Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

What is your breaking point?

(22 Posts)
youngblowfish Sun 02-Oct-11 21:22:57

I was reflecting on my unhealthy Relationships lurker habit and it occurred to me that perhaps I am too unforgiving towards the people in my life. I keep coming across threads from posters who put up with an awful lot from friends, OHs, family members etc. and find myself baffled but also in awe of their perseverance. [On a personal note: DM is very much like that - no matter what my father does, she will never leave.]

As much as I try hard not to be petty, I drop friends and family members I see as toxic without regret. Naturally, I always mourn the relationship for a while, sometimes forever (I don't see my DF any more), but overall I know I am happier without them.

I follow the MN mantra 'when people show you/tell you who they are, believe them the first time'. I very rarely give people second chances, which perhaps is a mistake on my part. I suppose I am wondering where others put their boundaries? Do you run at the first sight of trouble ahead or stay to see how the situation pans out? Do you regret your choices? And why? Thanks for reading and entertaining my amateur interest in the way people relate to each other.

hormonesnomore Sun 02-Oct-11 21:41:28

Having made very poor choices in the past and persevering with unhealthy relationships for far too long, I now have an extremely low tolerance towards toxic people.

As a result I have no real friends, don't get close to colleagues, and only see a handful of family members.

I'm curious about this too as I can't seem to get the balance right and occasionally think I give up too soon and don't make allowances for normal human nature.

youngblowfish Sun 02-Oct-11 21:56:46

hormonesnomore, it is hard, isn't it? I think I still err on the side of being too accepting as I think this is my default setting. Yet I dropped a friend for swearing and shouting at me just ONCE.

It is hard not to have quite rigid ideas about unacceptable behaviour when your internal compass has failed in the past at spotting red flags, non?

hormonesnomore Sun 02-Oct-11 22:06:46

If someone shouted and swore at me they wouldn't be a friend for long.

Yes, I find it very hard to make judgements, especially regarding people I work with. Are they being assertive or aggressive? They're not friends but I have to tolerate them for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, so I probably put up with more than I should for the sake of harmony and being civil. It's the passive aggressive behaviour that gets me and I try so hard not to get embroiled in it - but it's very difficult.

youngblowfish Sun 02-Oct-11 22:16:59

Is it office politics or something more sinister?

WRT the friend, I probably overreacted at the time, but the friendship had actually run its course at that point anyway.

anothermum92 Sun 02-Oct-11 22:18:52

Message withdrawn

1catherine1 Sun 02-Oct-11 22:25:30

erm... Difficult one. The thing about giving second chances is that often people apologise and don't really mean it and do it again. But good people make mistakes too - they do silly things that should be forgiven and by being so black-and-white about everything you are eventually condemning yourself to a life of solitude.

I'm not perfect so I don't expect others to be. I often over react to things and so if people took the attitude not to forgive then I would be the first to be unforgiven.

youngblowfish Sun 02-Oct-11 22:30:59

anothermum, I can't stand people who bitch. In fact, I avoid most moaners, they suck out all joy out of life.

This is a brilliant advert for all those people struggling in abusive relationships - go on, leave your arse of the husband, then you will find no one will quite measure up to your new high standards and you will spend the rest of your days alone. grin

You are spot on, it is very liberating realising that it truly is up to you to decide what you want to put up with. I do still have some friends left, honest! wink

youngblowfish Sun 02-Oct-11 22:39:12

1catherine1, I do see your point. Whenever I am judgemental about somebody's behaviour, I always think that DH once took a chance on me when he really should not have done and probably against his better judgement. It is only my perspective, but a few years on I think we make each other very happy.

Yet only a couple of days ago, I met a woman in RL who was kindly doing her OH's job for him while he was attending one of those abusers' rehabilitation programmes for hitting her a few times. We started talking, it turned out he also lies and she had just found out that he cheats as well. But she is willing to give him another chance, although he has already used the knowledge from the anger management course against her. She appeared to know all this and yet was still there by his side. It still does not make sense to me.

hormonesnomore Sun 02-Oct-11 23:05:32

youngblowfish that woman could have been me - low self-esteem gets even lower when you live with an abusive partner and your instincts & judgement go out the window.

Not office politics, someone in particular who is very unpredictable (sweet & sour personality, I never know quite where I am with her) It messes with my head; and I'm surrounded by moaners - you're right they do suck all the joy out of life.

youngblowfish Mon 03-Oct-11 00:10:49

Oh, hormonesnomore, I am so sorry. It is a horrific thing to go through and so very sad to witness. It seems you are in a better place now.

I try to see the funny side to moaning if I cannot get away from it. It helps that I am naturally annoyingly chirpy, which seem to discourage moaners. I do not bond with people over moaning as it makes me feel shit, so they quickly move on to someone who will reciprocate. If they complain about the weather, I tell them I think it is great that it is raining/sunny, it is just what my garden needs and so on. Surprisingly effective and I don't feel like slashing my wrists at the end of a conversation ;).

ILoatheMickeyMouseClubhouse Mon 03-Oct-11 00:21:39

hormonesnomore I am the same; I've had my fingers burnt so many times and just find so many people don't act like proper friends should that I just don't really have many friends now as it's made me wary of people. However I'm coming to the conclusion that lots of people are selfish and out for themselves only, and I'd rather have just a handful of real, true, proper friends, than a massive circle of people that don't behave like friends.

OP, to answer your question, I find as I get older I'm setting more and more boundaries about my friendships, and what I will and won't tolerate, I have to admit if someone does something bad then generally they don't get another chance, I always feel that leopards never change their spots.

DontGoCurly Mon 03-Oct-11 00:24:27

I drop people easily too. I cut off a parent quite easily. I don't suffer fools gladly, life's too short.

I don't admire tolerance, I view it as muggery. I was a mug before, but I'll be a mug no more!

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Mon 03-Oct-11 00:27:36

What is your breaking point? I think I just found it on another thread grin

On the whole, and depending on my tolerance levels on any given day and how inclined I am to extend the benefit of the doubt, I adopt the 3 strikes and you're out approach to non-romantic friendships.

But, obviously, if one of those strikes was physically directed at me, there'd be no second chance.

ILoatheMickeyMouseClubhouse Mon 03-Oct-11 00:28:02

Dontgocurly I am the same, you have summed up my thoughts exactly.

I have been having counselling for a few months and I was discussing this sort of thing with her recently. I said that I often feel that I cut off or drop a lot of friends and she said it is probably more due to having low self esteem previously I became "friends" with people too quickly, rather than being more choosy and keeping them at arms length before deciding whether they were good/nice/decent enough to be my friends, hence I then did the "weeding out" process some time into the friendship rather than before the friendship developed. I am now making a very conscious effort not to get too friendly with people too quickly. I have recently made an acquaintance through my DD (our DDs are friends) and she is lovely, I think she will become a friend at some point but I'm holding back a bit for now until I'm sure.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 03-Oct-11 00:43:11

It's about balance. I know quite a few people who do things that "do my head in". Some of these people I really like.

It's all a question of boundaries.

ILoatheMickeyMouseClubhouse Mon 03-Oct-11 00:46:10

I think if it's a small thing that does my head in, like a personality quirk or annoying habit then I tend to let it go, it's the big personality flaws that make me drop people like a hot potato, mainly things like selfishness, lack of loyalty towards me, people that are continually miserable and on a downer, etc etc.

Pigglesworth Mon 03-Oct-11 05:46:54

youngblowfish you sound like me!

Maybe I'm biased but I think it's a great quality. I wouldn't say I have high self-esteem - but at the same time I will not tolerate bad behaviour from others at all and happily cut people out if I judge them to be toxic/ untrustworthy/ whatever. Examples of people I have "cut out" recently include:

- 2 compulsive liars with delusions of grandeur
- 1 absolute narcissist who uses others as "functions" rather than people - very charming and popular and happily manipulates others/ acts sincere and caring when she wants something from you, otherwise ignores you
- 1 narcissist who is mainly focused on making sure you know that she is "the best" and that you are below her - based on the evidence of her opinion

All scarily working in the mental health field!

On the other hand, I do tend to have a strong default liking of people and I also have many long and rewarding friendships with wonderful people, as well as a great 5-year relationship with my partner, so I wouldn't say I'm people-hating or depriving myself of social interaction/ relationships. I just trust my instincts and if someone makes me feel dubious/ uncomfortable, I quietly gather my evidence and if appropriate cut them out. Qualities like shyness, awkwardness, bluntness, not having much to say initially, being overly anxious or a bit brash/ overly talkative aren't the kinds of things that bother me at all - it's the negative character traits (e.g., being two-faced, being a narcissist with no insight, sustaining conversations based on bitching and moaning, being a compulsive liar, being a drama queen, treating me or others including partners disrespectfully, etc. etc.) that bother me and if I see someone showing such traits I don't want anything to do with them.

So... I guess you end up with fewer "friends" in the loosest sense of the word - but really great relationships with the people who remain in your life! And I can honestly say that I have never been screwed over/ put through emotional pain by anyone because of this tendency to cut people out as soon as I recognise such negative traits - excluding some family members of course, as you can't really choose your family and none of them are bad enough at this stage that I would cut them off.

So... I say, cherish your excellent standards/ boundaries! I'd cut a "friend" out for shouting and swearing at me once, too. What does that show about their respect for others, their respect for you, their ability to regulate their own emotions and behaviour?

BelleDameSansMerci Mon 03-Oct-11 07:09:57

There are factors which can seriously impact a person's "break point". I was brought up in an atmosphere of fear and violence (not directed at me) created by my alcoholic and physically and emotionally abusive father. So, while I will not tolerate violence or aggression at all (there is no way back from even the threat of that) I have still been "conditioned" and am loyal long past the point where I should walk away. Even knowing and acknowledging this does not change things. Point in case - my "D" P has been messing me around for 8 years. He is, allegedly, trying to sort things out now but this just means I now know when he's with OW while he "chooses" between us. I am a strong, independent woman with high earning power. I don't "need" him for any practical reason yet I am finding it very hard to dispense with him. I'm approaching it very slowly. I will get there but I'd guess I'm way past the tolerance level of anyone without the alcoholic loyalty thing going on...

hormonesnomore Mon 03-Oct-11 20:44:15

grin at the cartoons youngblowfish I especially like the one with the earplugs - sounds like a good idea.

KatieScarlett2833 Mon 03-Oct-11 21:12:29

Mine is set very low.

Life's too short to tolerate the disrespecters.

youngblowfish Thu 06-Oct-11 13:40:43

Sorry, did not mean to post and run, but my 5 month old DS only occasionally allows me enough sleep for me to be able to string a coherent sentence together.

Pigglesworth, you flatter me. Sounds like you have a pretty healthy self-esteem, I know that I do. I also enjoy great relationships in my life and generally like most people, especially when they are slightly eccentric. Interestingly, the fact that most of the people you cut out recently work in the MH field does not surprise me in the slightest. I think it is a very challenging and odd environment to spend most of your time in, not to mention that it actually tends to attract people who have their own issues.

ILoatheMickeyMouseClubhouse, I know exactly what you mean by letting people get too close too quickly - I still do that! For a while I wondered whether it stemmed from my issues linked to a largely dysfunctional childhood, but in the end I decided that actually it was just my way of relating to others. I still sometimes meet someone and like them a lot straight away and then come back home to DH and declare: 'Darling, I just met a lovely girl and we are going to be friends for life!' half-seriously. We laugh about it and outcomes vary - sometimes we do become very close and sometimes we don't, c'est la vie. However, I still enjoy the feeling of really liking someone the moment you meet them.

BelleDame, I am so sorry about your P. I know exactly what you mean about being conditioned to set your boundaries at a certain level by your experiences, your F sounds exactly like mine, only some of the violence was directed at me. Yet I don't think I have the alcoholic loyalty - I started therapy quite early on (17yo) and still work on resetting my standards. Now, the way my personality works is much like Pigglesworth described - once I acknowledge and am aware of someone's damaging influence (even if they don't mean it - my F never meant any of the crap either), my rose tinted glasses drop and I cannot ignore it and get on with a relationship, I feel compelled to do something about it. I don't even have to work on it or convince myself that I need to break the friendship/relationship off. Once the thought is in my mind, my actions follow, partly because I cannot bear the thought of wasting more of my life than necessary on people who do not deserve my time, especially f I feel as though I have some choice in the matter. If it is not too personal, what do you think makes you stay beyond what you recognise as a breaking point? I am not asking so that I can judge and tell you to leave him - it is a decision only you can make and I don't like being presumptuous. I am merely curious as to what is your reasoning behind remaining in a situation you yourself recognise as unhappy.

izzywhizzy linkety link to the thread, please? smile

Thanks for entertaining me!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now