Setting HEALTHY Boundaries (Part 3)

setting ;imits 

it’s up to others to honor or ignore them

PREVIOUS: Setting Healthy Bs (Part 1)


1. FOR YOURSELF (Part 1)

DEVELOPING Healthy Boundaries (cont)
Don’t punish others if they’ve forgotten your requirements. In general, consequences should simply be an inevitable outcome of the choices each of us make. These outcomes may or may not feel like punishment to the violator – depending on how intensely they’re still run by their WIC.
— If you feel a strong urge to punish someone for ignoring your requests, it would be best to work on yourself before talking to them again.  It means that while they are indeed ‘stepping on your toes’, you probably have let it go on too long and may also be taking it too personally.
Violators act like that with everyone, or anyone who will let them!  Do rage work in private, share about it in Al-Anon & therapy, pray for patience & talk or write to your Inner Child. Then remind the other person again OR just tell them they’ve crossed the line for the last time!

• Make a  plan of action to use whenever someone severely violates your Bs (& somebody will!):
a. Tell them what they’re doing that you don’t like – be specific & if you’ve already talked to them about it, refer back to that conversation
b. If it applies – ask they to stop immediately.  If they don’t, then you can….
c. ….strongly Demand that they stop, & ask for help from others if necessary, especially if you feel endangered. Walk away with as much dignity as possible, without sarcasm or nasty get-even comments

• Find a support system to help you with follow-through.  No one can to go from having weak to strong Bs instantly or easily, just because we heard a lecture or read a book. We need to find people who will remind us of our value,  encouraging us to maintain & enforce our limits
• Thank anyone who honors your boundaries

• Keep in mind that you can’t set boundaries AND take care of someone else’s needs! They’re mutually exclusivestay calm
• It’s best to talk to a Violator from our ADULT, but sometimes we:
— may need to get angry to get past our own resistance because it’s so difficult for ACoAs to stand up for ourselves.  Anger makes us feel less vulnerable when we’re afraid
— will inevitably get frustrated & annoyed with someone we love & don’t want to leave, but who is being a pain in the neck
— there are people who will only pay attention when we get ‘heavy’, but getting angry is not the same as being nasty – if it comes from the Adult

Avoid justifying yourself, rationalizing your needs or apologizing. It makes it sound like you don’t believe what you’re saying – so Violators won’t take you seriously either. Offer a brief explanation if it’s appropriate & you feel ok doing it. It’s hard to be genuinely intimate with someone if we don’t tell them what’s bothering or hurting us

• At first you may feel afraid, ashamed or guilty when you need to set a Bs with someone, which may prevent you from speaking up
— Do it anyway, even if it’s the next time you see them – because it’s our job to let others know, & some people don’t realize they’re trespassing
— Also, people don’t respect someone they can use, manipulate or control, even tho they try to get away with it

• When we feel angry, rageful, whiny, complaining, feeling threatened, suffocated, victimized ….. we are feeling the pain of not having our Bs respected. These emotions are like flashing red lights telling us something’s wrong – the things we don’t like, can’t stand or hate.  They’re indicators that we have to say something or change somethingangry at Bs

• Be prepared for opposition, resistance, anger, attacks. Violators don’t like being reined in. Don’t let their reactions make you doubt your rights! Remember 2-yr olds’ tantrums when they don’t get their way. You have to be ready to enforce your needs, otherwise people will simply ignore you

• The main prerequisite for good boundary setting is believing you have a right to them! When you’re sure, it will be clear to others even when you don’t say anything, AND fewer B invaders will show up in your life

• ALSO: make a list of 5-10 ways you violate other people’s Bs. If you can’t think of any ask anyone who knows you well.  Work on no violating the Bs on that list.  You’ll  feel better about yourself!

NEXT: “What other think of me….”


4 thoughts on “Setting HEALTHY Boundaries (Part 3)

  1. My daughter and I have a very volatile relationship! She has issues from her childhood that she has never wanted to talk about with me. She has written me a letter telling me how she feels about certain things that happened. Sometimes she has exploded or cried, and told me why, but then she wont continue the conversation and closes up again. She ignores me for weeks, doesn’t let me see her children, doesn’t invite me over, doesn’t answer my phone calls and I don’t know what I’ve done wrong. When I try to ask her why, she explodes again and tells me she has set boundaries for her own preservation. But her boundaries are very rigid and her boundaries mean NO contact at all, unless she feels like it or unless she is desperate for a baby-sitter. Her boundaries mean she doesn’t have to help me in any way, even if I’m sick and alone, her boundaries mean she can discuss something with me and then in the middle of it, but me off and she remains silent and refuses to hear me out. Her boundaries mean she is allowed to scream, shout, cry and say what she likes, but I can’t say anything back. I don’t know how to handle this. I get heartbroken when she cuts me off like this from her and the children. I am an ACoA. I am trying to work through my own issues and I am very ill and I live alone. There are times I really need help. She does not want to help me with anything. She says she wants to move on from our past and build a new relationship, but to be with her is like walking on glass. You never know when you’re going to do something wrong and then she will cut you off. We don’t spend time together, so it’s impossible to build anything new. I have said sorry and asked for forgiveness for the mistakes I made and how I let her down. I have explained where I was and who I was at the time. I am loving towards her. I praise her when she does well. I encourage her. I offer to help her, but she always refuses. Please can you advise me.


    • Lyn, I’m sorry to hear about the painful relationship with your daughter. Trying to stay connected to her under the circumstances is only adding stress to your life. She has made it clear she needs space & it seems best that you let go.

      I had to stop communicating with my parents for several years, but I was going to Al-Anon every day to heal. It sounds like your daughter is not in recovery so there’s no way for you to bridge the gap.

      Being alone is hard with illness. I wonder if there are other sources of help in your community – other groups, via a hospital or thru the internet. Perhaps, which is a social networking org. would help with loneliness & boredom. Depending on your location, see what kinds of topics there are in your area.

      Also, Al-anon is available by phone, several times a day & includes people from all over the country. Look up ‘phone meeting – al-anon’


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