We are constantly forced to make assumptions. We are in frequent interactions with others but don’t always receive all the information we need to understand their behaviour by which to choose an appropriate and effective response.
Every single one of us makes judgements, has a running commentary in the back of our minds, forming opinions about those influencing our lives at the moment. This is completely natural and necessary as a safety mechanism to prep us to respond to the moment. To cue us for action based on the circumstances since obviously our behaviour amongst hostile individuals will be drastically different than when surrounded by unknowns or by family.
And there’s where problems can arise.
No expectations, only boundaries. Don’t trust anyone so accept that they have the potential to hurt you. But hope for the best and love them anyway.
We assume familiar people are safe, unfamiliar people may not be, and hostile people are dangerous.
When it comes to emotional wounds, those closest to us have the greatest power to hurt us and our assumption of safety puts both sides in a position of expected behaviour which can set them up for failure. Especially if there is emotional dysfunction present making even common courtesy fly out the window in moments of distress.
No adult is responsible for another adult’s well being; as much as we’d all like to assume others will not intentionally hurt us we must accept that they will, given the right set of circumstances. Even the best of us has a breaking point. And no matter how well you think you know someone, no matter how close you think you are to them, you will likely never see how close they are to shattering.
We must have no expectations that anyone will be able to protect us from their sharp edges and broken pieces. But to be a part of society or an organization or a family, we must love them anyway and make ourselves safely vulnerable to them with our boundaries in place. Our trust in them gives them hope that they are trustworthy, a priceless gift which Synergy gives to us every day. Our boundaries give us hope and responsibility for our own safety.
Trust means having no expectations, only boundaries. A boundary is an escape plan if things go wrong. It is not an expectation of behaviour, it is a planned, intentional response to misbehaviour. ‘If she yells at me one more time, I am walking out the door.’ A boundary does not need to be announced, approved, or accepted by others, but advising the perpetrator of their violation and the consequence can be a part of a boundary before acting on the escape plan.
Forwarning is not recommended for emotional abusers because boundaries feel like control to them – boundaries are not control of an abuser, they are control of the victim and since abuse is frequently about control, to assert a boundary shifts control from abuser to abused thus does truly represent a loss of control, control they never should have taken. To notify them they are losing control can trigger worse behaviour.
Assume the worst in any situation, prepare your mind for the worst, accept that the worst might happen, and figure out exactly how trusting this person might harm you. No risk? Great. High risk? Then what are you willing to gamble? Every action you take, if purposeful and deliberate, will have minimal risk with maximum satisfaction, if you surrender to the reality that you alone – with Synergy’s support and guidance – are obligated to take care of yourself. You cannot trust anyone to have your back, but you can hope they do. Cover your back as much as you can, before you give them the gift of exposing it to them. Vulnerability is a treasure that, when shared, increases immeasurably.
Hopeful assumptions mean you respond to the best scenario by allowing situations to play out naturally, only acting if you must. Love them anyway, unless they actually DO trigger the boundary but since you prepared yourself for that you were not surprised.
And if the outcome IS the best, then you get to be pleasantly surprised that your trust and hope were rewarded. Either way, the outcome was meant to be.