Oh the things we don’t know. For me Healthy Boundaries was one of them.
When you grow up in a single parent family, you will likely know nothing about healthy boundaries. Chances are you will not know that it is even a possibility to have boundaries in place in relationships. You know only that you each depend on one another. It is all for one, and one for all. At least that is my experience.
The same appears to be the case with families headed by Controlling Parents or Narcissists. Healthy Boundaries do not appear to be something that are even considered. There is only one option to do as they wish in order to keep the peace. But is that being true to ourselves? What about our choices?
I learned, far later in life than I would have liked to establish boundaries. I really didn’t even know that they were an option. After being pulled in one direction after another that I did not wish to be in,it occurred to me that we had choices.
Having the courage to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others. Brene Brown
But I realized that in order to do so, I would need to give myself permission. Permission to want something different. Permission to respect my wishes, and that of my spouse in order to create the life that we wanted for our family. Isn’t this how change is created? Don’t we owe it to ourselves, spouses and children to live the way that we wish?
The following Steps helped us become successful in creating boundaries:
This is a tough one. Feeling like you are not a good daughter or son is a tough thing to face. The roles that you may have had in your family of origin play into it. Perhaps you were the caretaker, and you learned to focus on others and allow yourself to be drained. You need to relearn a lot of things in order to allow yourself to have permission to establish new boundaries. You may fear the response that will be received, but you have to recognize to focus only on what you have control over. Giving yourself permission is an act of self respect and love. And isn’t that what you are after here, is to show yourself Self Respect!
2) Understand what our limits are
Sitting back and thinking about what it is you wish to accomplish is key. What things can you tolerate and accept and what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed. Identify what your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits are. Get really solid on this, so that when things get tough you are true to your limits.
3) Consider our Feelings
When you are establishing your limits, learn to tune into your feelings. If you are feeling discomfort or resentment, dig a little deeper to see what is causing it. Resentment typically is felt when you feel that you are being taken advantage of or not appreciated. Basically anything that causes you stress or discomfort should be evaluated.
4) Communicate the Limit
Be as direct as possible in a respectful way. Let the other person know what it is that is bothersome to you, and that you would like to work together to address it. Your feelings may be diminished or met with great resistance. It is important to remember why you are doing this. Be assertive and ensure they know that you have thought this through, and intend to find a solution that works for you. The other party may not be willing to budge in anyway, remember that this too is a decision after all.
5) Pay Attention
Pay attention to whether there is effort on the other person’s part to accommodate your request. If there is, be sure to acknowledge this positively. If there is not, reinforce your position and reasons for it. Then Pay attention to see if any change is made.
6) Be OK with the result
We have to understand that some relationships are simply toxic to our well being. Regardless of whether it is family member or not. There are people that simply lack empathy, and have no ability to put themselves in our shoes or understand our wishes. As hard as it is, we may need to take a ‘time out’ either short term or permanently depending on the situation. Remembering your reasons for why you are establishing these boundaries will be key during this time. Especially if you are being judged for your decision. Make sure you are solid on your WHY for establishing your boundary. Also make sure you understand that you have the RIGHT to do so.
- Resources to help work on boundaries can be found here: Resources
Please remember that YOU ARE WORTH IT! You have a right to be respected the way you wish to be. It takes great courage to set healthy boundaries, but it is absolutely essential if we want to live life on our terms. As far as we know, we only have one life shouldn’t we live it being true to ourselves?
Wishing you Happy, Healthy Boundaries
Love and Light