Boundaries

Authority: Abuse or Love?Premium Content

The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, he followed the advice of the young men. 1 Kings 12:13-14


"What shall I do, Ms. Yvonne?" Melissa asked as we sat in my office.

Her husband had slapped their son repeatedly because he didn't put toilet paper on the toilet seat in a public restroom before using it.

When she saw marks on her son's cheeks, she questioned him. His father had warned him not to tell. He cried and finally told her what happened. She said he was a young child and made a mistake.

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Are You the Victim of a Bully?Premium Content

I once thought a bully was a big kid shaking down a weaker kid for lunch money.

Now I know bullies are adults, too. They’re bosses, parents, teachers, spouses, neighbors, pastors, celebrities, and pro athletes. A bully is an insecure person who uses physical or emotional violence, or the threat of such violence, to exert power and control over others.

I can’t think of anything positive about bullies or their actions.

The bully hasn’t learned how to get what he needs—affirmation, love, self-worth—in authentic relationships, so he resorts to violence and threats. Bullies aren’t “real men” or “strong women.” They’re weak or unskilled in relationships, so they compensate with bravado.

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What Do You Gain When You Rescue Someone?Premium Content

Proverbs 19:19:
A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty;
if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.

"My husband is a hot-tempered man," Rosie told me. "In a fit of rage, he broke my mother's special vase."

"What happened next?" I asked.

Rosie blushed as she talked about rushing to the store to find a vase just like the one her husband broke before her mother returned home.

I looked into her eyes and asked if she had covered for her husband in the past.

Rosie wouldn't look at me. However, she admitted she had rescued her husband many times from the consequences of his behavior.

"Are you tired of rescuing your husband?"

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Moving from Client to Staff Member - Avoiding Codependency IssuesPremium Content

Recovery programs hire many program graduates and others who have overcome addictions or have grown up in troubled families. They can be excellent examples for mission clients and usually have special compassion and understanding for those who are still hurting. On the other hand, some are hindered in their efforts to minister to others because of their own codependency.

Here are a few common symptoms experienced by these "wounded warriors":

A. Inability to detach.

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Organizing the Addiction Counseling Process Index

I wrote a series of articles appeared in five consecutive issues of RESCUE, the journal of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. The focus was to give counselors some guidance that would help them more effectively work with homeless addicts.

Here are the five articles:

Organizing the Addiction Counseling Process – Part 1

Self Care for Ministers & Recovery ProfessionalsPremium Content

Healthy attitudes toward our ministries and us are essential elements for success and survival in the work of RESCUE. Ways to avoid "burn-out" and find more joy and fulfillment in the work of the Lord.

SELF CARE

    1. Detach- Remember God does the work (we are vessels)
    Fixers vs. guides (not "changing them, but pointing the way) - practicing "professional distance"
    Co-dependency, enablers, messiah-complex

    2. Faithfulness not fruitfulness (focus) Performance orientation? Avoid shame and guilt-driven efforts, which are from self not the Spirit

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Listening More and Talking Less

Proverbs 18:2
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing personal opinion.


Proverbs talks a lot about, well, talking! I think that we often confirm who we are (whether we want to be that person or not) when we talk. Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." And yet, we still talk. We talk in person. We talk (and text) on cell phones. We talk on the Internet. We talk, talk, talk. And a great deal of the time, we are "expressing personal opinion."

ACOA in the Workplace - Burnout Checklist

Are you an adult child of an alcoholic? This will help you to recognize signs of burnout.

    1. Are you constantly bothered by aches and pains?

    2. Are you often ill?

    3. Do you work overtime or take work home on a routine basis?

    4. Do you feel a responsibility to lighten the work load of your co-workers?

    5. Do you feel sensitive to or responsible for your supervisor's mood/problems?

    6. Do you resort to manipulation to get things done?

    7. Do you avoid confrontation?

    8. Do you suppress your feelings about work situations?

    9. Do you become anxious about your supervisor's evaluation of your performance?

Professional Distance in Addiction CounselingPremium Content

Sooner or later, every counselor will face the fact that he or she is not able to help everyone who becomes involved with their program. Recovery programs can have a very high turnover rate among their residents. Among rescue mission workers, some have reacted to this situation by becoming discouraged, "burned out," or even skeptical about the chances of any homeless addict "making it."

Why Professional Distance is Needed
Often, when people first hear the term "professional distance", they think it means are to be cold, unloving and uninvolved with those we counsel. Actually, it is just the opposite! Over involvement on an emotional level causes counselors to lose their objectivity. They cannot exercise proper judgment in their dealings with those with whom they are seeking to help. Instead, counselors can practice favoritism toward some residents and even end up feeling rejected by them when they don't respond favorably to their attempts to help them.Mostly, a lack of professional distance is manifested when workers have an improper sense of responsibility for the actions and decisions of their clients. And, it is important to remember that, since so many of those we work with at rescue missions have a background of addiction and codependency, they know how to make others feel guilty about not "taking care of them."Mission workers must be committed to being part of the solution and not a part of the problem. Their own unresolved issues will inevitably hinder their ability to minister effectively to others.

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Client's Boundaries and RecoveryPremium Content

In our two earlier installments, we highlighted the importance of counselors carefully guarding their own personal boundaries while working with troubled people. Respecting the boundaries of those we seek to help is equally important. Here are a few thoughts on the topic:

A. We must teach and model healthy boundaries

    People who grow up in dysfunctional families tend to believe that they are not allowed to have personal boundaries. Though abused and mistreated, they do not feel they deserve anything else. As mentioned earlier, a personal boundary is, essentially, the line that divides me from you. Without boundaries I can't tell what's my stuff and what's yours. Something as simple as saying "No" to drugs and alcohol - or to sin in any form -is a boundaries issue. To do so takes a commitment to caring about myself, while seeking to maintain a growing relationship with God. So, teaching and modeling healthy boundaries is vital if these folks are to begin the road to recovery.

B. "Fixing" vs. "Empowering"

    Healthy recovery can not happen until an individual is able to establish a program of "self-care." At the Pool of Siloam, Jesus said to a crippled man, "Rise, take up your bed and walk. " (John 5:8) In a very real way, this illustrates how we ought to minister to troubled people.

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