Friday, January 15, 2010


Mark Twain said that “truth is stranger than fiction…”. What reads as contrived in a novel is often the stuff of real life, and so it seems with me. My last blog started exploring the relationship between boundaries and codependence. Well, as if to highlight my exploration, a few days ago I underwent an extreme boundary violation – I was hit by a car. And not only did I survive relatively unscathed but learned a valuable lesson: It is never too late for the disrespected boundaries of youth to be atoned.

It was early evening, rainy and very dark when I stepped across a narrow one way street. The street is adjacent to the main drag where I live. But on a Sunday night in what I like to think of as BC’s elder enclave, not many people are up and about, let alone on the main road. I was half way across when it happened.

As the car bore down– I saw it a split second before it hit – rage poured through me. It wasn’t towards the driver but this unfeeling, automaton that had no respect for my boundaries, a force that was too big, too powerful to stop. Upon impact I flew in the air, landing on my rear. I was furious.

I immediately got up, letting my “attacker” know how I felt about it. The rage boiled over and I yelled: “I am so angry”. I don’t how many times I repeated it or the variations I used, I only know that I scared the witnesses with my adrenalin powered fury. The outrage was soon replaced by terror as I sat with the shaken driver, tears running down both our cheeks.

As a child, my boundaries were disrespected. Without proper role modeling, I was vague on what was mine and what belonged to another. As an adult this confusion manifested in various ways: I let others guide me with little or no self reflection; it was difficult to hold confidences; and I did not understand self containment nor have respect for my body. I grew up rigid in some areas: exercise and food discipline to the point of ill-heath; and vague in others. I was the epitome of codependence in that I did not know who I was, and held all my value in the reflection of those around me.

Over the years I have worked hard on creating appropriate and healthy boundaries and in reassuring my young internal parts that I am no longer defenseless. When I was hit, witnesses say I flew. In retrospect, I’d like to think I jumped. I reacted as I couldn’t do as a child and did the best I could to remove myself from the situation. Moreover, I got up immediately and fought back verbally, another impossibility of childhood. It was incredibly empowering to embody the feeling of action against injustice, to feel my voice sing out how angry I was. It was the anger of a child finally able to express. It was the anger of atonement.

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