Monday, October 19, 2015

Boundaries-Get Them

Boundaries; they are healthy things. So why do so many of us have trouble with putting them in place and keeping them? Why did we learn, early on, that it is not ok to speak up and say I need this or that is not acceptable?

According to Darlene Lancer, JD, MFTD, MFT, Boundaries are learned. If yours weren’t valued as a child, you didn’t learn you had them.

I can't say whether my boundaries were valued but I do know I was one of 6, with a busy mom and an almost non-existent father. It was what it was and it was all I knew. I  know that my lack of understanding boundaries deeply affected my parenting. I wish I had done things differently but I did what was logical to me at the time. What I have learned is that a boundary is a beautiful thing. It helps prevent the building of resentments, which can easily harm new or long term partnerships. But why is saying "no" so hard?

"One of our most fundamental needs is for social connection and a feeling that we belong," Dr. Vanessa Bohns says. "Saying "no" feels threatening to our relationships and that feeling of connectedness." And we worry that saying "no" will change the way the other person views us, and make him or her feel badly.

Even so, psychologists say, most people probably won't take our "no" as badly as we think they will. That's because of something called a "harshness bias"—our tendency to believe others will judge us more severely than they actually do. "Chances are the consequences of saying "no" are much worse in our heads than they would ever be in reality,"

Good thing to remember.....another issue where the ego messes with normal thinking.
Here are some tips from Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin, by Anne Katherine:
  • When you feel angry or resentful, you probably need to set a boundary. Listen to yourself then communicate your boundary assertively.
  • When you identify the need to set a boundary, be clear, preferably without anger, and in as few words as possible. And most importantly, be confident about your needs and feelings surrounding this situation.
  • Do not justify, apologize for, or rationalize the boundary you are setting. Do not argue! Just set the boundary calmly, firmly, clearly, and respectfully.
  • You can’t set a boundary and take care of someone’s feelings at the same time. You are not responsible for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting.
  • At first, you will probably feel selfish, guilty, or embarrassed when you set a boundary but you can’t establish a clear boundary successfully if you send a mixed message by apologizing afterward.
  • When you set boundaries, you might be tested (especially by those accustomed to controlling you, abusing you, or manipulating you). Stay strong.
  • Eliminate toxic people from your life. It may feel mean or unkind but your health depends on the quality of the relationships you have. Bad attention is not better than no attention at all. Don’t play with bullies — even if they’re family members. Showing them that you won’t allow them in your life if they want to create problems for you, will help them too become better people.
I set a boundary this weekend and it did feel selfish but I am relieved that it was discussed and that the issue is being worked on. The reaction was better than I anticipated and we are moving forward in a positive direction. Huge, freaking HUGE!

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