Boundaries: I’m Not a Punching Bag

Last week I wrote a post titled They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know and made the case that often folks say insensitive things but truly don’t mean harm.  Many are walking in the dark and step on our toes because they can’t see.

But there are some people who make it a habit to be insensitive.

They are the ones who delight in speaking their mind regardless of how it hurts another heart.  They pride themselves on “telling it like it is” and justify the fallout as a necessary consequence of “opening the eyes” of people they consider “blind to the truth”.

And while I believe that it is my duty as a Christ follower to forgive these folks when they hurt my feelings, I do not believe that I am required to continue to offer my heart to them to be tossed to the ground and trampled.

boundary yellow line

I do not have to welcome them with open arms and invite their untimely and unkind comments.  

I do not have to engage with them on social media-I can unfollow, unfriend or simply ignore their posts.  I can delete inappropriate comments made on my own posts and untag myself when they try to draw my attention to an article or meme that they think “helps” when it only wounds me.

If the person is a family member, I can choose to be polite when we meet at gatherings but I do not have to sit next to them at the table.  I can excuse myself early from birthday parties, Sunday dinners or holiday meals.  I can simply refuse an invitation and stay home instead.

If the person is someone tightly woven into the fabric of my friendships, I can do the same thing-choosing not to be alone with them so I’m not an easy target for their “helpful” monologues.

If the person is a casual acquaintance then I can choose not to engage them at all. It’s OK to scoot around the next aisle in the grocery store so that I’m not caught like a deer in headlights when they see me and exclaim, “How ARE you???”

In other words, it is perfectly acceptable to have boundaries around my heart so I can survive this journey.

It is healthy.

It is necessary.

I’m not required to be someone else’s punching bag.

punching bag

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

5 thoughts on “Boundaries: I’m Not a Punching Bag”

  1. I had to recently block all communication from my only other son as he is just too painful to talk with right now


  2. I can relate to this, you said it perfectly. My sister-in-law does exactly what you wrote. I’ve been on this journey for 4yr 2 mths now and the daily pain exists in me while I try to get on daily. Why does she choose to hurt than to care, why does she choose to ignore than to remember? We had an argument the other day, things were said that had been brewing for a long time from both of us, but the one thing that sticks in my mind is why do you always have a “long face”. My reply was that I have 2 faces, 1 that I want to rip apart and scratch it to shreds and the other is my default face that is trying to carry on daily with this pain of losing Micheal at 13 to cancer after 4 year battle. Her response was nothing. She turned it around and made it about her and her struggles, she didn’t even mention Michael.


  3. I AGREE! For most people they just don’t understand and grace can be extended. But like you said there are those who don’t care and they wound cause they feel they have the right to speak their insensitive thoughts. They think its time to move on and they are going to tell you how. Even though they haven’t experienced such a loss. Maybe you could write your thoughts on the avoiders. I am dealing w that now and am going to write about it on my son (Logan Rautios caring bridge page) when I sort some feelings out. That hurts too especially when they are close to you. I get they don’t know how to react, but their silence instead of love cuts right to the already wounded heart. Thank you, Melanie. Ann


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: