Knowing Boundaries

October 13, 2014

Yesterday I was in the supermarket.  There is this great machine by the pharmacy that not only takes your blood pressure, but weight, pulse and figures out your BMI. I try and stop there at least once a month since I was diagnosed with high blood pressure last year. I am now off blood pressure medication and hope by monitoring it, I will stay off. The machine is tucked off in a corner so I don’t mind using it. Except for yesterday. Yesterday I did not like using it.

It takes a few minutes to log in into the machine and get set up to start going. Just as I started to take my blood pressure, a man came up beside me waiting for the machine. He stood about three feet from me. Too close. He was staring at the screen. The screen with my information on it. As the blood pressure cuff tightened around my arm, I could feel my pressure rising. I turned and looked at him. He stayed put. My pressure rose and rose. The machine had to stop and start again since it could not get a proper reading. Finally my blood pressure was displayed, displayed in red numbers, not a good sign. Next to be measured was my weight. Before I hit the “next” button, I turned and looked at the man. This time the look I gave him was a “back of jack” look. Yet he stayed put.

I do not share my weight with anyone but my doctor (even then I try to get out of stepping on the scale). I certainly do not want to share it with this person. With extreme aggravation, I hit the “log off” button. I refuse to go any further with a “spy” peering over my shoulder. I abruptly stood up, turned to the man and said “Do you have any boundaries? Its rude to be standing here looking at the screen while someone is using it.”  I didn’t wait for a response, I just stormed out and went home.

I realize not everyone knows boundaries. I deal with it everyday with my Mom. She says inappropriate things, does things she shouldn’t, its very frustrating. People push boundaries all the time. You’ve met them. The person who will ask you what your salary is, the woman who feels she has the right to touch your pregnant belly, the Aunt who tells you you’re raising your children wrong, the man who stands in your personal space. Some people just don’t get boundaries. It really is a skill. One skill that children (and some adults) need to learn, one skill that people with dementia and alzheimer’s lose.

There are questions that we should ask ourselves in terms of boundaries. How will pushing boundaries make me feel? How will it make others feel? Will good or bad come out of it? Do I know what I really want? If someone pushes me, do I need to respond? What are my boundaries? That question is really important- what are my boundaries? I have found with my mother, I may have to let down my guard or even better, just laugh when she crosses a boundary. When she exclaims “oh my!” after she looks at my weight on the scale theres nothing left to do but laugh. She’s may be saying what I am thinking!

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