>Responsible for or to?

>Today I had a two hour counseling appointment, not because that was the time slot but because that is how long it took to barely break the surface on a conversation about boundaries. I apparently have boundary issues. I feel responsible for the happiness of my loved ones and this is a bad thing. It is okay to feel responsible “to” someone but not responsible “for” someone. The only person that I can feel responsible for is myself. This is a hard truth for me.

It amazes me how a trained person can pick up on the little things hidden in sentences that you say that reveal so much about you. We were talking about some things that happened when I was growing up and the following is an example of her picking up on something that I didn’t even realize I was saying.

me: “…I needed to take care of my little sister….”
counselor: “What do you mean by ‘take care of’?”
me: “I needed to make sure that she was okay, that she was happy, that she was not being hurt by the things going on around her. I needed to protect her.”
counselor: “Protect her from what?”
me: “From the world, our older sister, guilt, anger, everything that was happening.”
counselor: “So you felt responsible for your sister’s safety and happiness?”
me: “yes”
counselor: “Why?”
me: “Because she is my little sister and I love her and if I don’t take care of her, she may get hurt.”
counselor: “Now you are talking in the present tense. Do you still feel responsible for your little sister?”
me: “yes, only now I am not doing a very good job because I live on the other side of the world.”
counselor: “How does that make you feel?”
me: …pause… “guilty, very guilty.”

As you can imagine, the conversation just went on and on. My eyes were opened to the fact that I cannot make my sister or my parents or my friends happy and safe. I can love them but they are responsible for their own happiness and safety. This is really really hard for me. I worry about the people that I love all the time, especially when they are unhappy. I want to make them happy and am willing to do whatever it takes to get them there.

My thoughts are all mushy right now because of everything going through my head . But I do know that somehow I need to switch to feeling responsible to love others but not responsible for them. I have a rough road ahead of me…

I realize that this was a bit of a vulnerable post and I am sorry if that made any of you uncomfortable. I have a feeling though that most of you that read my blog are comfortable enough hearing what I have to say. Thanks for reading and please pray for me.

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