the right path and I know what I’m doing, what’s best for me and I know I’m doing what’s best for them ultimately. They may not see it right now. Because they’re dealing with a whole bunch of their own demons. My hope is that they will see it eventually and that in time we will be able to resolve this and move forward in a healthy way. It may not be the way either of us really want to. It’s gonna take some time. But with age, I have developed patience with a lot of things, particularly when it comes to relationships. And I can only control what I do to move the relationship forward, if at all. I can only control my part in it. I can only control how I respond and how I react and how I think about this person. I can’t control their side. So that’s what I’m trying to move forward with. 

Mary: You’re doing awesome. You’ve got this. 

Ingrid: I know I have. Thank you.

Mary: What is your takeaway?

Ingrid: My takeaway is that I’m definitely on the right track here. My takeaway is that setting those boundaries and really holding onto those, that has been the big key for me in being able to deal with this and being able to deal with all these like major changes in my life at midlife. That probably a lot of people, and I know a lot of people who have been through something similar, have not fared well because of the lack of boundaries and lack of self care. Like I’m talking extreme self care. I’m not talking about going from Mani Pedi or a massage or buying a new outfit. I’m talking about really taking the time to understand how did I get here? What do I need to do right now to feel better and what do I need to do moving forward in a healthy way?

And those boundaries are all part of it. It’s just so important. And I’m not afraid to set boundaries and I’m not afraid to explore new ones. I’m at a different point in my life. Maybe this can shift a little bit now because I’m in a different place and I’m a different person.

Mary: Yes. You’ve got this. Thank you so much for sharing your story and thanks for talking to me. I appreciate it.

Ingrid: Thank you Mary. Thanks for all your support and advice and I appreciate you. 

Mary: Of course.