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Tell us about the time you threw down the gauntlet and drew the proverbial line in the sand by giving someone an ultimatum. If you’ve never handed out an ultimatum but secretly wanted to, describe the scene and what you would say to put an end (one way or another) to an untenable situation.

I’ve never actually given anyone an ultimatum. Confrontation is something I avoid at all costs. It’s actually been difficult for me to assert myself for a most of my life and I’ve had problems with setting boundaries. A lot of that comes from my childhood, but I’ll stop on that subject now.

I’m a people-pleaser, but I used to do it at a cost to my own happiness. I still like to do things for others, but it’s more of a choice now, not a need. I’ve rarely had to draw a line in the sand, but there are a few things I can think of where I’ve had to say, “Stop, that’s enough.”

One of the topics I have to call time outs on is religion. Fortunately over the years  I’ve done it often enough that others in my family now know my boundaries.  I married a Catholic, not practicing when we got married, but a few years later when we were planning to begin a family, he returned to his faith. I was raised a Lutheran, but my beliefs began changing during college. The pressure was on after we had children for me to become a Catholic, and increased during our child raising years. It’s just not in me to be a Catholic. I have supported my husband and children in practicing their faith, but it’s not for me. There have been times when confrontation has occurred because of this, and I’ve had to draw the line on how much “encouragement” is too much.

Generally, when I realized that I wasn’t standing up for myself appropriately, I had to get counseling. It’s helped a lot, and I can now express my true feelings better. I don’t have the need to be “right” necessarily, but it is important to be able feel free to express one feelings and opinions. Being better able to stick up for myself hasn’t changed my personality a whole lot; I’m still pretty laid back, but I do feel better now that I feel I have a choice.

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