Friday, April 19, 2013

Boundaries: Getting in Touch With Your Inner Bitch

Boundaries should be applied to every healthy relationship. But sometimes it takes an Inner Bitch (IB) to reinforce the healthy walls with concrete. Rather than worry if others like her, the Inner Bitch decides if she likes others. She is smart and confident, and not afraid to ask for what she wants and actually get it. In the pursuit of that, she is never destructive, stupid, mean or abusive to others or herself.

Feminism has permitted women to embrace the "bitch" idea in a more positive light. By accepting a positive connotation, you can feel comfortable standing up for yourself or getting angry when it's appropriate. A woman can be proud of being strong even if others are threatened by her strength. Many who are threatened are the ones who only feel strong by keeping those around them weak.

The Inner Bitch is the exact opposite of "Toxic Niceness," that self-defeating behavior that also goes by other more familiar names such as co-dependence and nurturing. Those women who have Toxic Niceness forgive easily and frequently at their own expense. Both the Inner Bitch and Toxic Niceness are discussed in detail in Elizabeth Hilts' Finding Your Inner Bitch. Hilts doesn't suggest that we stop being nice to each other, just that we stop doing it at our own expense. This requires strong, well-defined boundaries.

Getting in Touch with Your Inner Bitch is a serious, albeit tongue-in-cheek, how-to manual for people-pleasers. Hilts uses humor, cartoons and empowering quotes from women, both famous and unknown, to disseminate her advice. Everyone is sure to find a personal mantra or two, as well as affirmations to live by and to call on in times of need. It's aimed at women, but is appropriate for either gender. It contains simple and practical suggestions regarding how to remove the brightly illuminated "doormat" signs above our heads.

Being too nice and ignoring our Inner Bitch does have consequences. If we ignore the IB she may turn on us, and we may turn that anger against ourselves. According to Glamour Magazine in a survey conducted with 300 women, the average woman has 13 negative daily thoughts about her body, while some women have up to 100 negative thoughts about their bodies every day. One way to combat this hopeless feeling is to take control and say this key phrase: "I don't think so."

Yes, it is possible to be nice without being toxic. It's OK to say no. You don't have to be overly accommodating to people who are disagreeable or unpleasant. Not everyone has to like you. Rick Nelson was on to something when he said, "You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself," and you don't have to put up with anyone treating you like a doormat. That being said, your Inner Bitch is not demanding, narcissistic, obnoxious or a drama queen. She is a confident, assertive woman who knows what she wants, defines her boundaries and needs while refusing to be taken advantage of by anyone for any reason.

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