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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > August 2019 > Boundary dispute

Boundary dispute

When Trudy Garrett exploded with irritation at a selfish houseguest, she realised it was time to ‘satnav’ through the push and pull of her emotional boundaries

Silently cursing the table I was struggling to extend, I laid places for the soon-to-arrive eight people for dinner. I manoeuvred a large vegetarian lasagne into the oven, chopped salad, made a chocolate mousse, helped my eldest child with her homework and got my youngest to bed. My husband was away but I had no time to return his phone call and my head was pounding.

Kate,* an old friend and our houseguest (again), emerged from a long soak in the bath, not to offer help, although dinner had been her idea, but to say, ‘I don’t feel like dinner. I want to cancel.’

A tsunami of pent-up feeling looded out. I shouted at her that I’d spent hours getting ready for it, I was not a restaurant manager and my home was not a hotel! She told me I was being ridiculous. Summoning my courage, I asked Kate if she would leave the following day. I said I would be in touch soon but I needed space.

She didn’t say a word but, to my relief, she left in the morning. I never wanted another evening like it – it was time for me to satnav my emotional boundaries.

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