THIS IS SO MUCH WORK!
But I feel better when I enforce my Boundaries
PREVIOUS: Repairing your Boundaries
POST: “Boundaries DEFINED”
FORMING Boundaries (Bs) with OTHERS
1. For OURSELF (previous)
2. In Relation to OTHERS
a. Find a support system to help with follow-through. No one can to go from weak to strong Bs instantly or easily, just because we heard a lecture or read a book. We need people who will remind us of our value, encouraging us to maintain & enforce our limits
b. Use an ACoA therapist, Al-Anon & ACA meetings & other resources – to identify & examine the underlying causes of your unhealthy Bs. While we may have an extensive knowledge of our background, we often need an experienced listener to tag distorted life-patterns that are so automatic we don’t even notice
c. Look for role models & other examples of healthy Bs in your life & in media (TED Talks, podcasts….). In any situation that challenges your Bs, take a minute to ask: “What would my role model say or do?”
If they’re part of your life, ask them, but don’t assume that what’s good for them must be good for you. Try a variety of options & come to your own conclusions. One size does NOT fit all
d. Identify specific people who YOU will:
— not tolerate any violations from (they’ve already proven to be dangerous, narcissistic, disrespectful…)
— give some leeway to, because usually they’re loving, kind, respectful, AND it’s not realistic to expect anyone to be perfect
e. Educate others on ways you want your Bs to be respected, by clearly stating them. Never assume that people know them. Bs need to be spelled out in detail, & for some people you may even have to write them down. Do not expect others to read your mind, even if they already know you
f. Sit down with each person you have a problem with & let them know what you need & don’t want from them. Try to get their agreement to honor your Bs.
Insist that everyone talk to you with respect – no more digs, making fun of, criticisms, controlling comments…. no matter what
• With other adults: even if you get a verbal agreement, stay alert for how they actually treat you.
If they repeatedly can’t or won’t honor your request – limit your time with them, or end the relationship, after trying one more time.
You decide when to let go of them, based on the cost to you!
• With kids or teens, work out a plan to help them comply, using methods suggested by a Child Psychologist, or from books & online articles
g. Clearly state the consequences for violating your Bs, BUT NOT until you’re sure you can follow thru! Addicts & codependents have a tendency to violate Bs (deliberately or unconsciously is not the point) & Invaders will always test us, like 2-yr olds, trying to wear you down to get their way
You have to be ready to stand your ground, to prove you’re serious. How well you can manage that will depend on how strong your Inner Adult has become (in the UNIT)
h. Be consistent & persistent about confronting & enforcing violations, & do is as coolly as possible – even though it can be very tiring or enraging at first
It’s most effective when you don’t over-react emotionally, but come from the Healthy Adult Ego State. Otherwise people can just write you off as bitchy or crazy, especially if they want an excuse for their bad behavior
• If a particular wound in you is still unhealed you’ll have a strong reaction to feeling abandoned or disrespected, making you anxious & angry
• If you have healthy Bs, you can can speak up for yourself & then move on to someone or something else.
It’s not up to you to convince people how wrong they are. Your self-respecting actions will make the statement.
EXP: If someone is chronically late to meet you, tell them that if it continues, you won’t wait more than 15 minutes. Be sure you always have a plan B for yourself. WHEN they’re late again, do NOT wait. They’ll see you mean business – whether they change or not, & then they can decide how to act.
NEXT: Having Bs with OTHERS (Part 2)
One thought on “Forming Boundaries – with OTHERS (Part 1)”
I find your practical descriptions of establishing and enforcing boundaries very helpful. It can be difficult to tease out boundaries stemming from healthy adult vs WIC, and what are reasonable expectations/follow through for loved ones.
I read a comment recently …. something to the effect that (we) will never be free from the pain of our past, but if we chose, that pain (damage) will have so many happy/healthy interruptions it will cease to be a force in our lives.
Keep up the good work! Cheers, Kira