My therapist has me reading this book on boundaries. It's really good, because I see myself in a lot of it. It's really bad because I see a lot of Jim in it. For instance, this morning.
Today is "don't drive your car to work" day. There is a bus stop, less than a mile (probably only a half mile) from our house that drops Jim off across the street from his office. He's taken it a whole 3 times in the last 2 years, and those 3 times were all in a week when his car was in the shop. He decided he'd take it today, being HR and all and being the one sending messages to employees about the event (it's DC-metro wide). Did he get his ass up in time to catch the bus? Yes. But did he get in the shower in time, or not sit on the couch watching the news for 10 minutes, etc.? No. So he's running out at 7:30 to walk a half mile to catch a bus that comes at 7:32.
If I was a good boundary setter, which I'm not, the rest of the morning would not have played out as it did.
He came back a minute later, grabbed Natalie and my car keys and said "I need you to drive me to the bus stop and I'm getting Natalie in the car right now" as he ran back out the door. Um, ok. My pajama clad self (tank top, no bra, crocs, orange plaid pants, glasses, and serious bed head) shut the door behind myself as I climbed into the driver's seat. Off to the bus stop. It wasn't till we were stuck at the second traffic light which is a looooong one that Jim came to the realization he wasn't going to make the 7:32 bus. The schedule said there was one at 7:47. Jim made me wait in a parking lot near the stop till the bus came just in case. And just in case turned out to be "but I need to get to work on time and can't wait for the 7:47 bus that's obviously running late." So I had to drive him to work. And thus starts my week with 40 minutes in the car and pissed off at my husband.
Sure, I could have said, "no, we're not waiting" and driven off as soon as we dropped him off at the bus stop. I could have also made a run for the shower as soon as I heard him walk back in the door. I just hate confrontation I'd rather bite my tongue, suck it up and deal so as not to have a pissy husband. Yet my boundary book has made me see where my errors are (inability to say "no" firmly and set limits) and to see where Jim's are (inability to set boundaries on his self so as to be on time and then blaming others for his lateness). Did you know that sometimes because I talk to him too much in the morning that's why he's late? And other times when I don't talk to him at all so as to give him his space to get ready quickly he gets sulky and whines about how he didn't get to talk to me before he had to leave? It's a no win situation on my side. And I used to be a public transit commuter for 5 years before working from home. If I missed a shuttle to the metro or got a late start and had to take a later train, I got into work late and I dealt with it. I also knew enough to plan ahead for potential lateness, knowing that if I got in early, I could scoot out a little early, too. This is a concept beyond Jim's comprehension.
Tomorrow, Jim is taking the bus. And I'm not rescuing him. I'm going to tell him this firmly but nicely tonight. He needs to do it for himself, and to see that the bus is a perfectly good option. I'll pack his lunch and dig up a magazine for him to read at the bus stop and if he misses the 7:32 and the 7:47 is late, then he has to deal. I'm not coming to pick him up.