THIS IS SO MUCH WORK!
But I feel better when I enforce my Boundaries
PREVIOUS: Setting Part 1: Repairing your Boundaries
IN RELATION TO OTHERS
2. DEVELOPING Healthy Boundaries
• Have a clear sense of your personal value. As ACoAs we know the source of unhealthy Bs is from our upbringing. BUT as adults it comes from not believing we have any rights. It’s a self-worth issue. The Sieves among us (with weak Bs) let others invade our space, since it was pounded into us that everyone else’s needs are more important than our own. We can only find value by trying to please others
• Identify for yourself all the boundaries you feel are important to you (5 to 15 items). See previous posts “List of Healthy Bs”, Part 1 & 2. These may shift over time, so stay in the present. List those Bs:
— you absolutely will not compromise on
— you will allow some wiggle room on, because they’re not as important to your personal comfort
• Identify those people whom you will:
— not tolerate any violations from (they have already proven themselves dangerous, narcissistic, disrespectful…)
— give some leeway, because overall they are loving, kind, respectful AND it’s not appropriate to expect anyone to be perfect
• Be willing to educate others how you want your Boundaries to be respected by clearly stating what they are. We can’t assume that people know them, so we need to clearly spell them out – even write them down, if necessary. It’s not legitimate to expect others to read our mind whether it’s someone who knows us or a new acquaintance
• Sit down with each person (adults & children) 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 in a respectful, positive way – 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 speaking to them about it one more time. You decide when to let go of them according to the cost to you!
— If it’s kids or teens, work out a plan to help them comply, using methods suggested by a Child Psychologist, or from books & online articles
• 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 (whether deliberately or unconsciously is not the point here) & Invaders will always test us, like a 2-yr old, they try to wear others down to get their way. SO we have to be able to stand our ground, to prove that we’re serious. How well we can manage that will depend on our level of Recovery & how strong our Inner Adult (part of the UNIT) has become.
• Be consistent & persistent about confronting and enforcing violations, even tho it can very tiring, & do is as coolly as possible.
It’s most effective when we don’t over-react emotionally, but come from the Healthy Adult Ego State. Otherwise people can just write us off as bitchy or crazy, especially if they want an excuse for their bad behavior
— If a particular wound in us is still unhealed we’ll have a strong reaction to feeling abandoned or disrespected, making us anxious & angry
— If we have healthy Bs, we can can speak up for ourselves & then move on to someone or something else. It’s not up to us to convince people how wrong they are. Our self-respecting actions will make the statement.
Exp: If someone is chronically late in meeting 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, don’t wait around. They’ll see we mean business – whether they change or not, & then they can decide how to respond
NEXT: Setting Bs with others (Part 2)