Are You Filling A Space You’re Not Meant To?

The most recent episode of Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch titled Healing Emotional Scars with Ciara is a good watch for anyone with a blended family, in a committed relationship, or is looking for inner personal growth…so, basically everyone?

Around the eleven minute mark, Jada and Ciara get into a discussion about navigating life with bonus children and parents.

“I have a bonus son from Will’s first marriage, who I adore, but in the beginning, it was challenging because Trey already had a mother, and I had to learn how to have that motherly compassion without trying to fill that space because it was already taken,” said Jada.

Filling spaces that are already taken, hot damn, let’s say it to ourselves again because I think this idea is universal!

This sparked two thoughts/questions:

  1. Where is the line between motherly compassion and overstepping boundaries?
  2. Where am I guilty of trying to fill a space that’s already taken?

Where is the line between motherly compassion and overstepping? Everyone’s line placement is subjective due to life experiences, but I do think it’s fair to say if someone has communicated where their line is and you keep pushing, that’s when it’s a problem.

The key is to have enough self-awareness to recognize when you’re feeling pushed and if/or when you’re doing the pushing (which ties into point two). People are telling you (verbally or with body language) how they want to be treated so if you choose to ignore by only doing what you want, that’s on you.

Where am I guilty of trying to fill spaces that aren’t meant to be filled by me? Oh, plenty, but I’ll only mention one, haha.

I struggle with feeling responsible for other people’s behaviors and/or actions when my worlds (friends, coworkers, family, etc.) collide.

It goes back to how I was raised and how the phrase ‘guilty by association’  was hammered into my head, that paired with emotionally immature parents who couldn’t control their moods was the perfect equation for me (the oldest) hoping if I could manage all the moods in the room a fight wouldn’t break out because when one did, it always ended up feeling like it was my fault.

So I tried to fill a space where I was in charge of everyone’s behaviors and actions to eliminate embarrassment on all sides, which made being in a room filled with people I knew impossible.

But FYI, people are responsible for their own actions, not you. Guilty by association is bullshit (I double checked with my therapist). This space is not mine to fill, and it’s one I’m happy to bow out of with my middle finger in the air, waving it goodbye.

Where are you trying to fill a space you’re not meant to fill?

Everything you have ever wanted, is sitting on the other side of fear. (19)

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