I remember being in the thick of things with my ex while sharing custody, knowing I needed to stand up to him to protect myself and my kid.
Every time I tried to put up a boundary, I was worried what kind of kickback there would be.
That fear kept me from standing up to him. There was a gripping, clenching knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach and I felt like I was way out of alignment in my body.
I needed to know what God said about boundaries because I was pretty sure He had some good advice for me.
I used to Google things like, “What does the Bible say about boundaries?” and "Biblical boundaries".
The answer was: The Bible had a LOT to say on this subject!
Galatians 6:2 tells us that we should carry each other’s burdens. A burden is something that’s too heavy for one person to do alone. So if your best friend's mother dies and she’s in the throes of planning the funeral, that's a burden, and you offer to help take care of her kids so it's one thing off her mind and plate.
Going further, Galatians 6:5 says that each person will have to 'carry their own load'. In the Amplified Bible, the word, “load,” is expanded to mean each of us is supposed to carry our own faults and shortcomings that we alone are responsible for.
Many times this passage of Scripture gets twisted so let’s unpack it a bit.
When we were with our exes, we were conditioned to carry their “burdens", but we were actually forced to carry their “loads” (let's face it, they forced us to or there was hell to pay).
We took on way more than we should have, because we absolutely would do anything to keep the peace and keep him calm, right?
The problem was, for me, and for so many of the women I coach, we continue to take on the ex's burden ourselves post-separation.
As I explored this concept of burdens and loads/responsibilities, I started to recognize that taking this all on was completely out of alignment and that’s why I felt awful all the time.
These dudes’ burdens come from abuse, neglect, trauma, whatever their history is that led to their narcissism. That was their burden back then, but now that they are grown, they need to face these issues on their own (their load), which they don’t do.
I felt sympathetic and compassionate toward my ex because of his history and started carrying his load, thinking it was his burden, and excusing or bypassing his responsibility to respect my boundaries.
We can certainly help each other through facing our trauma — you’re reading this for that very reason, right? But ultimately you are responsible for your own healing and I am responsible for mine.
Just like your ex is responsible for his own healing.
While co-parenting with your ex, you can continue to carry his load and refrain from standing up to him. It’s easier to just go with what he says because there are definitely ramifications to putting boundaries in place!
But if you take this route, you will continue to feel out of alignment and anxious. You’ll be angry with him for the crap he pulls but you’ll be even more angry at yourself for allowing it.
We don’t need to beat ourselves up any more than we already have at this point in our lives.
Start small, put up one boundary at a time, and stick to it. Maybe you’d like to move all your communication to email so he isn’t blowing up your phone all day long. He won’t listen at first, there will be pushback, but stick with it and you will feel stronger and more at peace.
Do you need help getting started? Click the link below to book a coaching session with me. We can chat about specific areas where you need to establish boundaries and strategies on how to put them in place.
I promise it can get easier with every boundary you put up, and give back every load that is your ex's to carry.
God made you for this!
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