December 9, 2022
Therapist and author Nedra Glover Tawwab joins Jameela to talk all things boundaries! They discuss why boundaries are so important, what setting healthy boundaries looks like, how to have boundaries with family over the holidays, why you don’t have to explain your boundaries, and more. Plus, they answer listener questions on boundaries worth ending friendships over, not expecting others to change, and how to set boundaries with parents.
Check out Nedra’s book – Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide To Reclaiming Yourself – wherever books are sold.
Follow Nedra Glover Tawwab on Instagram and Twitter @nedratawwab
You can find transcripts for this episode on the Earwolf website.
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140 — Setting Boundaries with Nedra Glover Tawwab
Jameela Hello and welcome to another episode of I Weigh with Jameela Jamil, a podcast against shame. I hope you’re well. It’s a lot going on. It’s December. Truly one of the most triggering months of the year for such a multitude of reasons. It is a difficult month for people who struggle with self-image and eating disorders, and there’s a lot of partying going on that’s really difficult for introverts and people with social anxiety. The diet fucking industry is already getting ready for all of us, already early, earlier than usual, putting out the adverts about how we’re going to have to lose the weight from the foods that we haven’t even eaten yet on Christmas Day. We haven’t even been able to enjoy our fuckin dessert and our fuckin turkey and potatoes with our friends and family before they are already telling us about intermittent fasting and starving ourselves so we can be beach body ready by next summer, which is six months away. Also, that’s not a thing if you have a body at the beach, your beach fucking body ready. But we know this. Just be careful. Just be careful online. Know that these people are targeting you. It is the same old shit every year. If you are new to this, every single January everyone jumps on the new year, new you thing where they tell you really just new year. Hopefully thinner you. And as I’ve been popping up all over social media, we have a new rise of the super skinny coming back. I want to be very clear when I remind you where that comes from. That comes from the fact that not only is fashion cyclical and trends get recycled again and again and again every ten years, especially for women, they choose not only to tell us what to wear, but also what body type to have when we wear the newest temporary fad of bullshit clothing. So currently post pandemic, it just so happens that after all the factories had to shut down during COVID and fabric is much harder to come by for designers, and fabric is much more expensive than it was before. It just so happens, I’m sure, purely coincidentally, that the fashion is to charge the same, but for skirts and jumpers and jeans that are much less material, forcing us to be more exposed, forcing us according to them, to have to be thinner, and for us to take up less space because their clothes take up less space on our bodies because they don’t have the money for the fucking fabric. So because of that, they are happy to throw all of us down the fucking endless pipeline of hell that is an eating disorder. Right. I’ve said this many times in this podcast that only 30% of people with anorexia ever recover. It’s such a fucking dangerous game to play with people’s minds and they’re doing it for a nonsense fucking fashion trend. They think our bodies are still trends in 2023 almost. They still think our bodies are trends. They still think that we are so fucking gullible that they can say Heroin chic is back and we’ll believe them. Heroin chis ain’t back unless we all say it is and we’re not going to, are we? Because we’re not going to be starved into submission, because we know that when we’re hungry, we can’t fight for our rights, we can’t fight for our fucking freedom. We can’t fight for equality. All the things we need. We don’t have the the fire in us. If we’re starving, if we’re taking pills and these fucking injections that people are now selling on their fucking podcasts and fucking fuck those people. And I’m so sorry if you were listening to this. If you hear about people selling diabetic medication for weight loss, please, please unfollow them. Unfollow them, turn off their podcast, unsubscribe. Get away from any magazines that are pushing this shit are safe. It’s not safe. It might be just about safe in the short term, but even then, all my friends who’ve tried it. Nausea, vomiting, hardening of the stomach, constipation, pancreas problems, spleen problems. And if you are thinking about weight loss, metabolic destruction, these things work by just making you so unwell that you don’t feel hungry. Therefore you don’t eat. No miracle weight there’s no such thing as a miracle weight loss product. They just make the starvation less painful for you. Now, almost inevitably, even if you do have an issue with insulin, the shit is really fucking hard on your system. But if you don’t then it starts to play with your blood sugar. And so inevitably most people have to come off these injections because it’s too much for their bodies to take when that happens, all that weight that they’d lost, that they took all the fucking risks for comes back on immediately and then some. And then you have a destroyed metabolism, which then means that you have to go on to take more diet products, maybe even more of that injection even though it makes you sick. This is how they get you. They they destroy your body so that then you rely on them to maintain a certain weight. It’s all a fucking scam. It is a misogynist, bullshit, fat phobic scam. I’m begging you to look out for this shit because it’s everywhere. And I also urge you that even if you don’t care about yourself. And that makes me really sad. But that’s why I make this podcast, so that we can start to care about ourselves. I urge you to also be aware of the fact that there is now a global shortage of this medication for actual diabetics who need it to save their lives. So if you are taking it and you don’t need it to save your life, then I urge you to reconsider because we’ve all spent three years chatting about why it’s important to wear masks for others, why it’s important to get vaccinated, or do lockdowns, etc. do very extreme things for others. Please don’t take away the life saving medication for diabetics for something like weight loss that you feel like you need to do at speed in a panic as a quick fix, because the fashion industry has changed its mind about what’s hot and what’s trendy. Sorry, I didn’t expect to have any of that, but as soon as I started, I can’t stop. It’s like it’s projectile hatred of the diet industry. Anyway. Moving on. I can’t even remember where I was. December. December is shit and hard. I think that’s where I was. One of the final ways in which December can be incredibly triggering for people is when it comes to family. Coworkers, but mostly family. It’s a really fucking hard time of year. And this time of year that brings up a lot of the shit that we have to swallow because blood is thicker than water. Now I’m someone who personally doesn’t subscribe to that. I’m extremely rebellious in that way, and I don’t allow anyone to cross my boundaries, regardless of how related I am to them, how much DNA we share. I’m extremely, extremely intense about boundaries. I have to be because I’ve struggled with my mental health for such a long time because I wasn’t before. So I thought the thing you might need most on this podcast this week is a boundary fucking expert and that’s why today’s guest is so fucking amazing. Her name is Nedra Glover Tawwab, and she has a therapist, a New York Times bestselling author and a relationship expert. She has practiced relationship therapy for 15 years and is the founder and owner of the group therapy practice, Kaleidoscope Counseling. And every day she helps people create healthy relationships by teaching them how to implement boundaries. Her philosophy is that basically a lack of boundaries and assertiveness underlies most relationship issues. And she’s so right. And her gift is helping people create healthy relationships with themselves and with other people. And the way she communicates is so clear that it makes I mean, I felt like the biggest bumblebee bumbling twat talking to her. I felt like I was just tripping over my own tongue compared to her. She’s so she’s such a like, straight shooter and a clear thinker. And she talks about very difficult things in a way that are so simple that you can’t believe you didn’t think that way all along. I found her incredibly liberating to talk to, and I reached out to you guys for questions that you had about boundaries, and you almost broke my fuckin Instagram with the amount that you sent in. So I do know that this is an episode you’ve been waiting for and looking forward to, and I hope that we have delivered. I think she has such a phenomenal voice and I love her dearly. She’s also just a staggeringly beautiful human inside and out, and I can’t wait to hear if this was helpful. I can’t wait to hear if this is something that you may be sent to someone else in your family who need to learn about boundaries. Either someone needs to learn about your boundaries or their own. But for now, I’m sorry about my ranting, but also I’m not sorry because I’m fucking angry and we should all be angry and we should all stop this together. And we will. But when it comes to boundaries, there is no greater voice than the excellent Nedra Glover Tawwab. Nedra Glover Tawwab, welcome to I Weigh. How are you?
Nedra I am well. Thank you so much.
Jameela So nice to see you. Also, you are startlingly beautiful in person. Your your face is lighting up my day.
Nedra Oh, thank you for that.
Jameela So how are you?
Nedra I am well. Despite waking up in the middle of the night with some thoughts and getting back to sleep. I am well.
Jameela Does that happen frequently?
Nedra No. I was just thinking about a work thing and I was pretty excited, you know, that kind of excitement you have when something big is coming up. So it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I embrace it because it is rare.
Jameela 100%. I mean, you’ve had quite a few years now with your work starting to reach so many people and instant bestseller books like your everywhere currently and I feel very lucky to be able to get to chat to you and I feel like now is a really important time to have the specific conversation, one around boundaries. And before we start, I wanted to ask you what it was that made you so specifically interested in boundaries?
Nedra Mmmm. I would say my upbringing, my family, people that I saw dealing with so many issues that were choices. And I don’t think they recognized them as relationship choices. So I became heavily focused on self-help, probably at an early age. Like when I was a teenager, I was reading like self-help books. Like what is it with us? Like trying to figure out why we do certain things. And it wasn’t until I went to grad school and in a class they suggested, if you’re going to be a therapist, you should go to therapy. And I said, Oh, maybe I should go to therapy. And I went and guess what came up? Boundaries. And, you know, it was just like, wow, why don’t we talk about this like this? It’s something that the world needs to know. And once I started becoming a practicing therapist, it was an issue that many people had with a variety of things. Sometimes we think of it as a trauma thing, like, you know, sexual abuse or, you know, childhood issues. But really it’s work burnout, it’s friendships, it’s romance. It’s in romantic relationships, social media, boundaries, issues are all around us in so many different ways.
Jameela And what would you define it’s a huge question, but what would you define boundaries are? What would you personally describe them as to someone who’s maybe new to this term or someone who’s been exposed to the fucking like out of control rise of sort of insta therapy, you know, sort of meme therapeutic terms where we have this kind of terminology broken down into very sort of like pithy.
Nedra iPad thesis?
Jameela One, like. Yeah, exactly. And so, you know, like the term, the rise of the terminology of gaslighting, etc.. And so I would love for you to explain what boundaries are to you.
Nedra For me, boundaries are a path for me to feel safe in my relationships. It is not just what I say yes to or no to. It’s also what I choose to do with my life. Like sometimes my boundary is not being in a relationship with a particular person or my boundary is not sharing more than I want someone to know about me. Or it could be going to bed early. It can be, you know, letting my friend know that, hey, I want to support you, but I can’t come to this thing. What’s another way for me to support you? It is so many things it’s all around me. I feel like each day we have the opportunity to choose how we want to show up in the world. And so often we allow the world to determine it for us. Like we can’t control everything, but there are some things that we can control that we do not control. Like, you know, I think of I mentioned sleep a little bit ago. It’s like, oh my gosh, I didn’t get enough sleep. What time did you go to bed? Like, isn’t that within your control? Like to go to bed, put your phone down and, you know, snuggle up and, you know, have that bedtime routine unless you have sleep issues. Like there are so many things that we’re just like, Oh, the world is pulling my strings. And I think about, you know, how can we impact change in our lives? And it’s is with boundaries.
Jameela Absolutely. And do you feel as though women, almost specifically women of an ethnic minority, do you feel as though we have the biggest struggle with boundaries because we’re taught from a young age that that’s not really for us?
Nedra Mm. I would flip that to say, if we are having boundary issues with men, do they have bigger boundary issues than us? You know, I think about that sometimes that having an unhealthy boundary is a boundary issue. We think about, you know, crimes against women. We think about not having reciprocity in households. Those are boundary issues for men and women. But I don’t know if it’s like women have these boundary issues as much as women for sure have an issue with communicating boundaries.
Jameela That’s all I meant. That’s what I meant. Is that the challenge upon us to have to say no, I feel like lies traditionally more in the hands of women of like, You can’t do that. Please stop doing that. I refuse this. Like the the journey of learning how to set boundaries and say no has seemed to be more and more exhausting for the women in my life than the men, because there are more boundaries of ours that are overstepped before we even have a chance to set them. And even when we do set them, they are still overstepped because consent is not something that is just sexually important. And so it’s just I guess I’m just kind of trying to figure out where maybe most of your boundary work lies. But I think it’s also very important that you are mentioning the fact that the onus should be also on those who are constantly overstepping and not respecting other people’s boundaries.
Nedra Absolutely. I would say that. More women talk about boundary issues for sure, because women are learning that we have a voice, we can use it. It is ladylike to speak up for yourself. It is ladylike to be assertive to ask for the raise to tell someone no. We’re having to recondition and reprogram ourselves around what being a feminist means, what what it means to be a woman in this world. Because for so many years it has been women are this way. And if you say this, then this and just now, are we able to say maybe that’s not true? There is a way for me to be in this space and have some autonomy, be assertive. And it’s not a competition of I want to be like them, but it’s like, I want to feel safe, I want to be comfortable. And to do that, there are some conversations that I will have to have.
Jameela Yeah, I remember the first thing that my therapist ever said to me is like her first bit of feedback after I told her, you know, all of everything that was happening to me in my life that was making me unhappy. And she said, Well, darling, a doormat is already lying down before people wipe their feet all over it. And I was like, Jesus fucking Christ, that was a shot right to the heart. But it as blunt as it was, it turned out to be the advice that would go on to change the rest of my life, because I realized that there was a part of me that was just expecting people to intuitively understand where my barriers and my boundaries and my limitations were. You know, I expected others to always just treat me as I treated them. And that just not always the human condition. You know, I’m very careful around other people and I’m very, very empathetic and I’m very preemptive to their needs. And I have expected partners and friends and colleagues to be the same. And sometimes you just have to lay down the fucking law. And I was able to do that. I practiced like she and I devised a year of no like a year of saying no to anything I wanted to say. Even if you want to cancel last minute, you know, you were talking about the fact that with these boundaries that we sat can exist in every single like minor area of our lives. I think it’s also important to say that just because you set a boundary one day that doesn’t have to become your boundary forever, shit changes our mood, changes our health, changes. That boundary is malleable. Your job is just to make sure that you communicate it clearly and as fairly as possible.
Nedra Yeah. And that we let people know when our boundaries have changed. That’s a wonderful point from year to year. I hope I’m not the exact same person. I hope I could think about myself last year at this time and be like oh know what my hair was different. I thought this way about this thing, this has shifted. So of course my boundaries will need to change with that. I’m not going to have the same boundaries forever. And if you do, that’s probably problematic too. Like if you’re like a hard no on this forever, it’s like, okay, so you’ll, you’ll never help your friend with anything ever? Then you’re not a nice friend.
Nedra You have to reeval- it’s on this particular day at this particular time that you said, no, it’s not a forever no to everything. It’s like I have to evaluate my life before I can issue the yes. And at this point in time it is a no. And perhaps for certain people it’s always a no. But you have the power to regulate what is working for you and what isn’t at a certain time.
Jameela I um, I set a bo- like I remember the first time I ever set a firm boundary with a friend that it was really wasn’t that long ago. I was like maybe seven or eight years ago where I finally let go of my fear of abandonment because I think that is part of why, you know, you talk about this in your book like there is a fear of abandonment or being shunned in any way, to paraphrase, because you have set that boundary like a fear of rejection. And so I had that and I decided to risk it for a chocolate biscuit and just tell the truth and be integral to myself. And I said she was she was like an hour late at first and then it became 2 hours late and then it became 3 hours late and was like I’m just having this catastrophic day and four or 5 hours late, I was like, Jesus Christ, like you didn’t assume that I would have other plans. Like it was just okay. And she’d gotten away with that her whole life because she’s funny and charming. And so people just, you know, kind of after a while, sometimes we just go, Oh, that’s this person, you know? You know what they’re like. They’re always like, you know, you always have to tell them the airport, like the flight time 5 hours earlier than it actually is. And I just thought, Oh, I don’t want to carry on a friendship like this. So I said to her, I was like, You do not have to be an on time person, but or someone who lets people know in advance when you’re going to be incredibly late. But I can’t be friends with someone like that, so I’m going to invite you to change your behavior towards me and offer me the respect of a heads up about your tardiness and give me the opportunity to make my own other plans rather than waste my whole day. But the only way we can continue our friendship is if you do that. So I’m not forcing you to change. I’m just telling you that this is my boundary. And if you can meet me at it, then we can be friends. And I went great. It went great. And we’re still friends now and we’re really close. And she’s never been more than 15 minutes late since.
Nedra Oh, wow, I have a really late friend and we mostly do like group activities together with other people. And often we forget that she’s even coming. It’s like when she comes it’s a surprise. Oh yeah, this is like we’ve already started. We’ve gotten to. To do the thing.
Jameela You’re already on dessert.
Nedra Yeah, it’s like oh, okay. Well, have a seat. Yeah, you can’t plan anything in particular because it’s like, okay, we can’t do anything one on one. So let’s do something like in this group setting and you can, you know, you can live in your time zone.
Jameela Yeah, I think that’s easier in a group, but when it’s one on one that’s fucking fucked up and I, I and I struggle with a change in schedule, I struggle with surprises, I struggle with anything new and sudden. So I need to know exactly what is happening or what my day looks like. It’s I guess it’s just how my brain is wired. And so it really fucking stresses me out when things change. And therefore I just have to be open with people and nobody has to be my friend. And that’s the important thing is that I make that decision up like it’s always okay to walk away. What you can’t do is try and force people to change. It’s inappropriate.
Nedra Yeah, that’s one of our biggest hangups as humans is we feel like, Oh my gosh, this person has a problem and they need to change it for me to be in a relationship with them and it’s like they really don’t have to. If you don’t like the behavior, there are other relationships. You can even have this relationship and maybe not see them as frequently. Or you may need to end it, but you can’t make them an on time person like you say. You can present the issue, offer the opportunity for them to meet you where you are, and if they don’t want to, then it’s like, you know, you’re a wonderful person and I’ll say happy birthday to you on Facebook.
Jameela I feel like in over the course of the pandemic, more people were kind of forced to learn their boundaries. Do you know what I mean? We had a we had a break from the people who overstep our boundaries, and that was really nice. And some people didn’t. Some people obviously were so sad that they couldn’t go home for the holidays. Some people were already fucking grateful and then questioning themselves, Why am I so grateful to not go home and see my family? Like what are the issues I have with my family? People went through loads of break ups. People had more of a sense of like, fuck, time could be running out, you know, life is precious, so I’m going to stop doing what I actually want. And we have the great giant quitting in America and all over the world where people were just like, Fuck this if I can’t afford the rent here and I have to work a crazy job to be able to afford this rent, then I’m going to move somewhere out into the sort of countryside that’s much cheaper and get a lesser paid but better quality of life job. Like that we have seen a huge shift in the United States and the world. And and I wonder if you’ve seen that reflected in your practice that there has been a big, big overhaul on wake up around the concept of boundaries.
Nedra Yeah, for sure. In a pandemic. At that first holiday season, I saw a lot of people feeling the relief of oh can’t come home. There’s Covid. Oh, so sad. You know, like, oh, I’m so sad. I can’t see all the people I don’t want to see. But you know that that second year, it was a little tougher because it’s like, oh, my gosh, I have to go back. And I had a conversation with a few of my clients. I actually you don’t. It’s like now that you have that information of, Well, I really don’t like to do this thing on the holidays, you can continue to not do it. Going back is a choice and maybe you do go back, but it looks different right? It’s it’s with a conversation before the holiday around certain things around you know the people that show up like those sort of things but yeah it certainly came up because life became more precious. We saw people dying, whether in the news or in our own personal lives, and we’re like, Oh my gosh, there are certain relationships that matter to me and there are certain relationships that don’t. For me in the pandemic. I notice I have less time because I’m doing everything from home, working out, working, everything at home, homeschool, all of the things. So I don’t have time for relationships that aren’t important. All of the associateships that I had and the acquaintances, it kind of fell really to the wayside because my time was more limited and I wanted to spend it focused on those relationships that really matter to me. So hopefully one of the things that we walked away from was there are relationships where we can really go deep and those require our focus.
Jameela Okay, so you’ve dropped a big old bomb there, right? Of maybe you don’t have to go home. Can we delve a little bit further into that? I’m someone who cut off the vast, vast, vast majority of my family fucking hell, ten year ago now. And that was because I tried it with boundaries. Tried it with boundaries. The boundaries were repeatedly not met. And so then after a year of trying to set those boundaries, I was like, Well, fuck this then, because YOLO and I, I said goodbye to a lot of people and I haven’t yet looked back. I don’t know how long that will last, but I’m personally happier for it. But not everyone’s like that, and not everyone needs to cut off family members. For some people it’s necessary. For others it isn’t. But I think some people are like they don’t know how to set that middle ground boundary. So when you say something like, well, maybe you just don’t go back home, how does one master that? Because I know I have so many friends who would like to know the answer to that question, because that could be that’s like throwing a nuclear bomb sometimes on a situation, if you say no to that.
Nedra You know, the beautiful thing about adulthood is you get to create it. I think childhood is all about living in someone else’s existence. And there is this freedom that happens when you become an adult and you can legally make your own decisions, and then you just become this autonomous person. And our relationships, we have to remember that we’re an adult. You know, with your parents, with your siblings, with your extended family, you’re an adult. What does that mean? You get to make the decisions for your life now in your relationships, on your holidays, who you want to talk to, who you want to hug or not hug like. All of that is up to you for the rest of your life. That will create some really uncomfortable conversations when your family’s not on board with that. Because, you know, some parents is once a child, always a child, like I have to forever tell you what to do because you’re my child. But parents, they can respect other adults. They work with other adults. They’re not treating them like children. They engage with other adults. So they can have those relationships with adults that are respectful. They’re just not doing it with you. Sometimes that is, you know, because we have advocated for that. We’re still reverting back to, okay, I’ll come because you don’t want to have that difficult conversation. So you did a very brave thing and started the conversations and then you were able to see, Oh wait, they won’t respect the boundary. Many of us, we aren’t having the conversation, we are being passive aggressive or we’re being passive or, you know, we’re just not doing anything. And so in those instances, our families don’t even know that we don’t want to come home. They don’t even know that we don’t like to do certain things or we don’t like certain things said to us because we’re suffering, not in silence. We’re telling our friends, we’re telling our therapist, we’re telling all of these people, except for the people who really need that information to change the relationship.
Jameela So then talk me through. Would you would you make an excuse and lie about
Jameela why you can’t come back? Okay. I didn’t I thought you were going to say that. That was a real hard, fast no. So then alternatively, you know, I think there’s a lot about my friends, although I know it’s also a very difficult conversation to have. I’ve got a few friends who got like body shamed when they go home. By aunts, by uncles and by their own mother and father. And they dread going back and they even like stop eating properly for the few weeks before the holidays. And that is it makes me feel really, really sad and depressed. With those people. Did you call and say, I don’t want to come and this is why? And then what happens when they say, okay, well, then we will address those things and make sure that those things don’t happen. That’s the best case scenario. Sometimes you might get gaslit or told just to like, you know, take a joke or lighten up or respect your elders. But sometimes someone might say, okay, well, we’ll make sure that Auntie this doesn’t fat shame you or this person doesn’t comment on the fact that you don’t have children yet. We will be respectful of you. Sometimes a part of your body might still just be like uncomfortable with going. What do you do in that scenario? Sorry to add like 45 nuances in that but.
Nedra No, no. I think it takes practice to get to the point of being able to explain yourself when you’re saying something really hard. The first step might just be saying, I’m not coming home. Without the explanation. If you feel comfortable giving an explanation, it could be another sentence like I don’t think it’s good for my mental health. If you feel like you can say those two things, maybe you can add another layer and say, When I’m around family, there’s a lot of body shaming and it causes me to have issues, not just when I’m visiting, but also before even thinking about the visit. So I think there’s a few different ways to approach it. One, not coming home. That’s one option. Two, you can say it’s not good for me. That’s the whole explanation. Three. Add to it. Sometimes, especially if you’re in a family where they’re disputing your reason. Oh, no, that’s not a reason. You need to toughen up. That person is just joking, they won’t, you know, all of that sort of stuff. Giving them too much of an explanation isn’t always helpful because what they will try to do is talk you out of what you’re thinking and you’re already not in a great place to have to have this conversation. So we don’t want to cause further harm by talking to someone who’s going to say a ton of harmful things. So saying to that person, say, hey, here’s my reasoning. And they they can’t really process that. It might be just, you know, the best thing for you to say, I’m not coming home. You know, sometimes when I talk to my own family, it’s very short, like, you know, hey, can your kids stay here? It’s like, no. Okay. I don’t have that. I don’t want to go through everything in your life that that would make me say no, because then, you know, it’s like, well, changes and changes and change. But we don’t have to do that. It’s just a no. I don’t want you to say like, well, I’ll do this, it’s still no. I mean, I probably have a lot of reasons for my nos. I don’t want to hyper focus on this one thing or these three things. There are several reasons that I’ve come to the conclusion of this will not work for me.
Jameela Yeah, it’s funny you say that. And also I detect a lot of nonviolent line like communication and the way that you worded your original your original kind of three points of like, I don’t want to it’s going to be bad for me and this is what I experience and it impacts me this way before and afterwards. Right now, that is the kind of like that is the foundation of of nonviolent communication. If you’re not going, you do this, you do that, you’re going to do this. It’s like because then you’re kind of pointing at someone else and then there’s a possibility that it can, like raise their defenses. If you make it all from your personal experience, you kind of like force someone or at least like heavily invite them to empathize with you because they’re looking at it from your lens, from your perspective. So you go through this and something that’s happening in my house is making you experience this. It’s more likely to create an actual conversation rather than a fight. Do you agree? It’s so important in the way that you word it, and I learned that like at first I was very like finger pointing. And now I’ve learned to be more like more careful to explain exactly how it is they’re making me feel so they can clearly work from somewhere.
Nedra Well I think the biggest thing about it is when we say you, we’re giving them back the power to say that they’re going to do something. Well, I didn’t do that. Well, it meant this and it’s like, Okay, so now I’m out of my mind. Right. So for eight years, this has happened, and now you’re telling me it’s inaccurate? You know, I think we put ourselves in these situations where it’s like this is now causing further harm. You went into this situation with, oh, my God, my family’s always asking me about dating and getting married. Now your family has taken you to you don’t know what you’re talking about. It is like, whoa, now you have more issues. But we really have to think about the people that we’re talking to. So any communication style, you know, any communication method, it works best based on the person. You know, there are there are some people who can communicate well via text. There are others never. So it is really hard to say, you know, for all family, it’s like, think about your family, you know your mom, you know your sisters and brothers. What will they say if you say this, well, this is how you need to deliver it.
Jameela I love that. Keep it clean. Keep it simple and keep it integral to you. I’m I’m quite big on. I have a very selfish boundary, though I almost feel ashamed to admit to. I feel like I’m just going to say it for anyone else out there who might have an equally selfish boundary knows. Maybe not they’re doing the right thing, but they’re not alone. But I don’t ever want to be a godmother, ever. I also don’t want to be a bridesmaid or a maid of honor. I don’t want anything to do with any of these things. I it’s not my vibe. It’s not of my interest. I It feels like, uh, emotional labor that is too torturous for me personally. I don’t like big parties, I don’t like big groups. I don’t like planning. I’m not very good with children, and I don’t want the impending, like, terrifying responsibility of all of that as someone who’s chosen not to have children themselves. And so I’ve said blanket no to everyone on all of those accounts and instead say that I will make vast contributions in other ways. You know, like, for example, I’ll take care of my friend who’s the mum, who’s had the baby, and I’ll buy her nice things and take her away. And, like give her treats and buy her massages, but I can’t take this responsibility on. Am I a fucking monster Nedra?
Nedra Absolutely not. I also have not been a bridesmaid or a maid of honor. So you are in good company with this one. In college I had a friend, a childhood friend, ask me to be her in her wedding. And I was like. I can’t, but I will. I was there. You know, I bought her a gift with my little college money. You know, I did what I could at the time. But like you mentioned, I didn’t want that responsibility at the time. I could not handle it. And the really interesting thing is most of my friends who are married, they got married in very unconventional ways. So it always worked out. They’re like going to the courthouse. We just eloped or whatever it is, it’s like, oh, great, this is like, wow, like, You guys make it so easy. We were so equally [inaudible], how did we do this? So, you know, I think your boundaries are your boundaries. And it’s okay to say I don’t want to be a godparent. I don’t want to be in a wedding. I want to support you in whatever ways possible. I think we have those things about ourselves. I often tell people I don’t like company, like don’t drop by my house and try to watch like House of Dragons with me or I want to watch it by myself. You know, it’s not. Or the people in my house. I’m not like, Hey, who’s going to watch TV with me? It’s like, it’s a TV, it’s an individual, you know? So I say this to people and people are like, Oh my gosh. Like, you don’t like company? It’s like, if I’m having a gathering, but I don’t want you to just come over and chill. Not really. That’s just my thing, though. We all have those things, so it doesn’t make us mean people. It just makes us people. And I think it’s very genuine of us to express that. And disingenuous when we’re the bridesmaid and we’re complaining the whole time or we’re the godparent and we’re not taking care of our duties, or we have these people at our house and we’re angry the whole visit because we don’t want them there. Isn’t it really self honoring to say there are other ways that I want to show up in this relationship with you and this is perhaps not one of the ways.
Jameela Yeah, yeah, I paid for my friend to have a night nurse instead. I was like I’ll never be a godmother, but I will make sure you sleep when you need it the most. Okay. So I have like so many fucking questions from the audience that I need you to come back about 14 times. Is that cool? Or are you going to set your boundaries?
Nedra And we’ll see. We’ll see.
Nedra Some of these may overlap.
Jameela Absolutely. But it almost like broke our Instagram. So this is clearly just the hottest topic of all time. Okay. So one of the ones that stood out to me first and foremost was if you’re still financially dependent on toxic people, how can you still set boundaries?
Nedra The biggest boundary here is going to be a self boundary. We can gain our freedom when we gain our autonomy. And so if you are dependent on toxic people, the best thing is to move towards independence because you cannot gain your freedom where you’re being controlled. How much power can you have if you have to go to this person and say, Can I, will you? There has to be some autonomy. So, you know, unfortunately, sometimes that is in relationships where women are disempowered or where maybe a man is disempowered financially. It is in family relationships when children are still dependent on their parents to help with college or these different things, to really have that freedom, you have to gain autonomy. So your goals will be towards your self and really figuring out some ways to increase your income and become more stable.
Jameela Yeah, this person’s kind of more looking to treat the symptom, whereas your encouraging to go after the cause. And I think that’s really, really vital. Someone else has written as a people pleaser, how do I figure out my boundaries? I’m not used to thinking about me.
Nedra I would challenge that. I think human beings are probably geared towards people pleasing and it’s not a bad thing. We should be conscious of other people and the world. You do think about yourself. You just neglect yourself. So it’s not that, oh my gosh, I don’t know what I want. You just bypass it because you’re thinking about what this other person wants. So I would say take some time with yourself to say, what do I actually want in this situation? You know, it’s like when people are ordering and everybody’s like, What do you want? What do you want? I don’t know what I want. What don’t you want? Are you tired of tacos? Are you tired of, you know, really go through that checklist of, okay, so this is what I likely want in this situation. Instead of allowing people to decide first, I think that person is not that they don’t know their needs. They need to tune in to when their need is coming up.
Jameela Okay. And then what’s the next step after after noticing those needs and finding those needs? Is it just slowly
Jameela Communicating them and then also, I guess like taking small steps to, you know, like I found just in case that sounds daunting for someone, you know, who’s gone from zero, you know, to this in my year of No, I found small incremental steps very helpful. So I didn’t just, like, immediately step into my, like peak R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Like, which I would have loved to in the fantasy I would have. But it started off with a, like at the coffee shop if my order came out wrong. The old me, especially because I’m British, would have just been like, Oh, well, best not to, best not to, you know, say anything if you want to be trouble or a difficult and they might piss in your next coffee. But I instead took the piss risk and would say, I’m so sorry, but this isn’t actually what I ordered. Can I can I please have the thing that I actually paid for? And that felt I know that probably sounds a bit pathetic to someone as empowered and experienced yourself, but for me that was like a huge victory. And then I elevated it from there, just like little things where I felt like someone had handed me something that wasn’t correct and it was my opportunity to reject something if it didn’t meet my needs. And that slowly became someone kissed me in a way that I didn’t like. And rather than be like, Oh, I don’t want to embarrass them or hurt their feelings as I’m not enjoying their kiss and I bet they would want me to enjoy the kiss. Can I tell you how I prefer to be kissed? Maybe we can find a middle ground. Like. Just like steps like that. And it moves up to sex and it moves up to jobs. Then it moves up to. It became almost addictive. And I then suddenly can’t hold in any of my feelings about my boundaries. But it’s okay to take kind of like little micro menial steps. Would you agree?
Nedra Absolutely. Start small, start where you are. Start where you feel comfortable. I think when you think about. It is this big thing we have to do, and it is those small things like, you know, correcting someone when your order is messed up or saying to someone who, you know, you can set a boundary with, like, I actually don’t want to do that, like doing it until you feel more confident doing it more often. It certainly takes practice and I’m still learning new areas where I need boundaries because I haven’t experienced everything in the world and things come up and I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’ve overcommitted. I didn’t think this would be too much, but okay, so now let me set this new boundary. So it’s like this ongoing process of practice. It’s not like you get to this point like it’s a video game and it’s like all boundaries achieve. We won, we’re taking over Lego land. It’s like, no, it’s like there is something else after this. I don’t know what that thing is, but there may be this new thing that happens where I need to practice this new skill. I will have to notice my discomfort like, oh, I’m starting to feel anxious. I’m starting to feel my stomach is hurting even thinking about going in is saying, you know, like all of these sort of things is my own. You know what I like being around 10,000 people. I didn’t know that about myself last week. I’m just discovering that. So there are things in life where we’re continuously learning what our boundaries are.
Jameela Yeah, yeah. I never speak in crowds because I’m terrified of crowds, so I don’t tend to go to those. And people make me feel bad because I’m an advocate and I’m just like, I just can’t do it. You’re not going to get the best out of me. You’re going to get a fucking very mentally unstable version of me if that happens, if we push me out my comfort zone. I was thinking just then that Maisie Hill set one of the best boundaries I’ve heard. I mean, she literally set it with me and she sets it with everyone else, but but I found it very inspiring. She is an expert on periods. She’s written a lot about women’s periods or people’s periods rather. And she she talks about the fact that she knows now from her cycle exactly when she’s at her most productive, when she’s her least productive, when she’s just about to get her period. And she knows she’s going to have like a hellish few days. So she plans her schedule around her cycle. And she just there are certain days where she knows her brain is going to be absolutely fucked because she’s been charting her period for like a year and she’s like, Nope, it’s going to be too hard for me to work on those days. And so you’ll try and get availability with her. And she’s really busy and she has those days available and she’s still just like, No, I’m sorry, that’s a bad time in my menstrual cycle. And the reason why that’s so extra revolutionary to me is because there’s a lot of shame around periods, right? Especially for women. We’re told that that’s why, you know, for a long time it was like why we shouldn’t be hired, because our periods mean that we can’t work as hard as men or we need a few days where we’re less able. We have shame around by the fact that we get called crazy because of our hormonal shift during our period. So to even admit that, actually my period is holding me back and that’s okay. And that doesn’t make me weak or bad. That’s just how it is that changed my life. And now I started to do the same. But just I was just bringing up an example that I thought you might like that I think everyone could find helpful of, like, don’t find shame in your like don’t feel shame about your needs because acknowledging them is going to help you be your absolute best. When you are at peak vitality.
Nedra I love that as a person who notices like, Oh, my mood is off. What’s today? Oh my gosh, I just ovulated. Like I noticed that dip in. Like my desire to be around people is like if one more person does anything else, I’m like escaping to another planet.
Jameela I just stuck a bed in our home office because I’m like, Great, this is going to be my evil cave during my period. And I have like four hot water bottles in here. I have a mini fridge, I’ve just ordered a microwave. It’s like I am planning to like hot like apocalypse hole up here for three days every single month because I just like, I live with a lot of guys, roommates and a boyfriend and dogs and I’m just like, No, everyone has to fuck off, otherwise I’m going to go to jail for murder. And that’s not fair on me.
Nedra Right, right.
Jameela So yeah.
Nedra Because you know better, you know your cycles, you’re like, you know, I can plan around this. Yeah, that is one of the most amazing things I’ve heard in a while, to be able to conduct your life based on your mood. And it’s so interesting because some people would say, well, there is a medication for it, or there’s this, and it’s like, no, there’s a honoring what the cycle is. That’s it. That is what I will do. That is the boundary that I will honor this moment in time by not going to work or doing these social things when I know I am not at my best. Well, that’s amazing.
Jameela Yeah, you should book is called Period Power. You might you might enjoy it. It came out a few years before your also excellent book, lots of books for everyone to go and read today. Okay. So someone said, When do boundaries become selfish in a toxic way?
Nedra Boundaries I don’t think become selfish in a toxic way. I think controlling others can become selfish and toxic, and that’s sometimes what we label as boundaries. So if you were to say to your friends, you know, don’t ever ask me to be in your wedding, and then you get really upset when they do it, it’s like they can ask you is, is your job to say, Hey, like, I love you deeply. There are so many ways I want to support you. This is you know, this is not something that I want to do. But, you know, let me know how else I can help. So I think when you try to control another person’s options, when you try to get them to change, you know, for you, for the relationship, that is when it becomes a little bit selfish. But I wouldn’t necessarily consider that a boundary because that’s really controlling someone else’s behavior. I think about that sometimes with substance misuse, like when people are using substances and we’re like, they need to stop using drugs. It’s like, you know, maybe it’s not good for them, it’s not great for their health. But we also can make them you know, you can take their drugs. You can not give them money. If people want to do it, they’ll find a way, right? So we can’t make people do things. We can only control our part in that interaction, which is I will not watch it. I will not give you any, you know, money to do it. But I can’t make you not doing it. Do it. Maybe not having a relationship with me will be enough to motivate you, but I cannot make you do anything. When we start trying to control people, we are now being selfish and I wouldn’t even call that a boundary. I would say that that is controlling when we are trying to take over what they can do in their lives.
Jameela Right. But there is a there’s a gray area there. Right. There’s like a thin line, because I think you should be allowed to, like, help someone you love. Like if it’s your child or your best friend or your lover and you live with them and you can see that they’re in a loop of self-harm, I think it’s also important to make sure that no one, you know, like people tend to not look for the nuance, right? And so I just want to make sure that we expand further into that of like you can still try to reach out to offer someone, to invite someone to make some changes and help them find resources. And you can explain to them why you feel like there’s a happier and better way for them to live a long and good life. It’s just about not trying to force them into something, not trying to emotionally blackmail them into that thing. You know, because I think it’s very hard for any parent who’s maybe listening, you know, who’s got like a kid with a substance abuse to be like, right. Well, then I’m going to remove myself from you. I totally understand and agree with your logic fundamentally. I’m just saying that like, where’s the middle ground there for when you know you could help someone. But you also don’t want to overstep the boundary of someone who’s in, like, rapid self-destruct.
Nedra Yeah, I would say always help, but don’t control. So help is I love you. And this is how I can show up because I love you. So even, you know, we mentioned that earlier with you and your friend and you getting the night nurse. I can’t do this, but I can do this. You can’t control your friend. But these are the ways that I want to help you. Whether a person has a celebration or they have a problematic behavior. This is how I can help you. So it’s not. I won’t help you. My boundary is not to help. No, that’s not a boundary. Helping is a part of what we do in relationships to be and relationships. Hopefully people don’t abandon us when we start to do difficult things that there is some level of support and care. I will say that even with that, there has to be this idea that I can’t control this person’s behavior. I can control how I help. That’s what you can control. You can’t control what they can do. You can only control which you can do. These are the ways I’m willing to show up and help you as your parent, as your friend, as your partner. This is how I could help. I can’t make you do anything. But I can do this.
Jameela Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. Thank you. Thank you very much for that. I want to circle back to the family boundary setting because we had so many questions. Specifically interestingly about weight and body image. So many people terrified of being body shamed by their family. I’d say the vast majority of questions were around that. Someone said, Do you have any tips on dealing with the fallout of setting boundaries with families still obsessed with diet culture? Because we got to the how you avoid being there. But what happens when they get mad at you? What do you how does someone cope with that? That’s not easy.
Nedra It’s not easy at all because you’re really watching a person deal with their stuff with no healing, you know, to watch someone self-destruct in a way that’s harmful for them to be in this mindset of, I must do this thing. It is it is hard to watch. And I think you are grieving two things. You are grieving not only this shift in the relationship, but you’re also watching this person that you love not be able to get well in certain ways. And for that, I would say I think therapy is a wonderful support for you to process things as they come up. I also think that a lot of the work will be you tuning in to how hard it is to change. I think sometimes we forget that when we get to the point of changing is like we quickly forget how hard it was for us to get here. It’s like I don’t even remember the process. It’s like you’re 40. It took you 35 years to get to this point. So this person is just now coming to understand your boundary. They don’t have, you know, maybe the tools or the capacity to deal with it in the same way that you have. So I would say first, compassion, second, making sure that you’re taking care of yourself in this process of grieving a relationship with someone who’s not ready to change or who can’t accept that you’re changing.
Jameela I also think it’s important to consider that it’s very unlikely when someone keeps commenting on your body that it’s coming just from a place of spite or just it’s either coming most often from a place of their own insecurity, either around you or themselves. Most often all our insecurity really starts with the self, right? So they’re so busy obsessing over what goes in their mouths and how they look and how other people perceive them, that they project that same shit onto you. And then from some people, it really does come from a place of they think that this is a form of love them then being concerned about you. That’s why we refer to it as concern trolling online right there that they they genuinely think that they’re helping you by pointing out to you something that you already fucking know about your body, whether you are underweight or, quote unquote, you know, overweight. They they aren’t they don’t know. We come from a different generation where, you know, this isn’t normalized for us the way it was normalized for them. So you are holding up a mirror to them in that moment in which they are having to see themselves and then maybe examine their own like trauma around body image. A lot of my friends who are being shamed by their mothers, in particular their mothers, have had eating disorders for a majority of their lives. So it’s just like so try to take a deep breath and have some patience, have some empathy and maybe say, I’m not coming back this year, but I think it would be great if you do some work on this to identify why you feel the need to do this to me. And then I’ll come back next year and I think we’ll have a better time. What do you think about that?
Nedra I think that’s great. That also was reminded, as you say that, we can set boundaries, but we cannot do other people’s healing work for them. There is no boundary that you can set with the person that’s going to save them from their healing. And it sounds like in that sort of generational dynamic, where the parent has body image issues and you’re trying to pass that along to their child, or they’ve been successful and the child recognizes, hey, this isn’t my stuff. You can’t do your parent’s healing. And I think sometimes when we’re setting those boundaries, that’s what we’re trying to do. Like, I’m doing the work, you got to go do the work too. And it’s like. You know, healing is personal.
Jameela Yeah, I know. Just a light suggestion of, like, go away. Deal with your own shit that you’re bleeding out on to me.
Nedra Yeah. Noticing. Just noticing a lot. Like that really sounds like your stuff. That’s that my stuff. I think that’s a powerful statement. That’s not my stuff. I don’t have an issue with my body. I’ve said that to people. I don’t have an issue with my stomach. I don’t have an issue with my butt.
Nedra It’s interesting that you would say that, you know, like those sort of things really, really do move the needle in terms of you can think it, but you can’t say it. You know, it’s just like we teach kids like you cannot say everything you think. Many adults need to still practice that.
Jameela Yeah, I have a big one, which is how to stick to boundaries with a parent when that means your kids lose out on seeing their grandparents.
Nedra Mhm. Mhm.
Jameela So glad you’re here.
Nedra There is a lot of guilt for that for sure, because you probably see your friends with their children going to grandparents and that is a very uncomfortable boundary to set. But I would venture to say when someone gets to a point of setting, it is probably a very important safety precaution, not just. Oh my gosh, they let them eat sugar. There could be some abuse. There could be a lot of things that you experience that you don’t want your children to experience and sending your kids around unchanged hurtful abuse of family members is not a good thing. It really perpetuates a lot of family issues. And so I think that person is very brave to say, I’m not going to ignore this. This is something that’s big enough that it needs to be addressed. And again, it’s not saying to this other person, hey, you got to go do your work. And it’s like, Hey, I see where you are. And this is a choice that I have to make because nothing has changed with you. And my role as a parent is to protect my children. And that is why, you know, this parent is making that decision. I think it’s a very tough one. And I think at some point, you know, it would be appropriate to talk to your kids about, you know, when your kids get older, if they have questions, sometimes, you know, kids move on in life. They don’t even have questions. Maybe you tell them when they’re, you know, teenagers or an adult. But, you know, just because someone wants to have a relationship with your children doesn’t mean that they should have a relationship with your children. Your primary role as a parent is to provide safety and support. And setting a hard boundary like that, I would say, is probably both.
Jameela Yeah. And it’s there’s like a sub layer of like tricky new ones there in that I found a lot of my friends who are having kids are shocked that their parents are treating the grandchild so much better than they treated them and have learned so much now and are much more careful and they’ve learned a bit more about mental health. And so there’s this like burning resentment in them that it’s like, where the fuck was this? Where was this patience? Where was this empathy? Where was this care, you know, that the parents just didn’t have they’re older. Their lives are slower and less stressful now than they were maybe when you were younger and they may be in a better headspace. And, you know, I heard someone say and maybe someone needs to verify this, that some of the first cells that die in your brain when you get old are the ones that kind of contain the anxiety. And so maybe they’re coming from a place of less of their own mental imbalance when they’re now dealing with your baby. And so that’s fucking hard to believe will happen or it’s fucking hard to swallow for some people, you know that they’re seeing their parent be the parent that they always wanted, but it’s to their child. Hugely painful.
Nedra That is hard to swallow. And I think also what the question asker mentioned, the idea that the parent is not doing better or treating the child better is also, you know, pretty challenging. I think, you know, when you have kids, there will be these moments where you sort of process your childhood, you process your stuff and you may have to re-envision what that relationship looks like with your parents because it’s not just you anymore, it’s also your kids. And there’s a lot to think about and unpack. And for those folks who feel resentful, you know, maybe there’s an opportunity for a conversation to just notice aloud what you see. You know, I can’t help but feel some sort of way when I see you with my kids, and I see you much more and you listen and you play. I love to see it, but it also hurts me.
Jameela Right. Just communicating at the end of the day. Well, then, look, finally, a big question that we’ve kind of touched on already, but I think it would be a nice way to just like round it off is when it comes to conflict or walking away, you know a conflict, as in confronting the issue, talking about the issue or just walking away altogether. I know that you’ve expressed this a lot throughout all of your work, but let’s just kind of break it down in a way you know, it’s like end of the year, new year, fresh start. It might be good for people to have this advice, like, when do you know when it’s time to not bother with the conflict? Because it takes a lot from years, a lot of emotional labor, a lot of stress sometimes for you to have to even confront that person. When do you make that decision that this is just isn’t worth it?
Nedra I think when you no longer want a relationship. You don’t have to do the emotional labor. It makes sense to me when I want to stay in a relationship with someone where I have a difficult conversation and I’m like, okay, this is going to be hard. I want to say it. But when I don’t even want to be in a relationship anymore, oh, my gosh. Like, it doesn’t even matter. Like, there is no conversation. It doesn’t matter. I don’t even want to be in a relationship anymore. There’s nothing really to talk about.
Jameela So what’s interesting about that, right, is that we have this, like, huge cultural conversation in the last five years about ghosting. Right. I’m sure you’re very familiar with that. And people just kind of start to like drift away from other people. And that’s because they no longer wish to be in a relationship with those people. Now, some of my friends, I’m personally as anti-ghosting as I can be now that I’m older and I just feel like it makes people feel insane when you don’t tell them anything. Um, but at the same time, I have friends who would like to distance themselves from an aunt or a friend or a colleague, and they don’t really want to see them ever again or speak to them ever again. And they feel like they should still tell that person why and have the big hard conversation. And my personal opinion on that is like why? Because then you’re going to open it up and then like, you’re sure you don’t want to see them again. You are sick of them. Maybe you find them boring. Maybe they just don’t stimulate the person you’ve become now. They’re then going to take that as you are giving them homework potentially to go and do, and they can come back and have a try and improve on those things. And then you kind of feel like you have to honor that and honor their effort and then try again. Just leave it. Just leave it alone. If you aren’t interested in having a relationship with that person, fundamentally, regardless of what they’re going to do differently, then don’t bother. Like I. But then maybe that’s just shitty and selfish because that person doesn’t get the explanation.
Nedra You just made a wonderful statement that I think is not ghosting, it is a beautiful middle ground. I’m not interested in having a relationship with you anymore.
Nedra That’s the whole sentence. That is perhaps all we need to say it’s not a conversation now. Something. Why? Okay. You can say I don’t, you know, I recently earlier this year ended a relationship with a very similar search statement where I said, you know. This relationship is not good for me. I doubt if it is good for you. It seems like something we should be doing. But I am not interested in having this relationship anymore. My quality of relationships at this point, they are honest, they are mutual, they are loving and supportive. And this is not that. That’s what I see it. That’s my ending of the relationship.
Jameela Yeah. I mean.
Nedra I don’t want you to do anything. Yeah, I don’t want you to do anything because I don’t want to be in the relationship.
Jameela It’s funny, there’s a film that’s out at the moment called The Banshees of Inisherin. I don’t know if you’ve seen it or not with Colin Farrell, but it’s about this exact subject of a man who just one day after decades, says, I just don’t want to be your friend anymore. And it’s the chaos that ensues from that. I think it’s it’s well worth a watch and very funny and mostly about how men can’t communicate their feelings and boundaries. But sometimes.
Nedra I wonder why we think people have to be in a relationship with us.
Jameela It’s funny isn’t it? It is funny. Like there’s such a huge template for ending a relationship of 25 years when you have five children together, but there’s no template and I think that’s what the film is kind of exploring is like. It’s weirdly more traumatic for someone to say, I don’t want to be your friends because they’re not rejecting you on a genital isn’t the right word, but it’s the only word I have right now. I was like, They’re not saying I don’t want to have sex with you because I want to have sex with other people like I’m bored of the sex they were having. Like, or, I’m not romantically fulfilled anymore. Being rejected as a friend is such a like fundamentally personal thing where it’s like, I’m not stopping you from having other friends. In a relationship it’s slightly more constrictive, you know, if it’s not polyamory, where it’s like there aren’t really rules, you can go and have a hundred friends, so why cut me off? It feels like such a massacre of, I guess, self-esteem. I think. I don’t know. Like I cut friends off. You know, I do a kind of cull every four years because I keep changing so much. I said to a friend a few years ago that, listen, I think that we’ve become very different people to the point where if I met the person that you are now as the person that I am now, I wouldn’t ask you for your number at a party. And maybe that was very harsh, maybe too harsh, but at least it was very fucking clear and it didn’t really leave space for more questions. But just that I’m changed and so we don’t see each other anymore the way that we did, and I’m glad for the time that we had. But now it’s okay to move on. But you’re just not allowed to move on when it’s a friend.
Nedra You are allowed.
Jameela No I know.
Nedra And you’re the person giving yourself permission. I think the challenge is we’re going to this other person to release us. Can you release me from this relationship?
Nedra And it’s like they don’t have to release you because guess what? You’re not in prison. Just in a relationship. And when you don’t want to be a one anymore, you can say, hey, this is no longer working for me. You know, it’s it’s hard. You know, I think about all of these processes of quitting, like you say, like there’s a divorce. There’s like, you know, this process when you leave a job, like it is hard to think about what that process is when you leave a relationship. Many of us don’t have the tools. We’re like, Oh my gosh, this is going to be so uncomfortable. Do I just ghost this person like, you know, can you ghost your sibling? Can you ghost your mom? I mean, is it it does call for, you know, like you mentioned, like this series of trying to set boundaries and getting to this very clear point of, hey, everyone, I try and I’m not trying anymore. Good day. You know, not that not that clearly. But, you know, there are these different levels of what we try to do in relationships to make them healthy before we get to the point of ending relationships. And sometimes that stuff is not noticed. People think, Oh my gosh, they just stopped talking to me. Well, actually, I’ve set like 72 boundaries. You’ve listened to zero, so I wouldn’t necessarily call that this person ghosted me or just stop talking to me. You’re very clear about what the issues are because I’d mentioned them to you and you don’t want to do any of those things. You want me to ignore it. And so when that is a that is the situation of many of our relationships, even friendships. You mentioned this thing about, you know, hey, you’re always late. This person was like, oh, okay, not listening, right? So if you decide I’ve told this person what my issue is and they don’t want to listen. How do you end that relationship? Hey, you know, I don’t think we’re in the same space in terms of what we think a healthy relationship is. I no longer want to be in this relationship.
Jameela Man. Thank you so much. You’ve been so clear and so concise and so helpful. And I think one of the things that I always hope for most with these types of episodes, in particular of the podcast, is that we can hand over that my guests really can hand over like tangible, accessible advice for others so that they kind of are handed the template. And you have just given me a template upon template upon template. I thank you so much. I look forward to seeing you again, however that may be, and I wish you so much luck with continuing to spread this important work.
Nedra Thank you so much.
Jameela Thanks for coming. Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode. I Weigh with Jameela Jamil is produced and researched by myself, Jameela Jamil, Erin Finnegan and Kimmie Gregory. It is edited by Andrew Carson. And the beautiful music you are hearing now is made by my boyfriend James Blake. If you haven’t already, please rate review and subscribe to the show. It’s a great way to show your support. We also have a bonus series exclusively on Stitcher Premium called Ask Jameela Anything. Check it out. You can get a free month the Stitcher Premium by going to Stitcher.com/premium and using the promo code I Weigh. Lastly over at I Weigh, we would love to hear from you and share what you weigh at the end of this podcast. You can leave us a voicemail at one. 8186605543 or email us what you weigh at IWeighpodcast@gmail.com. And now. We would love to pass the mic to one of our fabulous listeners.
Listener Hey, Jameela, this is Kay calling in. I want to say that I weigh my recovery from a cocaine addiction. Then they’ll be ten years in November, which is exciting. I weigh that I’m an artist an activist and a cat mom. I weigh that my boyfriend and I have a healthy relationship and that he supports me. And I weigh my anxiety, which I’m feeling right now because I’m nervous to do this at all. But I’m so excited anyway. And I weigh my depression and finally getting help for both things. Be well.
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