I knew better than to get in the middle of that arguement. If her husband thought it wasn’t safe for her to go to her favorite restaurant this early in her recovery, I wasn’t going to take her. I told them:
- I can’t be in the middle of this. You two need to decide on this together. I suggest we find a restaurant with easy access that you both feel good about.
Her husband immediately got on board with that. He said “I suppose Bob Evan’s isn’t special enough.” He wasn’t trying to deny her a night out. He was trying to keep her safe. Bob Evan’s wouldn’t do it for her but we found an easily accessible restaurant that did.
Ironically, right after I made my stand, I received an email from a relative who had taken her to the less accessible restaurant even earlier in her recovery. The email contained a description of the near disaster of that night. In the email, the relative told me, despite everyone’s misgivings, “there was no talking her out of it.”
I didn’t talk her out of it. I just declined to take her.
Do you waste energy trying to convince people of things when what you really need to do is state (and honor) your terms? This experience helped me see other places in my life where I’d been trying to get people to understand my position, when I really just needed to say what I would do and then do what I said.
Dinner at the alternative restaurant was excellent. And everyone involved learned that there are alternatives to ignoring someone’s concerns.
Good boundaries sure make life simpler. For everyone.