Setting HEALTHY Boundaries (Part 1)


It’s so much work – but I need it

REVIEW Boundaries posts – Defined //  Source / / Info

REPAIRING Our Damaged Boundaries (Bs)
a. Use a therapist, Al-Anon meeting & other healers 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 catch our unhealthy life-patterns that are so automatic we don’t even notice them
b. Identify the specific ways your Bs are dysfunctional & list how they show up in our life.  Think of these attitudes & behavior patterns as ‘character defects’ or as expressions of your Self-Hate

c. Write letters to yourself encouraging the changes you want to see, so you self-writing
nurture the right to have healthy Bs. This can include the 2-handed conversations with your:
Wounded Child, about the ways you’d like to help it heal from S-H
• Healthy Inner Child – about ways you want to support it to be happy
• Pig Parent (Negative Introject) – about ways you won’t let it hurt your kid any more

Notice the fear-based beliefs (CDs) & Toxic Rules that reinforce your resistance to growth.  (See all the posts on CDs, Jan ’11).  Make a list of the specific ones that apply to you & examples of how you express them

rightse. Make a list of Personal Rights, for yourself & in your relationships. Paste it where you can read it often & have a copy with you at all times.  Find an appropriate sponsor, friend or mentor to reinforce your desire to be kind to yourself.
Pick one Right you feel you can manage. For a month find ways to incorporate it into your life.  Write down what happened & how you feel at the end of that time.  Pick another ‘Right’ & do the same…..

f. Keep a regular journal to record the pain* you feel when you don’t stick to your boundaries with others. The purpose if to cut thru denial about the effects on us. This kind of pain is NOT the one from self-recrimination or fear of abandonment from others. Is it the most basic pain of self-abandonment, a reproduction of what our parents did to us. Without being in contact with our emotions we keep repeating the old ways as if they don’t do any damage.

*A certain amount of pain is a useful motivator if it’s not too much. Don’t turn ‘failures’ into self-hate, depression & isolation. Identify what led up to each specific B violation – because you are or were:
• with the wrong person, who always invades Bs, which no one can stophurting
• tired, ill or otherwise stressed, so you were more vulnerable
• in a situation which pushed a very big button that’s still unhealed
• in a new situation & were unprepared for a having a problem
• still letting your WIC run your life, or at least in certain areas  …..etc.

g. Have a journal page titled: “Who Am I?” with sub-heading like – Skills, Talents, Natural Qualities, Education, Accomplishments, Tastes, Values, Needs ….. Fill in as many characteristics as you can.  Ask others to list the positive qualities they see in you. Continue adding to it as you identify more good things about yourself
h. Look for role models & examples of healthy Bs in your life & in the media.  In any situation that challenges your Bs, take a minute to ask: “What would my role model do?” If your role model is part of your life, ask him or her, but don’t assume that what is good for them HAS TO be good for you.  Try out a variety of options & come to your own conclusions. One size does NOT fit all

i. Regularly build in time for yourself, away from your job, your mate, your children.  Make time alone to relax (just veg), be with close friends, time for spiritual growth, self-care, humor, fun & for creativity
• If you have a hard time saying ‘No’ look for opportunities to practice, without anger, if possible, with anger if that ‘s the only way – at first. Eventually people will get used to this change in you. If they don’t one of you funwill inevitably let go.
• If you have trouble saying “Yes” to one-to-one social event, or anything involving groups, be willing to practice accepting an invitation from time to time.  You will be uncomfortable, but do the Inner Child book-ending for each situation & see what the realistic outcomes are.

NEXT: Setting Bs with Others


2 thoughts on “Setting HEALTHY Boundaries (Part 1)

  1. This was very helpful to me because I have been in a depression all week. My Sponsor asked me whether it was fear based, even fear of abandonment. I think it has a bit to do with it but I realised last night after some writings that it was probably my sadness over people walking all over me – I have no boundaries and that’s the problem. I need to start setting some to stop people in my life invading my serenity. I cannot stand up for myself when I am hurt this way, I recoil, isolate and depression ensues. This is a problem and I am glad I have finally found the answer and written it down so I don’t forget because I seem to forget everything nowdays! And yes, it’s probably a repetition of my childhood these feelings that surface when pple walk all over me and I feel powerless to stop it. Boundaries I am sure are the first step to stopping them from doing it to me. Thanks 🙂


    • Yes Lisa, & the previous 2 posts give a list of some of things you have a right to set limits about – is so important to our mental health & sanity.
      You also have to believe that you have the right or people won’t listen. Some won’t anyway & we have to distance ourselves from those. Be well.


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